Why Are ‘Net Execs Buying Super Bowl Spots?

Fox is charging a rumored $2.4 million per 30-second spot for the Super Bowl this year. Two Internet companies, CareerBuilder.com and GoDaddy.com, bought a piece of that game, casting their lots in with Budweiser, Ford, Visa and the other usual suspects.

Of the two, the employment site has wider recognition. CareerBuilder.com now has more jobs in its database than Monster.com, which made its own Super Bowl splash back in bubbly 1999. CareerBuilder.com’s success has come mainly through its partnerships with portals and other sites. The company now wants to grow the brand as a standalone consumer resource. VP of Consumer Marketing Richard Castellini thinks accessing the Super Bowl audience can help do that.

Domain registrar GoDaddy.com aims to make a similar brand splash. CEO Bob Parsons is so invested in the Super Bowl spot, he personally posted comments to Brand Autopsy. The ad industry blog had taken the company to task for what it considered a bloated buy in a dinosaur medium.

ClickZ recently caught up with the two execs to ask, well, “Why?” And how does your planned interactive spend for ’05 measure up? After all, this biggest of media placements is more often than not used to kick off large, cross-channel campaigns.

Rishad Tobaccowala CareerBuilder.com: Richard Castellini, VP of Consumer Marketing

Q. Why the Super Bowl spot?

A. In some ways, our business is lagging behind the brand. We are by far the leader in traffic. We are by far the leader in job postings. We need to get the word out further about the CareerBuilder message in general.

We look at it this way: 2005 is a coming-out party for CareerBuilder. The Super Bowl is a great opportunity to announce to the world where CareerBuilder is, and where we’re going to be.

Q. What’s the creative like?

A. I can’t let the cat out of the bag. We are very pleased with what we have.

Q. Is it kicking off a larger campaign?

A. CareerBuilder will spend over $100 million in media next year, more than we ever have.

Q. What’s the online component?

A. We have relationships with the AOLs, MSNs, and paid search operators, along with sites ranging from Earthlink to Bellsouth to iVillage. We power their career centers.

And we are looking to brand ourselves in the online medium. We are going to try to cover a lot of the bases. We’re doing some viral aspects, guerilla aspects, as well as traditional buys. In this fragmented world, there are many different ways to get to the audience, and we’re going to try to do that in as many ways as possible.

We view the online partnerships in a different light than, say, rich media and banner buys. We’re dedicated to doing more of those exposure buys than we have previously done.

Q. Can you divulge online’s share of the total media spend?

A. No, but I can say it’s a significant increase over what we’ve done in previous years.

Bob Parsons GoDaddy.com: Bob Parsons, CEO

Q. Why the Super Bowl spot?

A. Why not?

Look, the reason is this: Our advertising has pretty much all been online. Right now, we get five million visitors a month to our sites. Forty-seven percent are driven there by online advertising; the rest are referrals. We have the best value proposition of any registrar: price, features, support and supporting products. We didn’t understand why everybody doesn’t do business with us. We commissioned some market research six months ago, took a hard look at people who aren’t doing business with us, and concluded that they aren’t aware of us. So what better way to enter [an awareness campaign] than to use the Super Bowl? The Super Bowl’s not a one-shot ad for us. We’ll follow up with a campaign that spends a million a month, mostly in TV, radio and print. We’re already doing print right now in USA Today and other papers. TV and radio are going to wait for the Super Bowl to kick off.

Q. What’s your online marketing strategy?

A. We do online advertising now very aggressively. It’s primarily with the search engines and other, more viable types. We’re doing that [now], and we’ve been doing that.

Q. Brand Autopsy took you to task for choosing to run this ad, and you jumped right into the discussion. Why’d you get personally involved?

A. They were comparing us to Pets.com. They assumed that because we decided to advertise on the Super Bowl, we’re going to go the way of the other dotcoms. I thought, why not jump in and try to set the record straight? And what better guy to do that than me?

Q. Do you monitor blogs daily?

A. We have a very keen eye on what’s happening on the Internet that pertains to us. We have a fulltime department doing news research. We have a group monitoring chat rooms and forums. Quite often we don’t respond, and then there are times when we need to get involved and set the record straight.

Q. What’s the creative for the Super Bowl spot?

A. Everybody asks that question. I’ll tell you what I told a woman from the Daily News. She asked, “Will the ad feature any celebrities?” I said, “I can’t tell you that.” She asked, “Will it be humorous?” I said, “I can’t comment”. Then she asked, “Will it feature any animals?” I said, “That depends on your definition of animal.”

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