Music in the Super Bowl, Part 1
There were approximately 9,000 minutes of advertising during the 2007 Super Bowl and a great many of them had very well-crafted music. Sure, some were awful, but most sounded very good. Scott G tries to ignore the marketing message and concentrate on the sonics.
First of all, Prince rocked. Finally, a great artist showed TV sports fans the power and fun of funk ‘n’ roll music. It was about time, since we’re endured Super Bowl halftime presentations that were messy (Rolling Stones), lip-synched (Michael Jackson), part burlesque show (Janet Jackson), or merely pleasant (Paul McCartney).
But I digress. The subject is music on the Super Bowl spots, and with a few exceptions, the sounds were superb. One notable downer was the silly cheesy track on the annoying Salesgenie spot. This was an embarrassment to all musicians. In addition, (and I never thought I’d say this) it was mixed too loud.
But most of the music was carefully composed and lovingly produced. Stylistically, they tended to fall into one of the following categories
1. SFX with Rhythmic Music Elements
2. Dramatic Movie Soundtrack Themes
3. Crushingly Compressed Rock or Hip Hop
4. Old Tracks in New Surroundings
Ford Super Duty
Imagine taking sound effects from “Alien” and mixing them with James Newton Howard’s music from “King Kong.” Yeah, it worked really well. Now, if they can just get rid of the on-camera spokes-stiff.
‘Fess up, did we all laugh at “Rock Paper Scissors”? Yes. Yes, we did. And we all chuckled at the “low five” ending. The music seemed like typical party sounds that were way off in the background. Which meant it was perfect.
Consumer-generated idea but selected and produced by pros. Using the product in a variety of crash air bag situations was not bad at all, and the operatic music worked just fine. (Another Doritos consumer-generated spot with two quirky and fun-loving people at a supermarket checkout stand was much funnier, but didn’t use any music so it won’t get mentioned here. Much.)
“Mouse” was very funny. The tone of the disco-ish music helped a lot. And hey, this presentation might even help sell people on Blockbuster as an online service.
“Bad Beard Comb-over” was funny and disgusting, but the Euro-happy music was okay by me. In fact, it removed a bit of the creepiness of the visuals. And what does any of this have to do with a soft drink?
“Moon Office” was a botched attempt to extend their “Bambi Meets Godzilla” rip-off of last year. Nice big production but all for nothing. And that music! Remember the lousy tunes the NFL used thirty years ago? Here they are again.
“Hey, we have no concept for our commercial, so let’s attempt to show viewers that one of our vehicles will fit every single lifestyle choice in the entire country. And how better to accomplish that than by taking a whole bunch of familiar songs in all sorts of genres and writing really silly lyrics to them? Wait, it gets even better. We’ll have them sung badly, as if the guest stars in the commercial are singing them!” Sure, because nothing says “Buy a Chevy” like bad singing of stupid lyrics.
Ah, yes, the GoDaddy girl dancing at a party while people are spraying champagne all around. Cool. What? Oh, right, the music. Um, it was good. Very good. I think. Let me just use the TiVo to view the spot again. And again. And again. What? Oh, right, right. It’s a rock riff that’s fine. Now quit bugging me about the music.
“Dog Has His Day” is great entertainment. The story of a dog alone in the city was wistful, sad, and then ultimately uplifting as the mud-spattered pooch is mistaken for a Dalmatian and takes a seat of honor on a fire truck. Good fun. Music was outstanding, moving from a mournful piano and strings theme to Dean Martin’s smile-inducing “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head.” Does it make me want to buy Budweiser? Nope. In fact, if my notes didn’t mention the client, I would never have connected this nice little film with the product.
“Mapasaurus” pays homage to cheap Japanese monster robot movies. So the semi-serious East-meets-West rock music was right on. Um, what were they selling? Anti-monster robot detectors, perhaps. Marketing firms are really interesting sometimes.
NFL & United Way
The one with the guy dressed in the heart outfit. “You Gotta Have Heart” may have been an obvious choice, but it worked really well and sounded fine. This ad is fascinating since it’s more of an info-advertorial about the dangers of high blood pressure than a straightforward ad. By teaming with the American Heart Association and leading viewers to www.beatyourrisk.com, the marketing team (at King, the AHA, and Publicis Groupe’s Glow Worm) have created something entertaining and informative while subtly leading to sales of King’s Altace.
“Robot” utilized an old rock power ballad to great effect in this odd spot about an auto assembly-line robot fearing a job loss. Somehow, viewers are supposed to think GM makes decent cars because of this.
“Timeline: Especially Today” used a cool old piano blues to great effect in this tribute to black history. (What does this have to do with Coca-Cola, you ask. Dunno, but the music was great.)
“Connectile Dysfunction” is hysterically funny. The sax, piano and strings music helped with just the right, uh, touch.
An elderly person sips a Coke and then exits his rest home to experience Life. Sure, whatever. You can’t beat Deodato’s jazzy version of Richard Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (sometimes called “Theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey”).
There were some nice images in their ad for the new HD DVD player and they were beautifully complimented by a spectacular dramatic score using orchestra and impassioned choir. Great stuff!
Mr. Hanky Award
Salesgenie is the obvious “winner” here, but a dishonorable mention must go to that horrible Chevy medley.
He rocks! What an amazing guitar player. And this has to be one of the quirkiest set lists ever, with songs by John Fogerty, Bob Dylan, Foo Fighters, and Prince Rogers Nelson himself. Killer.
End of Part One
Yeah, we’re only to halftime.
Photo illustration by Phil Hatten Design.
[tags]G-Man, Gman, gman marketing, Scott G, Music Critics Must Die, advertising, marketing, ad rants, Super Bow, music industry newswire[/tags]