Web Crowns Super Bowl Ad Winners, Losers

With all precincts reporting, the Web has spoken. At least, the parts that are measured in those precincts.

Through its AdBlitz program, YouTube again polled the Web to name the most popular Super Bowl ad. The winner: the “Free Doritos” spot.

That was the one that opens in the office break room, where the guy throws the snow globe/crystal ball through the window of the vending machine to score free chips.

The video, which has been viewed nearly 1.9 million times on YouTube, is a sterling example of user-generated content (UGC) gone mainstream.

The ad was the work of the brothers Joe and Dave Herbert, of Batesville, Ind., two unemployed but aspiring filmmakers who submitted the spot to Frito-Lay’s “Crash the Super Bowl” calling for fan-submitted ads.

By earning a spot as one of five finalists in the contest, the Herberts netted $25,000. But the Frito-Lay upped the ante, offering a cool million if one of the two UGC spots topped USA Today’s annual Ad Meter Super Bowl ad polling, beating out the big-budget Madison Ave. fare.

“Free Doritos” won, and the Herberts won the million. They shot the ad in a day, and produced it for less than $2,000.

After the No. 1 spot, YouTube and USA Today’s polling diverge. In the YouTube poll, E*Trade’s singing baby, Careerbuilder’s repeating list of reasons why you need a new job, and Pepsi Max’s “I’m Good” ad took the second through fourth spots, respectively.

On USA Today’s list, those spots were occupied by two Budweiser’s Clydesdale ads (circus romance, fetching horse) and Bridgestone’s Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head spot.

Both polls ranked Doritos’ other UGC ad — “Power of the Crunch — in the No. five spot.

Online metrics firm comScore offered additional insight into the successes and failures of the Super Bowl advertisers, who each shelled out as much as $3 million for a 30-second spot.

comScore’s survey found that of 41 percent of Super Bowl viewers went online during the game. Fifteen percent said they visited an advertiser’s Web site after seeing the commercial on TV. If Nielsen’s estimate of 98.7 million television viewers (making it the most-watched Super Bowl in history) is to be believed, that’s a significant multichannel success story.

But buzz and brand lift don’t necessarily to together.

Nielsen reported that Bud Light GoDaddy.com’s ads were seen by the most people on TV, reaching 103.2 million pairs of eyeballs. According to comScore, GoDaddy’s site was the most visited by people who went online after seeing an ad on TV. The domain-name registrar, known for its racy and suggestive Super Bowl ads, promised viewers an uncensored version of the TV ad (featuring a shower scene with auto-racing minx Danica Patrick) would be found on its Web site, which might explain the spike in traffic.

But comScore also asked viewers whether the Super Bowl ads improved or damaged the advertiser’s brand perception.

On that measure, GoDaddy didn’t do so well. comScore’s polling showed that GoDaddy saw its brand value sink in the eyes of 15 percent of viewers. The next-highest brand damage mark was 6 percent.

As a result, GoDaddy saw the lowest brand-improvement score by comScore’s measure.

Taking yet another Super Bowl honor, Doritos landed at the top of that index, with a 46 percent brand-improvement rating.

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