Here comes the Super Bowl! It’s that time when brands bring their creative prowess and spare no expense — or so it appears — in producing some of the world’s most extravagant ads. Iconic celebrities? Check. Famous athletes? Check. Music also historically plays an important part in these ads. The majority of spots are just 30 seconds, in which music is great tool to break through with multi-generational fans and keep their focus on the TV screen during breaks.
We’ve seen some common threads over time when brands have used music successfully:
Featuring musical artists in the spots. This Expensify spot in 2019 helped target younger audiences with a feature from rapper 2Chainz and creating an original song.
Nostalgic tracks. In 2021, we helped Tide license everyone’s favorite TV theme song “Believe It Or Not (Greatest American Hero)” for their big game ad.
Covers. Many brands want to re-create their favorite songs, like this 2015 Jeep commercial hiring Marc Scibilia to re-record “This Land Is Your Land”.
Lyric changes with some humor. Amplifying an already creative concept, Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose” and its lyric changes added the perfect touch of humor and emotion in this NFL commercial from 2016.
Both the music and brands win in these situations because: (i) as proven with this Songtradr report, there is a direct correlation between hearing a song in a Super Bowl ad with spikes in digital streams on Spotify and other platforms, and (ii) brands benefit from longer-term awareness that a song was used in their Super Bowl commercial.
To get in on the fun, our music experts have put together some of their top favorite uses of music in past Super Bowl spots. Don’t these take you back?
AMANDA LEVINE, Sr. Director of Music & Licensing, Platinum Rye Entertainment
Song: Eminem “Lose Yourself”
A very stark yet powerful tone was set when Chrysler ran one of the longest Super Bowl ads ever and used one of Detroit’s musical greats, Eminem, to show the strength of this rugged city. It’s considered one of the greatest commercials of all time.
Pepsi: We Will Rock You (2004)
Song: “We Will Rock You” (Beyonce, Britney Spears, Pink cover)
The difficulty of getting three of the biggest pop stars in history in one spot, with a Queen cover to boot – it was magical! Each artist brought their unique style to the iconic song.
Songs: Chris Brown Ft. Busta Rhymes “Look At Me Now” / Missy Elliott “Get Your Freak On”
A creative take on mashing up two iconic verses from hip-hop legends Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliott, but “sung” by beloved actors Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman. They must have gone through lots of practice to get it all in sync!
JASON BLAINE, Director of Music Licensing & Supervision, Platinum Rye Entertainment
Pepsi: Joy of Pepsi (2002)
Song: Britney Spears “Joy of Pepsi”
In the early 2000’s, Britney Spears and Pepsi were inextricably tied together. Few things capture the spirit of pop music of the era like this iconic collaboration which sees Britney traversing with Pepsi through the decades. The bubble gum earworm jingle and the bonus reference to “Simply Irresistible” by Robert Palmer make this one for the musical history books.
FedEx: The Lollipop Guild (2000)
Song: “The Lollipop Guild” from The Wizard of Oz
The sheer audacity of a brand touching an IP as iconic as The Wizard of Oz is a lesson in bravery and pure chutzpah. The fact that they actually pulled it off? Remarkable. We love how seamlessly FedEx was able to integrate itself into the world of the film and its characters, and “The Lollipop Guild” will always spark pure nostalgic joy.
Budweiser: Puppy Love (2014)
Song: Passenger “Let Go”
For us, you cannot mention Super Bowl ads without invoking the image of the legendary Budweiser Clydesdales. Throw an adorable puppy into the mix and we’re sold! Add in the wistful and emotive “Let Her Go” by Passenger and you have the perfect recipe for an unforgettable ad that really pulls on the heart strings.
Platinum Rye Entertainment is the talent- and IP-procurement branch of TMA. If you need a celebrity, influencer, athlete, music or other IP for brand creative, we should talk.