Super Bowl Advertisements and Publicity Stunts Score Online

Survey Reveals Budweiser Takes the Crown for Third Straight Year

Reston, Va., Feb. 5, 2004 – Comscore Networks, the leader in the use of the Internet to measure and understand consumer behavior, today released an analysis of Internet visitation and preferences related to Super Bowl XXXVIII. The analysis tracked game day Web visitation driven by the Super Bowl and related publicity stunts, such as the now famous Janet Jackson incident and the halftime on-field streaker. In addition, Comscore’s third annual Super Bowl survey revealed this year’s most liked advertisements. Posts the Largest Game Day Jump
According to an analysis of site visitors on Super Bowl Sunday versus an average of the previous four Sundays, erectile dysfunction drug site had the largest gain of all major Super Bowl advertiser sites, rising nearly 1,900 percent above its average level. Apple iTunes saw a nearly 600 percent jump in site traffic volume driven largely by a Pepsi promotion offering 100 million free songs through the pay-per-download music service.

Just as was the case last year, automobile sites were prominent beneficiaries of Super Bowl related traffic spikes. Dodge, which rolled out its new Magnum model, saw traffic to its site gain nearly 140 percent on game day. Ford and Cadillac, both of which also promoted a number of high performance vehicles, drew 94 and 19 percent more visitors on Super Bowl Sunday than the previous four Sundays. Beyond the automotive industry, jumped 72 percent driven by The American Legacy’s “Shards O’Glass” anti-tobacco spoof.

“Aside from reaching an enormous audience, Super Bowl advertisers count on a buzz effect before, during and well past the big game,” said Peter Daboll, president and CEO of Comscore MMX. “Year after year, our research finds that many Super Bowl advertisements drive immediate spikes in visitation that often pay dividends well past game day.”

Top 10 Largest Gaining Advertiser Web Sites*
Percentage Change – Sunday, Feb. 1, 2004 versus Average of Four Previous Sundays
Total U.S. - Home, Work and University Locations
Source: Comscore MMX

% Change in U.S. Visitors: 2/1/04 vs. Avg. of
Four Previous Sundays


Apple iTunes










*Limited to sites with greater than 10,000 visitors on Super Bowl Sunday

TV Ads Drive Immediate Spikes in Web Visitation
A number of television advertisers’ Web sites posted dramatic spikes in visitation within minutes of the actual television advertisement airing:

  • The number of visitors to grew by 240 percent as consumer curiosity was piqued by a direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertisement that was somewhat vague by design.
  • 220 percent more visitors charged to the Dodge Web site after the automaker ran its advertisement for the 2005 Magnum.
  • Visitation to jumped approximately 200 percent above average shortly after the studio’s ad for “Troy” ran.
  • While Pepsi introduced its iTunes promotion early in the second quarter, it appears that many Internet users waited until halftime to explore the offer online. Between 8:15 and 8:30 EST, visitation to was up more than 400 percent over the day’s 15-minute average.
  • posted a 330-percent increase after airing a promotion for “Secret Window.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, all comparisons reflect increases in site visitors for the 15-minute period spanning each brand’s television advertisements versus average traffic in all 15-minute time blocks on game day.

Halftime Streaker Helps Propel
While some marketers chose $2.3 million 30-second television advertisements to reach the Super Bowl’s enormous audience, opted for a less traditional branding medium – the tattooed streaker. Most of the debacle wasn’t shown on television, but many Americans quickly learned of infamous British streaker Mark Roberts’ unplanned halftime entertainment. Curiosity-seekers rushed to, pushing traffic 380 percent higher than average between 9:00 and 9:15 EST

Gambling Sites Draw Thousands on Super Bowl Sunday
While may have had the unique benefit of an on-field publicity stunt, it wasn’t the only gambling Web site to see significant Super Bowl related traffic growth. According to Comscore MMX, the largest-gaining online casino site on Sunday was, with growth of more than 400 percent versus an average of the previous four Sundays. Other top gainers included (240 percent) and (79 percent).

Comscore Survey: Budweiser Takes the Crown for the Third Year Running
For the third consecutive year, Anheuser-Busch took the prize for the most liked Super Bowl advertisement in integrated research conducted by Comscore Survey Solutions. This year’s winning commercial featured a donkey joining Budweiser’s famous Clydesdale team. More than 70 percent of respondents gave this ad the highest rating on a three-point scale and approximately 18 percent of respondents said the advertisement was their favorite of any Super Bowl promotion. Moreover, more respondents recalled (unaided) Budweiser’s donkey-Clydesdale spot as the most memorable advertisement of this year’s game.

Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light spots featuring a sleigh ride gone astray and beer-fetching dogs claimed the second and third spots with 14 and 9 percent of respondents that reporting that the ads were their favorites. Overall, a comparison of this year’s Super Bowl survey to last year’s did not reveal a significant change in advertisement entertainment value.

Women More Likely to Watch for the Ads
As was the case in last year’s survey, females were significantly more likely to report that the advertising was the most interesting element of the Super Bowl experience. This year, 37 percent of female respondents reported that they were primarily interested in the advertisements, versus 18 percent of males.

Internet Communication Tools Popular During the Game
Approximately one-third of survey participants indicated that they used the Internet during the Super Bowl or the pre- and post-game shows. The most popular times to use the Internet were the pre-game and halftime show. By far the most popular online activity among survey participants was Chat/Instant Messaging/E-Mail, with 41 percent of respondents communicating with friends and family using the Web. The second and third most popular activities were visiting sports information sites and visiting advertiser sites, with 23 and 21 percent of visitors reporting that they engaged in these activities respectively.

Note: A nationwide survey of households conducted by Comscore beginning immediately after the Super Bowl and continuing through February 3, 2004.

Janet Jackson Dominates Top Gaining Searches
The biggest surprise of the Super Bowl was, to no one’s surprise, a major source of interest after the game. Janet Jackson’s halftime revelation dominated the fastest gaining search terms on Monday, accounting for three of the top search phrases. In fact, searches related to the now infamous incident accounted for an astonishing 50 percent of the total search volume among the top 200 search phrases. With the exception of “Groundhog Day,” every one of the top ten gaining search terms was Super Bowl related. Clearly, the Super Bowl and related “performances” were top of mind as Americans started their work week on Monday.

Top Gaining Search Terms Across Major Search Engines*
Percentage Change – Monday, Feb. 3, 2004 versus Saturday, Jan. 31, 2003
Total U.S. - Home, Work and University Locations
Source: Comscore qSearch

Search Term

Percent Change

Janet Jackson and related searches


Halftime Show


Drudge Report


Groundhog Day


Lingerie Bowl




Super Bowl


Justin Timberlake


New England Patriots




*Includes grammatical derivations and closely related searches

About Comscore Networks
Comscore Networks provides unparalleled insight into consumer behavior. This capability is based on a representative cross-section of more than 1.5 million global Internet users who have given Comscore explicit permission to confidentially capture their Web-wide browsing, buying and other transaction behavior, including offline purchasing. Through its patent-pending technology, Comscore measures what matters across the entire spectrum of surfing and buying behavior. This deep knowledge of customers and competitors helps clients design more powerful marketing strategies and tactics that deliver superior ROI. Comscore services are used by global leaders such as Microsoft, Kraft, The Newspaper Association of America, Knight Ridder Digital, Best Buy, Verizon, Nestlé, Wells Fargo & Company, GlaxoSmithKline, and Orbitz. For more information, please visit

Bill Daddi
Daddi Brand Communications