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Monday, October 22, 2007

Super Bowl Commercials Better than Football?

I've got to admit that I am not now, nor have I ever been a football fan. My favorite moments in any game have always been those all too brief breaks from the action on the field which occur only once every year in February - Super Bowl Commercials. Not only do I fail to follow football, I've never been able to join in the office sports banter because I don't watch "The Game" on Monday Night Football, nor do I care a whit for football stats, scores and/or records.

The really interesting part about most football games are the highlight reels and the "Play of the Game" spots where the true action is - they're kinda like football commercials. They get us to watch the entire three hour game based on 30 seconds of action shown during highlight reels, making us believe there was that much action the entire game. Uh-uh.

I've got to admit that of all football games, the SuperBowl game itself is usually OK for a non-football fanatic like me. The BEST teams, the most action, the greatest half-time entertainment and when there isn't much action on the field, we cut to - guess what - those cool Superbowl Commercials.

One reason I LOVE most SuperBowl ads is because they cost the advertisers so much money to produce and air, that they polish and perfect those ads until they couldn't possibly be better (a bit like those game highlight reels). The expensive advertising gets tons of scrutiny from all angles.

Everyone looks at the ads for their creativity and memorability, but SEO Chris Boggs rated the advertisers for their search engine marketing savvy and SEO smarts in a Search Engine Watch review of Superbowl advertiser SEO/M.The New York Times devoted a two page article to the Superbowl Commercials and then they had an extremely long "Fifth Down" blog post reviewing most of the commercials - which drew 100 comments from readers!

There are additional reviews of those commercials offered by ad industry journal "Advertising Age" on their web site. Not only does "Ad Age" offer reviews, they have a collection of articles about those ads every year. This year's Superbowl commercial articles are here. Reprisemedia did another annual critique of how well advertisers leveraged the web in their Superbowl Commercials in a "Search Marketing Scorecard"(PDF download) and a blog post on the ads by Kate Zimmerman in the Reprise Media "Search Views" blog.

And last, but not least, the big game and it's marketing hype have drawn scrutiny from the Nielsen Company, who are watching all the hype and analyzing every bit of it. Here's a YouTube video from Nielsen's Pete Blachshaw talking about the Super Bowl Marketing machine and announcing a Super Bowl Blog to talk in depth about it all.

I love to talk about the Superbowl Ads. I'll bet you even remember last years' best commercials. Give it a shot. Remember "Click a mouse?" The main characters in this Blockbuster Video ad are Carl, the rabbit, who was given voice by James Woods, while Jim Belushi gave Ray the Guinea Pig his voice and comedian Bobcat Goldthwait provides the voice of the poor mouse, the spot includes a closing voiceover from Alec Baldwin.

How do I know this? Because Blockbuster and their ad agency, Doner, were so proud of the ad, they issued a press release the day before the game.

Here's a quote from the release:

"When Carl and Ray made their commercial debut during the 2002 Super Bowl, they scored the fifth-highest recall among consumers according to research from Ipsos-Reid Express Omnibus. The spot also ranked in the top 10 in popularity in USA Today's annual "Ad Meter" poll, and the campaign went on to win four CLIO Awards."
Here's the ad:

Click a mouse

More Superbowl Commercial Videos

Wow! That's serious stuff, press releases announcing commercials, online reviews of 50 television commercials aired during the game, consumer research on those ads, SEO commentary and critiques, Nielsen Company scrutiny and analysis, a USA Today "Ad Meter Poll" and advertising industry awards? How often do you see that much hype around a 30 second commercial?

While I don't particularly care to sit through three hour football games, there is one thing I love about sports on the web - you can follow only those things you have a true interest in - through widgets - without paying attention to all the stuff surrounding the game, including that droning blather by ex-coaches, retired players and "personalities" with endless sports blah, blah commentary.

Below I am showing a group of widgets featuring only the highlights (stuff I care about), which includes game schedules and scores. No Fluff, No Hot Air from tired and retired players, ex-coaches and "tv personalities" - just the facts ma'am. That's sports the way I like it - only the highlights. Here's the stuff I care about:


It's been a few years since an estimated 90 million people watched that Janet Jackson "Wardrobe Malfunction" during her Superbowl halftime show musical performance in 2004. Not to worry, provided a wardrobe malfunction parody Superbowl commercial in 2005 providing another spin on that idea and got the ad banned, causing considerable controversy

The domain name seller has run Pay-Per-Click ads which appear anytime the phrase "Superbowl Commercial" is searched. Here's a page hosting their Superbowl ads. GoDaddy continues to provide a minute and thirty second extended version of the wardrobe malfunction video on their own web site, along with all yearly GoDaddy Superbowl commercials. GoDaddy is set to be on the roster of advertisers for 2008

All the ads can be found at each of the online video sites, including YouTube, iFilm, AOL Video and MySpaceTV. The online videos can be embedded in blogs and web sites, so not only can you talk about your favorite commercial from the Superbowl, you can show it right on your own MySpace page.

And now I find myself counting the days until Superbowl XLII (42) from Phoenix on February 3rd. Here's a Superbowl Countdown widget which can be embedded in your own blog or web site.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

SMX Local & Mobile Search Conference, Denver Day 1

At the end of Day One of SMX Local & Mobile Search marketing conference at the Denver Hyatt, I'm tired of the emphasis on the "Local Search" aspect and want to hear more on the "Mobile Search" half of that equation. Mobile comes at the second half of the title, it is to be discussed on the second day of this two day conference. Very little of "Local Search" (at least material which hasn't been known pretty widely for a few years), has been detailed here.

All the standard Local Search SEO rules -

  1. Putting the street address of a local business into the page (in text) a couple of times
  2. Submitting to local search portals at each of the top engines
  3. Using standard SEO techniques
  4. Submitting to localized portals, niche local directories, Acxiom, InfoSpace
  5. Including the "hcard" elements into page code...
were discussed in those first day sessions that I was able to attend.

Nobody has so far mentioned specific mobile devices even though there are probably more Apple iPhones carried by audience members than you might be able to find in any other conference. Nobody but keynote speaker Michael T. Jones, Chief Technologist, Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google Local Search, who displayed his own iPhone to audience members. While he stopped short of discussing specifics of that device, he did say that the iPhone changes the game - then emphasized that Google knows nothing of making handsets - twice for emphasis.

Jones is another Googler I've now heard speak that leaves me thinking, "Wow, some smart people are working on some cool things at that place!" He's clearly thought long and hard about every aspect of Local and Mobile Search and made for a great keynoter for SMX Local & Mobile.

Jones repeated the Google Mission statement and inserted "Geographically" into "organize the world's information..." and though he didn't say it out loud, obviously inserts "via mobile phones" right after "universally accessible."

I was encouraged that this would be a great conference after hearing the Jones keynote, but I have to say that, so far, not much new is being discussed.

At the "Introducing the Local Search Engines" session, we heard the 5 W's of Local Search - with little "Advanced" material - although, thankfully, little beginner rehash.

At the SEO Best Practices for Local Search session, we heard a bit more detail and not a lot of new insight.

At the "Community Driven Local Search" session, we heard a lot about why user generated content or UGC (reviews), is the suggested silver bullet of local. One dissenting voice on that panel was Paul Ryan of Done Right, who was last to speak and opened with "Everything you just heard is a load of CRAP!" (I disagree, but it was entertaining.)

Ryan advocates professional content, vetting of members and, guarantees of performance - and claims that all UGC is suspect. That may be true to some degree in some places, but when you are talking SEO, UGC is golden for traffic generation and search visibility. Most members of the panel agreed with different aspects of the messiness of user reviews and the difficulty of controlling the monster once negative UGC grows big enough to overtake reputation management efforts.

At the final session of the day on the Industry Issues Track, "Local Search Case Studies" confirmed that yes, local search is effective, economical and valuable to both branding and conversion efforts.

Agreed, local search marketing works, you should do it.

Mike Valentine is an SEO Specialist offering ocassional commentary on Search Engine Developments through his Reality SEO Blog and developed WebSite101 Small Business Ecommerce Tutorial in 1999 to help educate the little guy to the intricacies of online business.

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