This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Industry Standard's Media Grok email newsletter. It is archived here for informational purposes only because The Standard's site is no more. This material is Copyright 1999-2001 by Standard Media.

THE INDUSTRY STANDARD MAGAZINE
Super Bowled Over, Dot-Commed Out
Feb 01 2000 12:00 AM PST



As inevitably as a raucous crowd of sea gulls trailing a fishing boat, the media flocked around the floating remnants of the Super Bowl ad blitz.

We're talking full-out media saturation here. The venerable Wall Street Journal ran a profile of dot-com advertiser OnMoney, an analysis of "dot-com saturation" and a wrap-up story. MSNBC led with a Jane Weaver piece backed up with video clips from 12 of the Super Bowl ads and a reader survey. USA Today wrung three spots out of its national survey of 273 adult volunteers, who used handheld meters to register, second by second, how much they liked each ad. Oh, and it ran an online poll, too. ZDNet packaged up two current stories, one from Reuters and one from MSNBC, with three older ones.

C'mon, fellas - it's only a game.

This year 17 dot-coms piled on the Super Bowl, and last year's pioneers - HotJobs.com and Monster.com - wound up near the bottom of the heap, according to USA Today's survey. Dot-coms accounted for 17 out of 38 advertisers and 19 out of 52 ads during the game. Writing for the Wall Street Journal, John Dodge admirably described the symptoms of the dot-com saturation that resulted for all too many viewers.

USA Today's Greg Farrell and Michael McCarthy compared the dot-com ads to those of traditional advertisers. Beverage companies PepsiCo (PEP) and Anheuser-Busch dominated the top 10 slots in their viewer-popularity ranking. Only one dot-com commercial, for Pets.com, made the top 10, while three of the five least popular ads were for dot-coms. The survey put Monster.com's "Road Not Taken" ad at No. 50 out of 52.

Analysts agreed that many of the dot-coms got less out of their ads than more established companies did. The newcomers are struggling to establish themselves, while traditional marketers have the luxury of polishing an established brand. The New York Times' Stuart Elliott quoted brand consultant Simon Williams: "If any dot-coms are still under the illusion that advertising was the simple solution to building brands, then the Super Bowl will have put an end to that. Meaningless names, meaningless messages and a serious lack of stature were the major leave-behinds." Well, there are always the Oscars. - Keith Dawson

For Start-Up OnMoney, Super Bowl Was About a 30-Second Commercial
Wall Street Journal
[Paid subscription required.]

Super Bowl Viewers Suffer From Dot-Com Ad Overload
Wall Street Journal
[Paid subscription required.]

Few Ads Scored Touchdowns During a Great Super Bowl
Wall Street Journal
[Paid subscription required.]

Standout Ads Missing From Super Bowl
MSNBC

Survey of the Super Spots
MSNBC

Dot-Com Ads Not So Super
New York Times
[Registration required.]

Some 'Dot-Coms' Fumble Efforts to Score in Ad Game
Los Angeles Times

Beverage Titans Ram Dot-Com Rivals
USA Today

Few Dot-Coms Have Super Night
USA Today

How the Commercials Ranked
USA Today

Super Bowl Ads Huge for 'Dotcoms'
ZDNet.com