Was $2.2 Million Per 30-Second Spot Worth It?

Editor’s Note: This expanded coverage is brought to you as a follow-up to our story, Dot-Coms Betting Big Bucks on Super Bowl Sunday, which ran on January 28th, 2000.

High-dollar TV spots seem to have boosted name recognition and business for first-time Super Bowl advertisers the same way a winning touchdown lifts the career of a rookie running back. “It’s definitely worth the money,” Epidemic.com Chief Executive Officer Kelly Wanser told Newsbytes. “The site traffic was very strong. I was very, very pleased with that aspect of it as well as the number of people that requested service.”

Not to mention the more than 100 inquiries from advertisers, added Wanser. The Epidemic.com ad in the second half of Sunday’s Super Bowl XXXIV showed a man getting $1 (US$) from a restroom attendant to promote the company’s pitch to pay people to put ads inside their e-mail messages.

The average cost of a 30-second Super Bowl spot was $2.2 million.

Dot-Coms Score Big

A survey by Clickin Research.com immediately before and after the game showed that little-known dot-com firms that advertised on the Super Bowl made big gains in name recognition. “The exposure that (dot-com) ads had during the Super Bowl made an impact on viewers, and that impact was stronger for the less well-known brands,” Clickin Research President Dr. Martha Russell told Newsbytes.

She said Internet access device maker Netpliance, for example, was known by few people prior to the Super Bowl. “After the game, Netpliance had a pretty strong recognition. If you were to compute that on a percentage of change, it would be 1,000 percent.”

Other Ads Show Little Change

Well-known advertisers like Pepsi showed little change in favor or recognition as a result of their Super Bowl spots. Russell said despite the improvements, the new dot-coms still showed scores half that of established Internet names like Monster.com and a fraction of what Pepsi and Visa scored.

Many of the dot-coms that invested in Super Bowl ads — including Epidemic.com — experienced traffic jams at their Web sites after the spots were aired, causing long load times for visitors drawn to the site by the ad.

But Wanser is convinced the money was well-spent and will prove to be a major boost in Epidemic.com’s growth in customers and advertisers. “We’re pretty actively pursuing partnerships with people who fit well into online commerce.”

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