Super Bowl Buzz: Ads that clicked

by ErikGunther, Yahoo! Buzz Index editor

While the Super Bowl buzz this year had more to do with dynasty than decency, there are a few intriguing story lines to tackle.

Before the game kicked off, searchers wanted to know exactly what time to tune in. Queries on “Super Bowl Start Time” and “Kickoff Time” were popular early Sunday while viewers struggled through hours of pregame blather.

Once fans figured out the game’s start time, they were ready to begin the feast. Calls to the nation’s pizza outlets rang throughout the land and we noticed a very cheesy trend. Searches on “Pizza Hut,” “Domino’s Pizza,” and “Papa John’s” all rose as the first quarter was under way.

The NFL-produced halftime show starring Paul McCartney was a hit with searchers. Queries on the former Beatle spiked during halftime and created a bit of a ripple effect with searches on “Live and Let Die,” “Ringo Starr,” and “The Beatles” surging. Maybe it was a fluke, but we also saw a minor spike in searches on teen idol Jesse McCartney (no relation) during the halftime show.

The first commercial to score with searchers was a McDonald’s spot about a french fry resembling Abraham Lincoln. Playing off a web trend of auctioning famous faces found in food items, the spot spurred a flurry of searches on “Lincoln Fry.” Tracking down the fry wasn’t all that difficult the auction for the item was near a million dollars with more than 226 bids at halftime successfully driving couch potatoes from the set to the Net.

Hollywood also spent millions to hype the its summer slate. The clear victors in buzz were Batman Begins and War of the Worlds. The sneak peek at Christian Bale in his bat suit sent movie fans into a tizzy and queries on the new Bruce Wayne zoomed. Later on, an ad for the remake of War of the Worlds directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise surpassed Batman’s buzz. The CGI-heavy War trailer showcased some scary special effects and the flick is well on its way to becoming summer’s buzz hit.

The attempts by some companies to use pop-culture icons of seasons past in their ads fell incomplete. The Lays ad starring faded rapper MC Hammer was stale, and a commercial featuring Dennis Rodman shilling for Silestone in a bubble bath lacked pop. However, one comeback scored some late-game ad searches. Spots for former search king Napster brought the music service back into the spotlight. Now a legit tool of the recording industry, Napster is taking direct aim at iTunes, and the return of the rebel rocked searches.

During the game, Tom Brady was the only player on the receiving end of buzz. Donovan McNabb grabbed a little buzz and ran with it during the third quarter, but three-time champ Brady has grabbed lasting search glory. The ankle of Terrell Owens held up, but the Eagles weren’t able to overcome the power of the Pats. Searches on the bionic Owens surged all week as pundits dithered over Owens, his ankle and his ego, but his heroic effort wasn’t enough for Philly.

After the game came to a conclusion, searches on “Super Bowl Winners” and “” soared like the confetti raining over the victorious Patriots.

And for those of us who spent the game yakking and digging into the seven-layer dip, queries on “Super Bowl Commercials,” “Super Bowl Ads,” and “2005 Super Bowl Commercials” all jumped following the game. We’re sure the success of the ads will be a topic of debate for days to come, but we’re sure none of commercials created the lasting sort of buzz the Patriots achieved on the field.