Adwords, Car Commericals, and That Game Called the Super Bowl

I saw an interesting article published yesterday in the automobile blog section of the Wall Street Journal about a PPC battle between GM and Chrysler during the Super Bowl . GM marketing chief Joel Ewanick, realizing that the Chrysler’s ads were kicking their butt with Eminem’s uber-discussed “Imported from Detroit” ad, quickly shot out an email to his staff ordering them to bid on Chrysler’s tag line of “Imported from Detroit”. The article also goes on to claim that they were bidding on other terms relating to some of the other great commercials from the game, such as Volkswagen’s Darth Vader ad. Recognizing the success of these ads and the potential searches that would be taking place as a result of them, GM began bidding on the terms related to these ads to try and garner some of the interest and subsequent PPC search volume resulting from the ads.

From searches I conducted, GM wasn’t the only company out there using Adwords to push their products. In particular, for a search of the term super bowl a few days after the big game, the first ad that appeared on my browser was by Volkswagen, pushing not their products but their super bowl ads on their YouTube channel. A company that spent millions of dollars on advertising during the super bowl was spending even more money to continue to push the ads themselves even after the game had long ended. Instead of referencing the ad and offering to learn more about the groundbreaking vehicles and concepts behind the ad, the Google Adwords copy focused on catching up on the commercials in case you missed them. An interesting strategy, one that I would love to know whether or not it paid off for them.

In terms of Adwords selling super bowl merchandise, it definitely pays to be the winning team. After the Steelers’ loss, there was very little competition on Adwords for Steelers paraphernalia, with one ad pushing the official Steelers Visa card. The AFC champs did not have any one selling AFC champions merchandise. On the other hand, a search for the Green Bay Packers brought up numerous ads selling Packers merchandise and gear, as well as a similar team Visa card. Advertisers recognized that fans would be looking for team hats and merchandise for the Super Bowl Champs, and there was thus decent competition to try and push these products. While advertisers saw a much a greater demand for super bowl champion products than runner ups who were also AFC champions, their competition was much stiffer. I’d be interested to know the comparative ROI for the ads for the products for the Packers vs. Steelers.

Although search budgets, particularly PPC budgets are continuing to soar, when it comes to the Super Bowl, traditional TV advertising still reigns supreme. Search is used to leverage and support the traditional advertising formats, helping to bring visitors to the TV ads in case they missed them during the game.

About Mark Ginsberg

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Mark has been working in Internet Marketing since 2007. He has managed campaigns in highly competitive sectors for large brands, but also loves to help small businesses increase their online visibility and better understand their customers and their needs.

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