Dotcom companies failed to impress the 130 million viewers of
Sunday night’s Super Bowl XXXIV, despite spending an average of dollars
2 million per 30-second spot.
The rush of dotcom companies competing for space during the Super Bowl
ad bonanza meant airtime prices were pushed up to record levels, peaking
at dollars 2.5 million for a prime 30-second spot.
Seventeen of the 36 ads shown during the game were for dotcom companies,
most of which were advertising on television for the first time.
The influx of new advertisers squeezed out many of the more traditional
Super Bowl names such as McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Burger King.
Most of the dotcom ads were either too complex or just too dull,
according to a survey of 273 volunteers carried out by USA Today. One
company, LifeMinders.com, deliberately set out to create the worst
commercial on the Super Bowl.
Although it spent dollars 3 million on airtime, LifeMinders’ budget for
the ad was a mere dollars 4,800 and its agency, Fallon McElligott,
refused to make an ad with the budget and time allowed.
However, the least popular ad came from a traditional advertiser,
General Motors - a spot promoting the Oldsmobile Alero.
Budweiser, with its more established advertising pedigree, produced the
most popular ad of the night with a spot featuring Rex, the movie star
dog, gleefully chasing a Budweiser beer truck, only to jump a hedge and
leap face-first into the side of a parked lawn service van.
Of the ten most popular ads shown during the Super Bowl, only two were
from dotcom companies - pets.com and Oprah Winfrey’s Oxygen Media. The
pets.com spot featured a sock puppet starring in a music video fantasy,
while Oxygen’s ad showed female infants in a hospital nursery.
Other spots that were well received included PepsiCo ads for Mountain
Dew and Tropicana, and two other Anheuser-Busch spots for Budweiser and
A survey by Starcom found that 45 per cent of viewers paid attention
both during the game and the commercial breaks when watching last year’s
Super Bowl. Of those who said they were watching the commercials, 62 per
cent said they paid more attention to ads on the Super Bowl than they
did to ads during typical television programmes.