There's much more to readying an advertisement for Sunday night's Super Bowl than striking the optimum creative and branding themes: HomeAway, apparently the lone travel dot-com advertiser this year, invested some $1 million in new hardware to handle an anticipated spike in website traffic, the company says.
Here's a taste of the campaign -- not the actual ad -- in this video from Austin News KXAN.com.
The ad itself won't be publicized until the third quarter of the Super Bowl, but is known to revolve around all the mishaps that can supposedly take place at hotels -- as opposed to the value and amenities that await the traveler at HomeAway's favored vacation-rental sector.
The 30-second ad is said to resemble a movie trailer and will drive viewers to a HomeAway microsite, which features a 15-minute "Hotel Hell Vacation" film starring actors Beverly D'Angelo and Chevy Chase, who update their roles in the 1980s flick, "National Lampoon Vacation."
The Super Bowl ad will subsequently be aired on the Travel Channel, the Discovery Channel, HGTV, TBS, USA Network and the Food Network.
It's all part of Austin, Texas-based HomeAways first national soup-to-nuts, integrated marketing campaign, which kicks off with the Super Bowl ad.
Online advertising and social-media efforts also are part of the national campaign. Google and Yahoo will get online ads, as well as About.com, Concierge.com and iExplore, the company says.
The Chevy Chase character, Clark Griswold, already is equipped with Facebook pages and a Twitter account.
Matt Cohen, HomeAway's director of global brand marketing, says buying a Super Bowl ad wasn't an easy decision, with CBS reportedly asking for some $2.6 million for each 30-second ad.
Cohen says HomeAway studied the outcomes for past Super Bowl advertisers and was heartened that dot-com advertisers "seem to return year after year."
He adds that HomeAway is in a strong financial condition and call the Super Bowl "perfect timing" as it falls within "the peak travel booking period."
Hopefully, all of that $1 million in new hardware will hold up during the expected Web-traffic blitz.
And, then the challenge will be to engage a new, larger audience to ensure that the $1 million hardware investment was not for naught.