Super Bowl ad scores are in

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While many advertisers took steps to integrate offline and online marketing efforts for Super Bowl XLI, there were still a some missed opportunities, according to Reprise Media's third annual Search Marketing Scorecard.

Reprise's Scorecard ranks Super Bowl advertisers based on their ability to use search engines as a link between their television ads and a Web presence. In addition, the search engine marketing firm partnered with Optimost, a technology and services company, to analyze the effectiveness of each campaign's landing page.

"We're past the point where integration between television, search and the Web is considered innovative," said Anthony Iaffaldano, director of marketing for Reprise Media, New York. "Now, it's just poor business practice to ignore the link between these forms of media. If you're not on a search results page when interest in your product or service has been generated, chances are your competitors will be."

An average 30-second Super Bowl spot cost approximately $2.6 million, so marketers are under pressure to prove the effectiveness of their ads. According to the report, advertisers overlooked the value of having a strong call to action in their Super Bowl commercials.

Ninety percent of advertisers included no clear call to action in their ads. While the majority of companies provided Web addresses during their ads, less than 20 percent provided viewers with a persuasive reason to visit their Web sites.

"We've heard so many analysts talk about the price tag associated with Super Bowl ads and the fact that marketers are scared to commit because it's hard to justify return on the spend," Mr. Iaffaldano said. "The Web is an elegant solution to this problem - everything is measurable."

Super Bowl advertisers spend thousands of dollars to sign celebrity spokespeople to punch up their ads - spokespeople with a built-in fan base, Mr. Iaffaldano said.

"Robert Goulet's appearance in the [Emerald] Nuts commercial is a good example. [Emerald] promoted his participation heavily leading up to the game," Mr. Iaffaldano said. "They featured clips teasing their commercial on their site. But the night of the Super Bowl, if someone saw the ad and went to Google, Yahoo or MSN and typed in "Robert Goulet," they would have been out of luck. It's a simple step, but one that can have profound impact on a campaign."

Database services provider infoUSA Inc.'s 30-second spot for its Salesgenie.com lead generation service received a "Touchdown" score, meaning that the television ad connected to a search marketing campaign. The ad, at www.salesgenie.com/tv, was aimed at bringing in subscribers and did not attempt to be funny or entertaining.

InfoUSA reported that the spot generated more than 10,000 registrations. Doritos and Chevrolet invited users to participate and interact with the brand previous to the event, resulting in the airing of user- generated spots. Pizza Hut, while it did not have a consumer- generated commercial, used paid search to link users to a customized YouTube channel instead of its own corporate site, allowing visitors to continue a dialogue about its ads and products.

Automakers are still missing the point, according to Reprise Media. The report ranks the category as among the biggest losers in cross-channel integration, with poor visibility across Google, Yahoo and other major search engines.

"Advertisers can't look at any of the elements of their campaigns separately anymore," Mr. Iaffaldano said. "The Internet gives people a way to follow up with brands and get more information on their own terms. Advertisers must think about all the ways in which people may try to seek them out and prepare. Don't just make sure that you show up on Google, or just for your brand name."

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