Big Game Advertisers Score Web Site Gains

NEW YORK Pepsi, H&R Block and Cialis were among the Super Bowl advertisers that scored significant gains in Web site traffic on Sunday.

Cialis, the erectile dysfunction drug, saw a 1,868 percent increase in visitors to its site over the average of the four previous Sundays, according to comScore Media Metrix.

A distant second in terms of traffic growth: H&R Block. The company, which used Willie Nelson to hawk its tax services for the second consecutive year, recorded a 258 percent surge in site traffic.

Meanwhile, Pepsi-Cola experienced a 190 percent upswing in traffic to, according to Reston, Va.-based comScore. The beverage marketer ran 5 spots total, including one for its main brand in which a young Jimi Hendrix chooses a Pepsi over a Coke and another for Sierra Mist in which a bagpiper in a parade cools himself off.

Although Apple did not advertise on the Super Bowl, the company likely benefited from Pepsi’s iTunes promotion, posting a 593 percent rise in Web site traffic on Sunday. Pepsi introduced the promotion, which involves the beverage brand giving away a million free songs from Apple’s iTunes Music store, via a spot that featured 16 teenagers charged with illegally downloading music from the Internet.

Auto advertisers Dodge, Cadillac and Ford saw traffic increases of 139, 94 and 19 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile Mitsubishi, which aired a cliffhanger ad for the Galant that directed viewers to, reported that the microsite recorded more unique visits in the first 24 hours than historically receives in a month. The car maker also said that two-thirds of the visitors watched the full-version, 50-second ad two or more times.

Aside from a few exceptions, the Super Bowl advertisers’ Web sites performed well under pressure, according to data from Keynote Systems. The San Mateo, Calif.-based company, which judges Internet performance based on download times, reported that most marketers delivered their home pages within 3 seconds on the day of the game. AOL and Cadillac beat that time, with their home pages loading in less than 3 seconds. H&R Block’s home page fluctuated between 4-10 seconds.

Another company that monitors Web site performance, Waltham, Mass.-based Gomez, reported that the spoof site for American Legacy Foundation,, averaged a nearly 25-second download time across high-speed Internet connections.