By Lauren Tracey
Every year the Super Bowl is not only an opportunity for fans to tune in and cheer for their favorite teams, but also for brands to reach millions of Americans with what they hope will be “stand out” ads. For many viewers, the advertisements are more enticing than the game itself.
This year, 103.4 million viewers were treated to a wide variety of ads, some of the most popular including Tide’s “It’s a Tide ad” and Amazon’s “Alexa loses her voice.”
The guaranteed high viewership of the Super Bowl is very attractive to companies hoping to market their products to a wide range of consumers. This ever-growing appeal has driven the price of a single 30-second ad spot to over $5 million dollars. With such a high cost, companies spend a lot of time and effort ensuring that their ad will make a lasting impression on viewers. This effort often results in ads that range from humorous to heartfelt, but whether those memorable ads turn into product sales can often be difficult to measure.
In hopes of driving ad viewers to custom company content, many brands have recently included hashtags in their ads, as well as the company’s domain name. Domain names in Super Bowl ads saw their peak in the mid-2000’s, with almost every ad during the 2007 and 2008 Super Bowls containing a company domain name.
How Were Domain Names Used in Super Bowl 52 Ads?
In our analysis of this year’s ads, only about ⅓ (33%) of the ads featured a domain name in some way, which is down from last year’s 39%. While a majority of the domains featured were brand name domains, such as jeep.com or wix.com, there were a few unique domains created for the campaigns that stood out.
Three companies chose to utilize campaign-specific domains, which are domain names that reference the topic or the name of the campaign instead of the name of the brand. The practice of using ad specific domain names is not new, there have been a handful of these specific domain names used in Super Bowl ads in the past 10 years.
This year 3 companies that chose to use ad specific domains:
- Kraft (familygreatly.com),
- Toyota (mobilityforall.com), and
- Verizon (allourthanks.com)
Kraft’s “Family Greatly” domain had been featured in a number of ads leading up to the big game, promoting the campaign’s offer to share pictures of family on social media in the hopes that you would be featured in the main Super Bowl ad. The website itself shows off a long version of the ad in its entirety, actual pictures that had been shared with #familygreatly, and recipes featuring Kraft products featured as being quick and family friendly.
With Mobilityforall.com Toyota chose to highlight their innovation and upcoming projects in the realm of mobility technology. The domain was featured in both of Toyota’s big game ads which also promoted Toyota’s sponsorship of the Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The website features images of Toyotas future mobility-focused tech concept vehicles.
Verizon chose to utilize allourthanks.com in two different ads during the Super Bowl, the first was highlighting the initiative which utilizes the website to thank and send messages of gratitude to First Responders. Playing before the halftime show, the second ad, only 10 seconds long, featured a voiceover by Justin Timberlake that specifically encouraged viewers to visit allourthanks.com to learn more about the initiative.
The Future of Domains in Super Bowl Ads
Though the number of branded domain names featured in Super Bowl ads has slightly dropped this year, it is encouraging to see big companies relying on unique domains to host campaign specific content – and to help them measure the impact of the advertising. There is potential that these ad specific websites could easily be hosted on a .BRAND or new gTLD domain.
Having these campaign-specific domains transition to a .BRAND hosting would give the brands in question the opportunity to have brand recognition built into the web address, as well as not incur the cost of purchasing and maintaining a one-off campaign domain name. It’s possible that we will see .BRAND domains at Super Bowl 53, FamilyGreatly.Kraft, AllourThanks.Verizon or MobilityforAll.Toyota may not be that far off.