Pepsi iTunes Super Bowl Ads Bomb in USA TODAY Ad Meter Rankings

TMO Reports – by Brad Gibson

Pepsi’s two iTunes Super Bowl XXXIX commercials — which cost US$3.6 million — ranked far down the list of the 55 most popular ads in a consumer ranking survey released Monday by USA TODAY.

Pepsi’s 45 second spot was ranked 27th by testers with a score of 6.01. The ad featured teenagers opening and closing bottle caps as music starts, stops and reverses to their motions. The commercial illustrates how winning a free song from the Pepsi iTunes promotion is as easy as opening a bottle of Pepsi and ends with details of how consumers can buy a Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew or Sierra Mist soft drink and one out of three times get a free music download from the Apple iTunes Music Store (iTMS).

The soft drink maker’s 30 second commercial features singers Gwen Stefani and Eve and music from the single “Rich Girl”. It came in at a lackluster 45th position out of 55 with a score of 5.31.

Even worse, Napster’s commercial, touting its subscription-based online music service as a better deal than Apple’s iTunes Music service, came in dead last of all commercials in 55th place.

For a record seventh year in a row, Anheuser-Busch won the Ad Meter rankings with a score of 8.65. This year’s winner was the Bus Light commercial featuring a skydiver who refuses to jump. When his buddy tosses out a six-pack, the guy still doesn’t jump, but the pilot does.

Besides the top-rated ad for the evening, Anheuser-Busch also logged three of the top seven and five of the top 12. The beer maker was the game’s single-largest advertiser, airing nine spots during the game.

Anheuser-Busch’s tribute to American troops was a hit with viewers as well. It came in third with a score of 7.94. The one minute ad showed American military troops get a standing ovation at an airport.

USA TODAY assembled 289 adult volunteers in Austin, Texas and McLean, Va., and electronically charted their second-by-second reactions to ads during the Super Bowl. Volunteers used handheld meters to register how much they liked each ad. A computer continuously averaged the scores. Scores are the highest average for each ad.

Advertisers paid a record average $2.4 million per 30-second spot to get their ads in the game — the highest price for a 30 second commercial in the history of the NFL championship game broadcast.

The second annual Pepsi iTunes “under-the-cap giveaway” began last Monday and runs through April 11. Caps of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew and Sierra Mist bottles offer a one-in-three chance of a free song or a one-in-six chance of a free pepsi product when another identical product is purchased. Holders of winning caps can go to the iTunes Web site and download a song. That, in turn, enters the song winner in a sweepstakes for the iPod Minis.

The Pepsi iTunes spots were created by TBWA/Chiat/Day in Los Angeles. BBDO in New York typically handles Pepsi ads, but Apple CEO Steve Jobs insisted the commercials be produced by TBWA/Chiat/Day, according to Ad Age magazine. The firms chief creative officer is Lee Clow, who created the “1984” Super Bowl commercial for Apple.