Which Marketers Best Tied Super Bowl Ads to Search?

Reprise Media Notes Who Scored and Who Didn't

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Just because you paid NBC up to $3 million for a Super Bowl spot doesn't mean ... well, it might not mean much at all in Google's search results, or even that much in terms of online traffic.

For all the offline-online Super Bowl success stories, such as E-Trade's talking baby "outtakes" and Kellogg's online charity initiative, Plant a Seed, there are still plenty of examples of marketers that don't see the need to make online hay out of their $100,000-per-second investment.

This year's conclusion from search-marketing firm Reprise Media, which for the past five years has evaluated marketers' Super Bowl efforts: Most brands make an attempt to make the connection to online but some, remarkably, still don't.

Amazingly, two Super Bowl advertisers actually paid close to $3 million to be in the big game but didn't even show up in the first page of Google's search results on Sunday night. Both were movies: Universal Pictures' "Fast & Furious 4" and Sony Pictures' "Year One." (However, "Fast & Furious" worked its way up Monday.)

One in five, or 22% of Super Bowl advertisements, directed viewers to a specific call to action, the highest since Reprise started to track the big game five years ago.

Gaining importance
As one might expect, search advertising is becoming a bigger part of Super Bowl marketing campaigns. Reprise says 65% of Super Bowl advertisers bought search terms related to their commercials, compared with 54% last year and 21% five years ago.

E-Trade bought terms related to "talking babies," for example, and Cash4Gold bought terms related to its celebrity pitchmen, Ed McMahon and MC Hammer.

But that was no means the rule. Gartner Research analyst Andrew Frank noted some search-marketing stumbles by marketing behemoths such as Budweiser and Pepsi, among others. Among the words available for purchase on Google are a few advertisers literally spent millions to brand during the big game, including "Shankapotamus" (E Trade); "PepSuber" (Pepsi); "LMAO" (NBC); and "drinkability" (Budweiser). (The first Google result for "Shankapotamus" is the golf blog waggleroom.com.)

"We still see far too many throwing away millions of dollars by failing to connect their TV campaign with an integrated search and social media presence," said Peter Hershberg, managing partner of Reprise Media. It should be noted that Reprise is an interested party -- as a seach-marketing company it's interested in marketers buying more search terms -- but that doesn't mean the agency is wrong.

Winners and losers
Among those that flubbed the online opportunity during the Super Bowl was Denny's, which didn't include a URL in its TV ad for a free breakfast promo. That was probably a good thing -- its site crashed right after the ad aired and was down for the rest of the game.

The marketers that best leveraged their big spend on the big game? E-Trade, Cash4Gold, Frosted Flakes, CareerBuilder, Diet Pepsi Max, GoDaddy and Pepsi.

The brands that fumbled? Budweiser, Chase Bank, Denny's, Pixar, Vizio, "Year One," "Angels & Demons," Taco Bell, Bud Light, Bud Light Lime, Heineken, "Transformers 2" and Coca Cola.

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