Survey: Dot-Coms Smart to Avoid Super Bowl

Two weeks away from Super Bowl Sunday, a market research firm says Internet companies are wise to largely be avoiding the big bucks required for an ad buy during the game — since they didn’t make much of an impression last year.

A survey by online market research firm InsightExpress released Thursday concludes that dot-coms that advertised during Super Bowl XXXIV generally failed to make memorable impressions on consumers.

“When asked which commercials they remembered most from last year’s Super Bowl, four of the top five ads cited by respondents belonged to traditional brick-and-mortar companies, with only [now-] bankrupt Pets.com penetrating the top five for dot-coms,” the survey said.

“The Super Bowl appears to be an excellent vehicle for sustaining a brand, especially for recognized companies such as EDS and Budweiser,” said InsightExpress chief operating officer Charles Hamlin. “But as Computer.com and other dot-coms realized last year, it’s difficult to create indelible brand awareness in a 30-second advertising slot, despite the large and engaged audience of the Super Bowl.”

Texas-based EDS, an IT professional services firm, is a repeat advertiser in the Super Bowl broadcast, which will be aired on CBS on January 28. Dot-coms advertising during the game are recruitment sites HotJobs.com and Monster.com — both repeat customers as well.

E-Trade, the financial services play headquartered in California, is again sponsoring the half-time show this year, which will feature performances from pop stars N’Sync and veteran rockers Aerosmith.

In the survey, InsightExpress said there remains a “very attentive audience” for Super Bowl commercials. Almost almost 80 percent of the survey’s respondents admitted to being either somewhat interested or very interested in the ads during the game.

Dot-coms that bought spots last year, but who are shying away from this year’s broadcast include: Oxygen Media, OnMoney.com, AutoTrader.com, Britannica.com, Computer.com, Healtheon/WebMD, Kforce.com, LastMinuteTravel.com, Lifeminders and OurBeginning.com.

As any advertiser knows, the Super Bowl attracts the largest television audience of the year, and has become a showcase for new products and campaigns — allowing the network that carries it to put a hefty pricetag on commercial airtime.

The reported $2.2 million figure for a 30-second spot this year is more than double the average rate of commercials run during “normal” prime time programming.

Ryan Naraine is senior editor at sister publication atNewYork, an internet.com publication.

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