Are you ready for some football? Break out the six-packs, pizzas, buffalo wings, Tums and Alka-Seltzer—it's that time of year again! Though some are predicting one of the starkest match ups in Super Bowl history, with the explosive Cardinal offense taking on the Steeler's top-ranked defense, much of the excitement will be happening off the field. No we're not talking about Tom and Gisele; we're talking about marketing and promotions.

Over the years, marketers have taken to airing creative, often over-the-top ads that capture the imagination and attention of viewers. In recent memory, we've seen Naomi Campbell dance with lizards and P-Diddy hitch a ride in a Pepsi truck. This trend is not surprising, as for many Super Bowl viewers, the advertisements take center stage on game day; in fact, 1 in 4 viewers prefer the ads over the game, according to comScore. With a record 97 million viewers watching the television broadcast in 2008 and huge viewership expected again this year, the Super Bowl is a true mass marketing opportunity. As such, advertisers are now kicking it to the Internet for that extra point.

Super Bowl advertisements are no longer siloed efforts to woo viewers, but have become integrated with the web to bring consumers into the brand's fold. We recently spoke to Prof. Timothy Calkins, a clinical professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University who conducts a yearly study on Super Bowl ad effectiveness, to get further insight. "No one just runs a TV spot any more. Most people pair their spot with an integrated campaign that includes the Internet," he states. "This has been a striking shift over the past few years." In fact, according to Reprise Media, last year 84% of Super Bowl advertisers integrated a URL into their ads and 70% ran search ads in conjunction with their TV campaign, nearly a 20% increase over the previous year.

While most advertisers are directing fans to their online presence, some are gaining ground by taking it ten yards further. Doritos' successful 'Crash the Super Bowl' Contest, last year awarded unknown artist Kina Grannis a recording contract and the opportunity to have her music video played during the game after an online contest. This year they're giving novice filmmakers Super Bowl airtime to showcase a user-generated commercial. Last year, Super Bowl ads received 20 million views on YouTube with online streams of the commercials remaining strong for 3 weeks after the game. Pedigree is running a search campaign around their Super Bowl spot and promoting their ad on YouTube Ad Blitz. Ad Blitz is a contest that begins right after the Super Bowl where the YouTube community can vote for their fav spot ( Similarly, E*TRADE is starting their Super Bowl campaign early - and with good reason. Searches for E*TRADE were up 1,000% after last year's Super Bowl Ad. This year they are re-introducing the talking baby and building buzz online by posting outtakes on YouTube a week before the ad runs (the last time we checked it had gotten nearly 47,000 views). The talking baby also has a Facebook fanpage and a Twitter account.

(Google Insights for Search)

If you aren’t advertising during the Super Bowl, you can still capitalize on the big game. Sports fans will be online searching for highlights, ads and sports swag, so be where they are by uploading your own Super Bowl videos to YouTube or simply advertising next to someone else’s Super Bowl videos. The heaviest traffic will be during and after the game, so you still have time to get out a rich media blast or a MySpace text homepage take-over.

And while we don’t want to get too Jess Simps and Tony Romo on you, we’d like to remind you that V-Day is just around the corner. So if you are in the non-pig skin business, ride the coattails of the biggest game in town and reach those sports fans. Do a quick Google search on “Arizona cardinals valentines” and you can find this beautiful picture frame. Pittsburgh fans are just as prolific in their gifts of the heart. A search for “steelers love gifts” got us this beautiful Steelers Pendant. So Ben Roethlisberger, we know you wear your heart on your sleeve, but remember that nothing says love like wearing your team in your heart.