HomeAway’s Super Bowl Ad Gets Big Digital Push

HomeAway’s :30 Super Bowl XLV ad, scheduled to air during the Feb. 6th game’s third quarter, is being supported by an intriguing digital mix.

The Austin, TX-based vacation rentals site has partnered with digital video firm B-Reel to allow members of HomeAway’s network of home renters to customize a version of the Super Bowl ad. They will be able to plug in images of the spaces and amenities they offer through the company.

“They will be able to star in and direct their own Super Bowl ad,” said Matt Cohen, Sr. director of global brand marketing at HomeAway. “There will be various places to put their location in the ad… We want it to be more fun and entertaining than a hard-hitting sales tool.”

Still, Cohen said the home renters will be encouraged to push their customized version of the TV spot through their individual accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail. HomeAway will also leverage its social media pages and e-mail list in the weeks and days leading up to the Super Bowl, he said, in order to build buzz around the ad.

In addition, the brand plans to run Facebook ads and Google AdWords campaigns specifically to help maximize effect of the Super Bowl purchase.

It’s the second year in a row that HomeAway has bought a Super Bowl spot. During the 24 hours after the 2010 game began, Cohen said, HomeAway.com traffic spiked by 500 percent. He said the site had 1 million incremental page views during that same span of time, while the TV ad helped spur 171,000 measurable interactions on Facebook during the next 30 days. And the brand saw its “fans” on the social site lift from 76,000 to 98,000 during Super Bowl week.

“We feel really good about coming back,” Cohen explained. “We know [the Super Bowl ad] is just the start, though, as the content flows onto the online environment.”

HomeAway’s TV spot this year centers on a “Ministry of Detourism” theme, which was debuted by the brand with an e-mail to its list on Jan. 11. The e-mail landing page included a 2-minute, 13-second tongue-in-cheek teaser version of the ad.

The creative was developed by Austin, TX-based agency Vendor Inc. and marks a departure from last year’s foray with “National Lampoon’s Vacation” movie character Clark Griswold.

Even though that spot generated 859,000 YouTube views, Cohen said the creative was shelved because it attracted too many National Lampoon’s fans rather than people who were interested in vacation rentals.

Meanwhile, other Super Bowl XLV advertisers include brands like Doritos, Pepsi Max, Teleflora, GoDaddy, and Skechers.

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