How Random Companies Desperately Try to Attach Themselves to All the Super Bowl Hoopla

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The Super Bowl is obviously a big deal for business. Advertisers are paying an average of $3.5 million per 30-second commercial aired during the game, and they’re spending millions more to promote online contests and viral video campaigns accompanying the ads. It turns out that the Super Bowl is also a big event for businesses that aren’t advertising during the game but still figure out ways on the periphery of the game to reach potential customers.

For businesses advertising during the Super Bowl, the impact of a commercial can be huge. At least 10 car brands are advertising during the game, and Kelley Blue Book says that two cars in particular will see major benefits from being featured in Super Bowl ads. Online traffic searching for info about the new Honda CR-V, featured in an ad with Matthew Broderick reprising a Ferris Bueller-like day off from work, is expected to double during and after the Super Bowl. Here’s the extended cut of the ad, which includes that “Oh Yeah!” music from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”:

The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic, meanwhile, should get an even bigger boost after being advertised during the game; KBB predicts a 250% increase in searches for the car on its site.

(VIDEO: Super Bowl Preview)

But what about companies and brands that aren’t advertising during the Super Bowl? Not every business can afford to drop $3.5 million and then some for a single commercial.

The Washington Post reports that there are all sorts of ways companies can call attention to themselves other than by advertising during the game. Ashley Madison, for instance, the website that helps arrange extramarital affairs—and that recently endorsed Newt Gingrich for president because of his “serial divorcee/adulterer” ways—recently hosted a survey asking women which Super Bowl quarterback they prefer “in the sack.” Eli Manning beat out Tom Brady with 54% of the vote, in what the site declared a “surprising upset.”

Condoms, cookbooks, and temporary tattoos are among the other products vying for your attention via giveaways, announcements, and other ploys that are somehow related to the Super Bowl. The tequila brand Patron is in the Super Bowl mix by sponsoring a special event in Indianapolis that impressively manages to squeeze three different brand names in the name: “Patron Tequila Presents: The Maxim Party Featuring the Coca-Cola Zero Countdown.”

(MORE: The Business of Super Bowl XLVI, By the Numbers)

Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, told the WP why it’s often worthwhile for a company to get associated with the Super Bowl in any way possible:

“It reaches an incredible number of people, and it’s a moment where people really pay attention to companies and to advertising,” Northwestern’s Calkins said.

Among the other companies and products trying to grab your attention: “must-have” Super Bowl gadgets picked by our colleagues at Techland, smartphone apps like ZipList, which promise to make it easier to keep track of all the goodies you need to purchase for a Super Bowl bash, and even carrots and yogurt—which, the Wall Street Journal notes, are fighting for prime spots on your tray of Super Bowl snacks.

Brad Tuttle is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @bradrtuttle. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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