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Bowl Buzz -- Sans In-Game Ads -- Tallies for TurboTax

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Intuit is hitchhiking on the online buzz surrounding the Super Bowl for its latest digital campaign to promote TurboTax. In fact, TurboTax all but tackles consumers by taking over the home pages of Yahoo, AOL and MSN both on Super Bowl weekend and the weekend preceding the event.

TurboTax is a familiar presence on TV during tax season, but the high price to advertise in the Super Bowl didn't make sense. "TurboTax wanted to be associated with all the hype without the in-game ad cost," said Michael Hayes, evp and managing director, digital, for Initiative, which handled the campaign. "Online traffic and interest will soar on Super Bowl weekend. They wanted to be part of the buzz."

The center of the campaign is the TurboTron, a new, rich media creative unit that resembles a big scoreboard and does everything except fill out the tax form, including a refund estimator, live community with tax answers, videos, Twitter feeds and Facebook integration.

All the content is Super Bowl and football related.

For the host of the TurboTron, Initiative partnered with Brand Affinity Technologies, a sports endorsement online platform for the digital rights to Chris Berman, an ESPN sports anchor.

Over the course of the weekend the TurboTron is expected to generate 500-600 million impressions. "To our knowledge, this has never been done before on this scale," Hayes said.

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