Local ad firm mashes Super Bowl, Web

January 30, 2009
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The public will have a chance to vote for their favorite Super Bowl commercials at a Web site set up for the occasion by a Grand Rapids advertising firm.

Hanon McKendry, which has gained some national publicity for its annual pre-Super Bowl poll, and its recently-acquired Web-centric Mindscape staff set up the voting at www.superadbowl.com

The site also will feature a Webcam showing Sunday’s action at Joes vs. Pros, a panel of two dozen advertising industry professionals and “average Joes” who will weigh in on the television commercials shown during a Super Ad Bowl party at Hanon McKendry in downtown Grand Rapids.

This is the fourth year Hanon McKendry has sponsored the poll. In the survey of 2,333 adults, conducted by Harris Interactive last week, 30 percent of respondents said they would be more willing to visit an advertiser’s Web site after viewing a Super Bowl commercial. According to the Nielsen Co., last year’s Super Bowl advertisers experienced a 24 percent increase in Web traffic the day after the game.

“We were highly interested in the correlation between the Web and television as a general subject,” said Bill McKendry, founder and chief creative officer of the firm.

Search engine optimization is nice, he added, but there’s a power connection between mainstream media and the Web.

“We found that you can’t rely just on traffic within that medium to increase hits to your medium. Traditional media vehicles drive people to your Web site more than Web vehicles do,” McKendry said.

More than 90 million people are expected to tune into the National Football League’s championship game. The edgy commercials that debut during the broadcast have long been as much of an attraction as the action on the gridiron. According to the poll, 21 percent of adults said they watch primarily for the commercials. And of the 67 percent of women who said they intended to watch, 62 percent said the ads are as big or a bigger draw than the game.

Smart marketers already have tapped into the relationship between television and the Web’s expanded video capabilities with “banned” commercials and letting Web users vote on commercials, McKendry added.

“We believe interest in the Super Bowl is rising because of the Web and interest in Super Bowl commercials is rising because of the Web,” he said.

General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler have opted out of the Super Bowl’s $3 million-per-30-seconds TV advertising frenzy, although GM’s Cadillac brand is all over the NFL Web site. Audi and Hyundai will be the only vehicle manufacturers represented in game-time commercials.

“I think it’s a mistake overall,” McKendry said. “Now they’re letting two smaller car companies take all the sunshine on this day.”

Sunday’s 43rd Super Bowl in Tampa, Fla. features the Arizona Cardinals vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers. The game will be shown on NBC.

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