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These 3 Stocks Won the Super Bowl Ad Game

By Jeremy Bowman - Feb 9, 2021 at 10:39AM

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Is your favorite ad on the list?

Super Bowl LV is in the books. 

Tom Brady took home his seventh championship title in walkaway fashion. In the business world the real game wasn't fought on the gridiron, but during the commercial breaks in between the action. Brands big and small shelled out about $5.5 million for a 30-second ad spot Sunday night to get their message out to one of the biggest television audiences of the year.

Which ads won the day? There are different ways to measure the answer. Data from Semrush shows which publicly traded companies saw the biggest lift in web searches from their Super Bowl ads, which could indicate the effectiveness of the ads. Let's take a look at the top three.

A family watching football

Image source: Getty Images.

3. Scotts Miracle-Gro

Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG -3.14%) was a first-time advertiser in the Super Bowl. The maker of fertilizers and lawn-care products has been a pandemic winner as Americans spend more time at home during the crisis and have invested in home improvement products, including outdoor care.

In its most recent quarter, sales more than doubled to $748.6 million, and the company reported its first-ever first-quarter profit, during what's usually the company's seasonally slowest period. However, management believes it will be challenging to deliver growth on top of a blockbuster 2020, and the company is calling for a modest decline in sales for the fiscal year, meaning a significant falloff for the next three quarters. 

That may explain why the company chose to advertise in the Super Bowl as the platform gave the company a chance to seize the momentum it's gained over the last year. In a spot featuring celebrities including Martha Stewart and John Travolta, Scotts advertised a contest for 42 people to win their dream lawn and garden. Scotts is also using the ad to launch its spring marketing campaign, driving spending ahead of what is typically its seasonally biggest time of year.

According to the Semrush data, the ad seems to have paid off: Searches for the company spiked 2,716% on Sunday night compared to the night before.

2. Fiverr International

Like Scotts, Fiverr International (FVRR -3.57%) has been a pandemic winner. The platform connects gig workers with employers. Its stock price jumped 600% over the last year, and the company posted 88% year-over-year revenue growth in its most recent quarter. It's also now profitable on an adjusted EBITDA basis.

As a scalable platform currently enjoying significant tailwinds, Fiverr likely saw enormous upside potential in a Super Bowl ad as it's an easy way for the company to increase brand awareness and reach a large and diverse audience. The ad, entitled "Opportunity Knocks," featured the owner of Four Seasons Total Landscaping (which gained some notoriety in 2020 as the setting for a rather notorious press conference involving Rudy Giuliani). It showed the owner traveling through an imagined world of possibility, underscoring how Fiverr can open doors by making hiring easier for small businesses.  

Searches for Fiverr also jumped after the ad aired: Semrush reported searches for Fiverr rose 7,845% over the previous day. With millions of Americans still out of work from the pandemic, the ad was well timed. 

1. Vroom

Online used car dealer Vroom (VRM -8.12%) has had mixed results during the pandemic. The company went public via an IPO last June shortly after a deep lull in car sales as consumers cut back on spending during the coronavirus-related lockdown and as the company in turn paused its car-buying. However, as the economy reopened, used car demand spiked, and Vroom hustled to play catch-up. It acquired lower-priced cars to meet demand, but sales growth on the platform in the third quarter was still slower than before the pandemic. E-commerce unit sales, the growth component of the business, rose 59% in the third quarter, while e-commerce dollar sales were up just 25%, down from triple-digit-percentage growth earlier in the year.

In an ad that attacked the traditional dealership experience head-on, Vroom's Super Bowl spot told viewers they can have their new used car delivered to them for just a $600 fee, avoiding the hassle of the dealership. Its decision to broadcast on the Super Bowl stage seemed to signal that it is ready to ramp up sales after the lull last year. Vroom's ad also looked like a success as searches for the company jumped 9,108% Sunday night, according to Semrush.

Investors seemed to like the ad as well, as the stock price jumped 6.2% on Monday on no other news.

Worth the investment?

It's worth noting that all three of these stocks gained on Monday, by 1.3% or better, outperforming the broad market. The $5.5 million price tag can be expensive for a 30-second ad -- Fiverr spent a total of $67 million on sales and marketing through the first three months of the year. However, it's a sign of strength that all three of these companies were confident enough to buy Super Bowl ads, especially since they're all newcomers to the big game.

Based on the search data, all three seem to have made the right choice. Now it's up to each one to convert the increased brand awareness into new business.

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Stocks Mentioned

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Stock Quote
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
$94.57 (-3.14%) $-3.07
Fiverr International Ltd. Stock Quote
Fiverr International Ltd.
$37.05 (-3.57%) $-1.37
Vroom, Inc. Stock Quote
Vroom, Inc.
$1.47 (-8.12%) $0.13

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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