Last year's Super Bowl drew 111 million viewers, and this year, advertisers are shelling out record amounts—as much as $3.5 million for a 30-second spot—to be a part of the game in Indianapolis. So companies are more strategic than ever about maximizing impact. Here's how three companies plan to make the most of their Super Bowl commercials this year.
Now that many people own smartphones, viewers don't have to wait until after the game to check out what they see in commercials. Five-time Super Bowl advertiser Cars.com, a Chicago-based vehicle reviews site and marketplace, hopes to take advantage of that. A quarter of Cars.com's Web traffic comes from mobile users, and the company plans to use its commercial to further that trend and increase downloads of its iPhone app, says Carolyn Crafts, Cars.com's vice president of marketing. Recent spots have depicted car shoppers searching for vehicle information on the company's mobile site. "It's part of our story line now," Crafts says.
Go Daddy, the Scottsdale, Arizona–based domain registration and Web hosting company, is known for its provocative ads, which will again feature racecar driver Danica Patrick. To sustain buzz after the game, Go Daddy produces alternate versions of its ads that run exclusively online. The approach paid off last year: In the week after the game, Go Daddy's Web traffic increased 41 percent. "We're now in an enviable position," says CEO Bob Parsons. "Our commercials are so edgy that people are looking for them."
Three years ago, real estate firm Century 21 halted its national TV ad campaigns to focus on online marketing. The company, based in Parsippany, New Jersey, recently returned to the airwaves, and this month, it makes its Super Bowl debut. Century 21 wants to reach Gen-X and Gen-Y viewers—the groups most likely to make a big move—and plans to post teasers on Facebook and YouTube before the game. Plus, as the real estate market continues to slump, the company hopes the ad will lift its agents' morale. Says chief marketing officer Bev Thorne: "It's always fun to see yourself on TV."