Google Super Bowl Ad = True Love and Traffic!

    February 20, 2010

Super Bowl 2010 will be forever remembered for a few things: New Orleans winning their first championship, Peyton Manning’s locker room walk-of-shame and Google running their first Super Bowl commercial.

Editors Note: WebProNews interviewed CEA, the first company featured in Google’s commercial (there were 15+ featured). Even though they were only seen for a split second, you’ll be shocked by how much their traffic increased and it’s impact on their marketing plans.

While doing the interview Gina Lind, CEA‘s Director of Marketing Communications, summed up their appearance in Google’s Parisian Love commercial, "To be featured in the first couple seconds of an ad for a top brand like Google during the Super Bowl… is a marketer’s dream!"

Be sure to read the full in-depth interview below.

Would you believe being barely seen in a Super Bowl commercial would greatly increase your site traffic? Tell us what you think.

Google’s "Parisian Love" commercial ran during the 3rd quarter of the game and instantly became one of the game’s most discussed commercials. Overall, it was fairly simplistic; it featured a series of Google searches that told a cutesy little love story (just in time for Valentines Day).

The brilliance behind it’s simplicity was that each search showcased a different Google search feature: query suggestions, did you mean, Maps, language translation, web definitions, flight tracking and Google’s overall ease of use. Google managed to show off all these features without making the commercial feel cluttered… quite the achievement.

It’s common knowledge that advertising during the Super Bowl isn’t cheap. This year a 30 second spot would set you back around $3.01 million. So for around $3 million Google was seen by the largest audience in the history of television, was able to show off a ton of features and even gave some ‘collateral’ publicity to some lucky companies.

We contacted the study abroad company featured in the commercial, CEA Global Education –, and asked them some questions about their Super Bowl experience.

WebProNews: The Google ad, Parisian Love, was uploaded to YouTube on November 19, 2009, were you aware of its existence?

CEA: No, prior to Super Bowl Sunday, we were not aware the Google ad existed or uploaded to YouTube.

WPN: So, Google never contacted CEA and asked permission?

CEA: Google did not contact CEA to request permission; however, we are not surprised that CEA appeared at the top of the page listing, as SEO is an integral part of our marketing strategy.

WPN: Did CEA see a spike of traffic after the Super Bowl commercial aired?

CEA: CEA experienced a spike in traffic almost immediately.  As you know, the spot aired late Sunday afternoon and by Monday morning, our number of page views had increased sharply. By the end of the day, we saw nearly a five-fold increase in site traffic, especially our Paris program page, which was featured in the ad.

WPN: We saw that CEA created a video response to the Parisian Love ad… tell us about that.

CEA: Our Graphic Designer and Web Specialist had the idea Monday morning to create a response video to the Google ad. Director of Marketing Communications, Gina Lind, quickly pulled the staff together to help, not an easy feat as CEA is at the height of its application season for Summer and Fall 2010 study abroad programs.

Study Abroad Love StoryWPN: CEA has also uploaded "A Study Abroad Love Story", was this inspired by the Google commercial? Tell us about it.

CEA: Our Project Manager remembered we had featured a true love story in a 2006 CEA Newsletter and helped to track the couple down today in Oshkosh, Wisc. Our content manager called the couple and they graciously agreed to share their story for our blog and video. Imagine our amazement when we discovered the couple’s happy announcement that, like the couple in the Google ad, they were expecting their first child!

WPN: We saw where both CEA and shared some congratulatory tweets (1, 2). How big was this for both companies?

CEA: The study abroad community is a small, but passionate field of higher education professionals who are committed to helping students explore the world and connect with other cultures. Congratulations from any of our peers and colleagues is both heart-warming and rewarding for our staff and faculty, who work so hard both in the U.S. and abroad. At CEA, we really are a family, so we can’t help but feel proud of colleagues and the good fortune the couple and former CEA students, Kate and Allan, have had.

WebProNews would like to thank CEA for taking the time to answer our questions.

Another interesting thing about the commercial we ran across while watching the commercial (for about the 50th time) was how much Google had cleaned up their results page for the commercial. Take a look at the screenshots below; you’ll notice what we’re talking about.

Google SERP from Parisian Love

Google's real SERP for "study abroad paris france"

It looks as though Google has removed the advanced search link, AdWords ads, and the grouped results for the top result, more than likely just to clean up the page for the commercial. But take a closer look at results page numbers, located at the top right corner; we’ve circled them above. There is a discrepancy with the two SERP numbers, to the tune of around 99,000,000 but numerous factors could be at play. What do you think could’ve caused this?

Google’s Parisian Love commercial will slowly start to fade into commercial oblivion, only returning for those annual “best commercials” shows. However, I doubt CEA will be forgetting the power of SEO, Google, the Super Bowl and a little luck anytime soon. What more could any marketer ask for?