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Super Bowl Advertisers Go Into Overtime Online

B to B Magazine
Kate Maddox
February 14, 2011

A popular Super Bowl campaign is being revived, although it never really went away.

The big game may be over, but Super Bowl XLV advertisers are hoping to keep the conversation about their ads and brands alive through Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels.

"It's not just a 30-second or 60-second ad; it's the beginning of, hopefully, an ongoing conversation," said Richard Castellini, CMO at CareerBuilder, which ran a 30-second spot in the Super Bowl this year called "Parking Lot." The ad placed sixth in USA Today's poll of favorite Super Bowl ads, behind consumer ads for Bud Light, Doritos, Vokswagen and two Pepsi spots.

CareerBuilder, which has advertised in the Super Bowl for the past seven years, brought back its popular chimpanzees, which starred in the career site's 2005 and 2006 commercials during the big game.

In "Parking Lot," an employee parking at work is hemmed in by rambunctious monkeys, which park too close and ram into his car, while a voiceover says, "Stuck between a bad job and a hard place?"

"Careerbuilder feels, with the economy improving, we know job prospects will be better in 2011 than in the previous two years," Castellini said. "From a brand perspective, of the 105 million to 110 million people watching the commercials, a large chunk of them are also our customer base."

The TV spot, aimed at employers and jobseekers, is just the start of the campaign. CareerBuilder is rolling out a Facebook game called Yeknom ("monkey" spelled backwards); an email campaign called "Monk-e-Mail," developed with viral marketing company Oddcast; and a social media application called Monk-e-Maker, also developed with Oddcast, which lets users upload pictures of their bosses and co-workers to make them look like monkeys. CareerBuilder created the Super Bowl campaign in-house.

"We've invested in the Super Bowl for seven years because we consistently see a positive return," Castellini said.

Over the last six years, CareerBuilder saw an average 40% year-over-year growth in invoicing in the month following the Super Bowl, and a 23% year-over-year increase in job applications in the month following the game, he said.

These types of social media efforts are expected to help Super Bowl advertisers capture a higher return on their average investment of $3 million in media costs for a 30-second spot, ad experts say.

"Anything that can extend the life of the campaign will ultimately help in terms of ROI measures," said Jane Barratt, president of Y&R New York.

"[Super Bowl advertising] has gone from being a couple of hours on a Sunday night to a multiweek event. Social media helps build buzz in terms of overall customer experience and providing a wonderful opportunity for companies to engage a little bit further."

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