Bowl ads spark Web upticks

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While creative quality on this year's Super Bowl slate is up for debate, one fact is not: The spots did a good job of driving viewers to the Web.

Mitsubishi Motors North America's well-received "cliffhanger" spot drew 11 million hits to in the first six hours after the automaker's 30-second Galant commercial aired on the big game. The number of unique visitors to the site in the first 24 hours equaled a month's worth of unique visitors to its site at and two-thirds of them viewed the online 50-second video two or more times, said Ian Beavis, senior VP-marketing at Mitsubishi.

He declined to give specifics but ComScore Media Metrix said received 170,000 unique visitors Feb. 2. He said Mitsubishi couldn't afford to run a 50-second spot during the Super Bowl, but "here I got people seeing that spot twice because they wanted to," he said.

The power of driving the consumer from one medium to another, no matter how good or bad the creative was, is evident by the whopping jump in traffic on, the site for the Bayer/GlaxoSmithKline erectile-dysfunction drug. According to ComScore, received a 1,868% increase in Web traffic right after the game-the biggest of any Super Bowl advertiser. That's despite the fact that the marketer's TV ad that made its debut during the game was generally panned.

Top 10

ComScore Media Metrix compared Web traffic on Super Bowl Sunday to the average of the four prior Sundays to account for the percentage change. After Cialis, the next-highest jump was at 593%, which benefited from the PepsiCo spot promoting free Internet music downloads. Next was H&R Block, with a 258% rise. Rounding out the top 10 were (a 190% jump); (139%); (94%); (72%); (19%);; (8%) and (6%). Cialis' ED rival on the Super Bowl, Eli Lilly and Icos Corp.'s Levitra, didn't make the top 10.

Even historical Super Bowl ads brought people to the Web on Jan. 31, when more than 200,000 viewers watching the live "Super Bowl's Greatest Commercials" on CBS TV went online to vote for their favorite spots at either or

Mitsubishi's teaser tactic was so successful that the automaker plans to continue "the cliffhanger idea" for other commercials as part of a new, ongoing strategy, said Mr. Beavis.

Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, Los Angeles, created the Super Bowl spot for the all-new Galant sedan as well as the site. Mr. Beavis said also got a spike in traffic after the cliffhanger aired during the TV broadcast last week of the film "Gladiator" on ABC. Deutsch created a Galant print ad that ran in USA Today the day after the Super Bowl reminding consumers to check out the Web site.

But traffic doesn't necessarily translate into sales. Lincoln Merrihew, managing director of the auto arm of Compete, an online data researcher, said it's great that Super Bowl viewers went to Mitsubishi's site and learned about the Galant. "But the real test is if they can convert those people to purchasers."

contributing: rich thomaselli

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