With a record 97.4 million viewers tuning into Super Bowl XLII on Sunday, every game advertiser could be considered a winner.
But drill down to finer data — such as which marketers got the biggest bump in online chatter and which commercials were most remembered — and it's clear some commercials delivered more bang for the big bucks than others.
An Anheuser-Busch bud ad that showed a Dalmatian who coaches a Clydesdale to make the Budweiser beer-wagon team took on a second life online after it finished first in USA TODAY's Super Bowl Ad Meter consumer ranking in real time.
Also "buzzworthy": an E-Trade etfc ad with a talking baby who unexpectedly spits up, and a Tide to Go ad with a chatty stain.
With Super Bowl ad time costing up to $2.7 million per 30 seconds, any extra return is a boon.
Some advertisers scoring extra points, according to several ad metrics:
•Online enthusiasm. A-B got the most next-day buzz on blogs, community forums and social networks, according to tracker Cymfony. Users gabbed about the brewer's Clydesdale ad, as well as its funny Bud Light ads, at nearly twice the level of the next-most-discussed advertiser, Audi. Audi's ad parodied the horse-head scene from mob film The Godfather.
Domain name company GoDaddy.com ranked fifth for online conversation, but a lot of it was negative, Cymfony noted.
GoDaddy aired a teaser ad with Danica Patrick in the game that directed viewers to its website to see the supposedly risqué ad with the race driver that was rejected for TV use. A lot of online users apparently thought it did not deliver.
•Recall. On average, Big Game viewers recalled 39 of the 54 commercials, according to TNS Media and Entertainment. The most remembered, with 70% recall, was the E-Trade ad with the barfing baby.
Tied for second place were a Bud Light ad featuring Will Ferrell in his upcoming Semi-Pro movie role and a SoBe LifeWater ad in which Naomi Campbell danced with animated lizards, with each recalled by 67% of viewers.
A second E-Trade commercial, where the baby hires a creepy clown, came in fourth with 66% recall.
•Website traffic. Victoria's Secret got the biggest bump in its daily website traffic from Sunday to Monday among game advertiser sites tracked by Nielsen Online. The lingerie retailer's daily traffic was the fastest-growing among the game's product advertisers, rising 86% to 364,000. The game ad showed a model in a slinky black camisole and pitched Valentine's Day giving.
•Brand favorability. The Tide to Go commercial took the top spot in a survey of which Super Bowl ads most boosted viewers' opinions of the brand. That ad was 64% more effective than the average Super Bowl ad in "greatly" or "somewhat" improving viewers' positive feelings for the advertised product, according to IAG Research.
Coming in second was a Coca-Cola ko ad that showed Thanksgiving Day parade balloons — cartoon characters Charlie Brown, Underdog and Family Guy's baby Stewie — fighting over a giant balloon bottle of Coke. It was 57% more effective than the average Big Game ad.