for all the attention the super bowl commercials get, it seems many of the Super Bowl sponsors are still content with letting their super bowl investment fade out after 30 seconds, as opposed to looking at it as just the beginning. to wit, a breakdown of the Websites of the Commercials of the Super Bowl™.
house of beer, asteroid, etc. - bud light
anheuser-busch is one of the biggest sponsors of the super bowl. yet, none of their commercials feature a URL. the simple reason: after its experience with bud.tv, anheuser-busch is convinced this whole internet thing is a fad. in fact, they predict that by 2012, the only person left on twitter will be ashton kutcher. the rest of us will be too busy untangling the cords of our rotary phones to ever have time to tweet.
tebow - focusonthefamily.com
the controversial tim tebow commercial ended with a prominent URL, FocusOnTheFamily.com, where visitors can find out just what the hell the ad was trying to say. the site features lots more footage about the Tebow family talking about how God asked them to raise a child who can beat the crap out of the Georgia Bulldogs. seems petty to me, but if there are two things a fellow shouldn't argue with, it's God and the SEC. and not in that order.
classical - hundai
the Hundai commercial ended with a simple hundai.com URL. upon visiting, it's clear the marketing people never told the web designers that 1) they were sponsoring a super bowl spot and perhaps there should be some mention; 2) it's 2010.
the shuffle - boost mobile
ok, so we finally have a marketer that took advantage of its super bowl investment. their tv spot featured a reunited chicago bears team re-enacting their 1985 Super Bowl Shuffle video. boost smartly grabbed the search term "super bowl commercials." and it created a microsite featuring an extended version of their tv spot, as well as the usual digital checklist: you could have a friend get a call from coach singletary; customize a jim mcmahon headband; and download wallpaper, ringtones, and ditka-shaped waffles. in fact, the only problem - and really, it's a slight one - is that the idea has nothing to do with the product. other than that little problem, nice effort.
betty white/abe vigoda - snickers
this was the commercial that won the USA Today Ad Meter poll, a measurement with all the sophistication of an 8th grade class president election. aside from being thankful that abe vigoda is indeed still alive, i was glad to see snickers also delivered a re-skin of its website featuring the commercial, as well as another spot in the campaign featuring aretha franklin and liza minnelli. (again, thankful liza's still alive. i'm confident that, hundreds of years from now, aretha franklin will still be leading a vigorous if disrespected life.)
dog collar, playing nice, funeral, flowers in a box - doritos
doritos ended all its tv spots with the URL of a site which links all its digital efforts, SnackStrongProductions.com. their past efforts feature some brilliant work (Hotel 626, Asylum 626, and Unlock Xbox among others), as well as crashthesuperbowl.com, which carries all the user-submitted commercials. not much in the way of interaction, but a single hub of digital activities makes a lot of sense for a brand with such disparate efforts.
simpsons - coke
there's no URL in an otherwise decent commercial. if you look up the site anyway, there's no acknowledgement of a super bowl, much less a commercial. surprising for a company that understands the power of a good story.
massage - go daddy
the one and only nice thing you can say about GoDaddy.com is, at least they understand how traditional media can drive digital traffic. (happy 12th birthday to that last point!) both TV spots ended with the call to action, "see more now at godaddy.com (WARNING! WEB CONTENT UNRATED)" is other web content unrated? yes. is there a less likeable spokesperson than danica patrick? no. would this spot have been much less predictable if it featured tim tebow and his mom? i think they would've just made it boringer. as for the footage that was "too hot for tv": good god. the overall formula is this: the harder you're going to make your audience work, the better the experience has to be.
musical beaver - monster.com
the tv spot featured a touching story of a fiddle-playing beaver. the URL was monster.com because "godaddy.com" was already taken. if you go on the site, the fiddle player has taken over the first page, though there's plenty of functional navigation surrounding it. but if you wait a moment or so, the beaver (and any reference to the super bowl sponsorship) is replaced by more functionality. if you click on it before it disappears, you get taken to FiddleAFriend.com. here, you can send a customized monk-e-mail to a friend.
bachelor party, your tires or your life - bridgestone
bridgestone supported its super bowl buy with a dedicated page at bridgestonetire.com/superbowl. it featured both spots. out of the 100,000,000+ people who watched the super bowl, 14 have made comments on one of the spots. i don't have a calculator here to check the ROI on that. ah, but at least they're not filtering the comments. on the splash page, however, they are filtering their twitter feed to feature only rave reviews of their commercials. so very silly.
timothy richmond - cars.com
cars.com's commercial ended (appropriately) with cars.com. the website had a wee sliver of a super bowl commercial mention at the top of their website. once clicked, you could watch the commercial again, or watch "exclusive web videos" where the star of the commercial wears out his cuteness. when you have a character-driven idea, seems like you'd maybe want to expand on that character's story. i don't know, maybe?
wear no pants - dockers
the dockers' spot ends with dockers.com/freepants. once there, a small banner asks if visitors want to see the "game day tv ad" but most of the real estate is about how dockers is giving away thousands of khakis. other headlines include "behold the second dawn of man" and "wear the pants." it seems like three ideas at work here, all of which could potentially turn into something blog-worthy, but none succeeding. one of the more confusing supporting efforts. look for yourself.
casual fridays - career builder
taking a page from from the cars.com playbook, careerbuilder.com ended their commercial with careerbuilder.com. once on the site, a visitor gets the usual careerbuilder.com site and... oh wait a minute! you know those really irritating page takeover ads that block what you're reading? well, they've installed one of those on their own site. it asks visitors to help give careerbuilder's commercial a higher ranking among super bowl spots. like Go Daddy, careerbuilder's site also features a commercial that's "too hot for tv." like Go Daddy, what careerbuilder should've said was that it's "too hot for conservative marketing committees."
shape up - skechers
skechers had a couple spots but no URL. visiting www.skechers.com, you find the standard skechers website, and an option to watch the "Big Game Commercial" in the bottom right corner.
sorry, i just dozed off. where were we?
comfortable skin - dove
part of the super bowl's Emasculated Men Series, the dove for men commercial featured a dedicated website, dovemencare.com, which mixed product information and offers with an opportunity to see their commercial. it should be noted dove also smartly had roadblocks on major web properties on monday morning - one of the smarter supporting efforts.
calling dr. love - dr. pepper
dr pepper demonstrated the fact that their current campaign (featuring pop culture doctors) is just about out of ideas. the spot featured kiss and minikiss performing dr. love. it's at least well-supported. once you head to the URL, they don't just give you the option of seeing the commercial, they just start playing it for you. the commerical then leads into the "never ending song" - a montage of user-submitted videos of people singing dr. love. if you want to play along, you have to cough up your email address - an effective but heavy-handed way to build a fan base. having recently run out of my ace frehley silver make-up, i demurred.
punxsutawney polamalu - tru tv
tru tv ended with trutv.com. on the site, the only evidence of the super bowl was banner ads for fellow super bowl sponsor, dove for men.
man's last stand - dodge
another part of the Emasculated Man Series, the manifesto of wussy men with cool cars ended with dodge.com. at the site, the focus was pure, functional commerce. a video below the fold included more manifesto for the kind of men who need quote marks around the word "men." knocks aside, their site and new logo are a significant improvement over previous efforts.
punch buggy - vw
so here's a charmer. the spot does a nice job of amplifying what people have been doing for years - playing punch buggy. and the spot ends with an invitation: play punchdub at vw.com. charming. once on the site, PunchDub has taken over the front page (though the main nav of vw models remains). the site made it easy to send a punch to a facebook friend, with customized model and punch method. (i went with the Fist of Fire. felt good.) furthering the concept even more, vw is holding a PunchDubDays sales event. smart, smart stuff.
various chicken commercials - denny's
denny's didn't put their URL at the end of the commercials, but i have a guy who knows everyone's URL and he told it to me. denny's commercials were focused on giving away free breakfast on tuesday. as for the site? it had some decent tie-ins including selling chicken t-shirts (that's t-shirts with chickens on them, not actual shirts that chickens wear), and encouraging visitors to become a denny's fan on Facebook to check out future videos of the chickens. a smart way to keep folks engaged beyond a single website visit.
the griswolds - home away.com
it was like 1998 all over again, with advertising on the super bowl that featured dot coms i'd never heard of. homeaway.com's commercial featured the Griswolds from the Vacation movie series. (so it was like 1983 all over again too.) the spot ended with a tease, "see the film at homeaway.com." the site had plenty of features, videos, and good integration of homeaway.com's services. i clicked on the "film." it began with a schpiel about homeaway.com. i asked for a film, not an ad. someone, please tell me if the film was worth watching. TIA.
sumo wrestler - kgb
there was no site given for kgb, though they were smart enough to realize the name "kgb" won't be treated well by search engines, so they bought key words. good for them. once a site was located, there was a subtle nod to their super bowl sponsorship, and a video was well down the fold. something tells me they're not going to be in the Big Game next year.
wolf style - etrade
etrade had no URL, and there was no mention of super-anything on their site. however, the baby diversifying his portfolio "wolf style" was enough to forgive them.
snapshot of america - census
the us census ran a commercial, and encouraged people to visit 2010census.gov. i did, and saw this:
mathematically speaking, i think here's where we're at:
an encouragement to watch a game that took place days ago + forcing a marketing idea into a sentence = confusion.
search on - google
not only was there no URL at the end, there wasn't even a logo. i'm just guessing that spot was google's. of course, there was no need for google to have a tie into their website. as soon as you saw the spot's easily parody-able-ness, you knew it would have one of the more lasting digital presences of any of the super bowl spots, even without the support of google. that's knowing your audience.
partying toys - kia
kia's commercial ended with their basic kia.com website. on the site, one of the rotating visuals on the home page was from the tv spot, and you could watch the Big Game ad via a link below. but beyond the re-airing of a commercial, there was little tie-in.
internet tv - vizio
vizio's tag (vizio.com/via) also went with the re-airing of their commercial on the site. and i have to admit, after watching the commercial repeatedly on their website, i really came to like the commercial. on a related note, it's amazing how poorly a dry sense of humor translates on the internet.
human dolphins - emerald nuts
the emerald nuts commercial (the one with people acting like dolphins) didn't end with a URL, which was odd since they had a decent one - Let'sGetAcquatic.com. on the microsite, you could watch the commercial, or play a simple swimming game, or... did i mention you could watch the commercial? i meant to.
stealing squirrel - honda
this animated, highly stylized commercial must've eaten all the budget because by the time they got to the website, crosstour.honda.com, there was no money left to even mention the spot, much less bring the distinctive style to the website's design. pity. it was an interesting look.
paper or plastic - audi
the audi commercial featured no site, and there was nary a trace of the spot on their website. but the commercial did win the coveted "Best Use of Cheap Trick Award," so we'll let the lack of synergy be forgotten this time.
just one box - taco bell
the taco bell spot featured charles barkley. the website is too busy featuring ads about the fourthmeal and the drive-thru diet to bother with the silly little super bowl commercial.
removed spine, tv for the road - flo tv
flo.tv's commercial featured a will.i.am remix of the who's "my generation" song. as for their website? it had the commercial prominently featured, as well as links to press coverage of the commercial, and the opportunity to download the song while donating to haiti. for a marketer i hadn't come across, it was an impressive introduction.
our best inventions - intel
intel didn't have their URL at the end of their commercial, but they put their commercial up on the home page of their website. like too many super bowl marketers, they didn't do anything else.
all in all, it remains pretty disappointing to see so many smart marketers not take advantage of the attention their media buy has created. as chicago cub fans, michigan state football fans, and halley's comet fans say...
maybe next year.