Super Bowl 50: 4 Reasons why advertisers should use Brand Registry domains

This year I watched Super Bowl 50 commercials with a marketer’s hat, recording how brands utilized hashtags, URLs and other conversion mechanisms to drive website traffic and brand engagement experiences.

Since I work in the new Brand Registry space, I couldn’t help but think how Super Bowl 50 advertisers could improve both brand engagement and conversion results by utilizing Brand Registry domains as opposed to trendy mechanisms such as hashtags.

I took screenshots of each commercial, capturing the conversion mechanism used by advertisers, and selected a collection of advertisements I thought could benefit from a Brand Registry domain (shown below). A conversion mechanism’s display time, placement within the frame and the quality of an advertisement’s content also plays a critical role on conversion results, but in this post I will focus exclusively on the conversion mechanism itself.

So how exactly can Brand Registry domains improve marketing results? Here are four reasons:

  1. They allow advertisers to use exact key messaging
  2. They are easy to communicate and more
  3. They are authentic and a trusted brand destination
  4. They are the brand

Now let’s dig deeper into each of these reasons.

1. Brand Registry domains allow exact key messaging

Before the rollout of ICANN’s new domain expansion program, nearly all the ‘single-word’ .COM domain names were registered. The expansion enables brands to claim a Brand Registry for their exclusive use – giving advertisers a blank canvas on which they have the flexibility to register any second-level domain name (eg: keymessage.BRAND) of their choosing. You could infer that advertisers use hashtags in preference of URLs because all the good .COM domains are already registered. This resource challenge is overcome with the introduction of Brand Registries.

Utilizing Brand Registry domains (and domains in general) also give advertisers the flexibility to forward a domain to a Twitter hashtag stream during a live event, but after the game they can redirect the same domain to a specific landing page, optimizing traffic flow.

2. Brand Registry domains are easy to communicate and memorable

A Brand Registry domain such as ‘label.BRAND’ is very easy for consumers to understand. The left of the dot is any label, message, product, service or phrase selected by an advertiser. The right of the dot is the brand. In the domain name, drive.BMW, ‘drive’ is the label and ‘.BMW’ is the brand. Brand Registries are truly novel digital assets, and as consumers familiarize themselves with the Brand Registry domain structure, they will quickly become understood. An increase in consumer awareness could have a significant impact to direct type-in website traffic and direct response conversion rates.

Imagine seeing or hearing an advertisement that uses ‘’. After you grab lunch, visit the washroom, hit the gym or pursue another activity, the web address exits your memory. Now imagine the same advertisement using ‘318.BMW’.  You can immediately see how much simpler it is to recall from memory. All you really need to remember is ‘318’ because BMW is known.

As advertisers begin to use Brand Registry domains, recognizing their attribute for easy memorability, advertisers will experience an overall increase in marketing results. Hashtags can also be memorable but they are susceptible to human error as we will see next.

3. The Brand Registry is an authentic and trusted brand environment

As was previously discussed, Brand Registries are secure and trusted digital spaces where only the operating brand can register domains. Hashtags on the other hand are open to general public use and allow for brand messages to be diluted and corrupted over time. This occurs because people utilize hashtags for various competing purposes.

A personal example of how hashtag usage is flawed occurred with the hashtag #AddPizzazz used by Kia in their Super Bowl 50 advertisement. After watching Kia’s commercial, I went to Twitter on my laptop and searched for #AddPizzaz with only one ‘z’ at the end instead of two. A handful of users also made the same mistake as there were quite a few tweets also using the incorrect spelling. Kia recognized this flaw and the next day posted the same advertisement using AddPizzaz with one ‘z’:

I only noticed the error when cross-referencing my initial research, otherwise I would not have landed on the correct hashtag. A simple error like this could cost advertisers a pile of money in lost ROI on a given campaign. The use of a brand registry domain on the other hand would have prevented this error with ancillary benefits.

Assume the advertiser wants to leverage Twitter. They can configure a domain to automatically forward to an appropriate hashtag stream, eliminating errors from human misspelling. Here is a mock example of a brand registry domain being forwarded to the correct #AddPizzazz stream on Twitter: AddPizzazz.KIA. (Here’s a mock brand registry domain forwarded to Kia’s AddPizzazz web property: AddPizzazz.KIA. With a domain it still is possible for an error in spelling, but the error would immediately be evident to a user when they land on an incorrect or non-resolving website.

Because only a Brand Registry operator can register domains, consumers will have complete confidence that they are engaging with a brand’s authentic web property. The same cannot be said for hashtags or TLDs open to the public.

When the campaign engagement on Twitter has run its course advertisers can redirect the domain anywhere as with the ‘AddPizzazz’ example. You can begin to see how using a Brand Registry domain in advertisements has great advantages.

4. Brand Registry domains are the brand

A power innate to brand registry domains is their ability to deliver a brand imprint with each impression. This is because every domain contains the brand’s name as part of the URL structure (eg: label.BRAND). With every advertisement that utilizes a brand registry domain, a brand impression is delivered on the eyes, ears, hearts and minds of consumers.

Now that we understand how Brand Registry domains allow key messaging, are memorable, trusted and branded, let’s have some fun and analyze a sample of advertisements featured during Super Bowl 50 – imagining what Brand Registry domains advertisers could have used in place of their chosen conversion mechanisms, and what we are likely to see at Super Bowl 51.

Super Bowl 50 advertisements with suggested brand registry domains

Anheuser Busch – Bud Light
Conversion mechanism: #BudLightParty
Brand Registry domain: PARTY.BUD

Anheuser Busch – Budweiser
Conversion mechanism: None
Brand Registry domain: FORYOU.BUD

Anheuser-Busch – Michelob Ultra
Conversion mechanism: Branding
Brand Registry domain: ULTRA.MICHELOB

BMW – Mini
Conversion mechanism:
Brand Registry domain: USA.MINI

Chrysler – Jeep
Conversion mechanism:
Brand Registry domain: 75.JEEP

Fox Films – Independence Day
Conversion mechanism: & #IDR
Brand Registry domain: ID.FOX

Fox Films – X-MEN
Conversion mechanism:
Brand Registry domain: XMEN.FOX

Frito-Lay (PepsiCo) – Doritos
Conversion mechanism: None
Brand Registry domain: BOLD.DORITOS

Conversion mechanism: #HyundaiSuperBowl
Brand Registry domain: SUPERBOWL.HYUNDAI

Hyundai – Kia
Conversion mechanism: #AddPizzazz
Brand Registry domain: PIZZAZZ.KIA

LG Electronics
Conversion mechanism: Branding
Brand Registry domain: 4K.LGE

Mars – Snickers
Conversion mechanism: #EatSnickers
Brand Registry domain: EAT.SNICKERS

Conversion mechanism: Branding
Brand Registry domain: NEWMONEY.PAYPAL

Pfizer – Advil
Conversion mechanism: None
Brand Registry domain: RELIEF.ADVIL

SunTrust Bank – OnUp
Conversion mechanism: & #onUp
Brand Registry domain: JOIN.ONUP

Conversion mechanism: #Ballogize
Brand Registry domain: BALLOGIZE.TMOBILE

Unilever – Axe
Conversion mechanism: #FindYourMagic
Brand Registry domain: MAGIC.AXE

Wrigley – Skittles
Conversion mechanism: #SkittlesArt
Brand Registry domain: ART.SKITTLES

Yum! Brands – Taco Bell
Conversion mechanism: #BiggerThanEverything

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