Super Bowl ads crashing websites isn’t a new story. But it is one that deserves a bit of attention about this time every year.

Back in 1999, Victoria’s Secret made a big splash with their Super Bowl Ad. The ad was one of the very first ever to tie in TV and web. It promoted an online lingerie fashion show and over a million viewers logged on to watch. . . crashing the site.

Since then, using Super Bowl ads to drive traffic to a website has become a very popular marketing technique. Many companies use the massive marketing power of a Super Bowl ad to drive viewers to their websites and take a specific action (signing up for some promotion, voting for a favorite team, etc.). The resulting massive spike in traffic that hits the websites, should be very much expected. However, every year there are a handful of websites that have website crashes resulting in massive social media and PR backlash.

In 2013, a study by Yottaa found that over 13 companies had Super Bowl ads that crashed their websites, including Coca-Cola, SodaStream, Calvin Klein, and Axe. Coca-Cola invited viewers to log on to and vote for their favorite team, Axe offered a sweepstakes to send someone to space. Both resulted in massive numbers heading to the websites to find crashed websites. The result? Viewers took to social media in droves :

coca-cola 2013 superbowl ad

One notable crash of Super Bowl 2014 was from Maserati. The ad was rumored to cost between $11 million and $17 million. It announced the new Maserati Ghibli and sent masses to the website, which promptly crashed.

crashed Maserati website

Load testing is critical for any website expecting a rush of traffic. Whether it is a rush from a major ad campaign or a launch, it is imperative that the website be able to handle the pressure of the traffic. The only way to know for sure that your site is prepared is to test it.

As a load testing provider, we see all of these examples as avoidable problems. Load testing allows companies to simulate a large volume of traffic hitting the website or application while monitoring the sites responses (response times, throughput, errors, etc.). Therefore, if the companies had load tested, it is quite reasonable that their web development teams would have found the performance bottlenecks, addressed them, and the crashes would never have happened.

Will we see any big website crashes from Super Bowl ads this Sunday? Comment below if you have any guesses of which websites will fail and then check back next week as we analyze the hard data from our very own testing done on Super Bowl Sunday 2015!