Super Bowl LIII: A look at the Top 5 music syncs

Super Bowl LIII: A look at the Top 5 music syncs

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest TV events of the year, attracting more than 100 million viewers in the US alone.

This Sunday's NFL showdown sees New England Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. But the big game is often upstaged by the legendary Halftime Show, which this year stars Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi. 

And that's without mentioning the sync deal frenzy that surrounds the commercial breaks. Super Bowl viewership was down 7% to a mere 103.4m in 2018, according to Nielsen data, but the a 30-second slot will still set you back a cool $5.25 million (£4m).

Here Music Week looks through five of the musical highlights to come… 

Amazon Alexa (Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now)
LABEL: Virgin EMI/Universal
PUBLISHER: Sony/ATV
AD AGENCY: Lucky Generals

Don’t Stop Me Now has become a sync perennial for the mighty Queen – who could forget the pub zombie attack scene in Shaun Of The Dead? – and it comes back from the dead yet again in Amazon’s lolzy Super Bowl 2019 slot. After last year’s Cardi B-enhanced spot, this year’s ad features failed Alexa products: Harrison Ford arguing with his dog over its use of an Alexa-enabled dog collar to order endless supplies of food; and Forest Whitaker being baffled by a smart speaker toothbrush. Don't Stop Me Now kicks in as NASA’s Alexa-powered space station turns off the lights across Planet Earth. The central message seems to be: you don’t want Alexa everywhere. Unlike Queen.

Doritos (Chance The Rapper x Backstreet Boys – I Want It That Way)
LABEL: RCA
PUBLISHER: Kobalt Music Publishing, UMPI
AD AGENCY: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners 

No.1 almost 20 years ago, the Backstreet Boys classic – courtesy of hitmaker Max Martin – has now been co-opted by Doritos to mark the “flamin’ hot remix” of their original Nacho Cheese flavour. As well as shaking up Super Bowl viewers’ savoury snacks, Dorito’s has recruited Chance The Rapper to give the boy band’s signature tune a spicy makeover.

"Fans have come to expect boldness and originality in our Super Bowl ads and, with a highly anticipated product like Flamin' Hot Nacho, we knew we had to keep pushing the limits of Super Bowl advertising with a dynamic collaboration," said Leslie Vesper, senior director of marketing, Frito-Lay North America. 

With a comeback album (DNA) to promote, the Super Bowl slot is a timely sync for the Backstreet Boys, and the original song should get a streaming boost (its OCC sales currently stand at 894,866). The only problem is that Chance The Rapper completely blows them away with a showboating performance featuring a pink racing car, daft rhymes (“Hotter than a pot roast/ Fingers on my hot chips/Red handed, come on man/I'mma need some chopsticks”) and even some cheesy choreography with the boys themselves.

If it works for Dorito’s, expect more of these awkward cross-genre collaborations.

Expensify (2 Chainz x Adam Scott – Expensify This)
LABEL: Def Jam
PUBLISHER: Reservoir Media Management, Inc
AD AGENCY: JohnXHannes NY/Biscuit Filmworks

If any industry can rival the rivers of cash associated with the Super Bowl it’s the music business, right? Where else might you find a convertible car made of ice with a stack of seafood balanced on the bonnet? This spoof music video features an original recording from Def Jam rapper 2 Chainz, and Parks And Recreation star Adam Scott appearing as a disgruntled label exec asking for paper receipts for every part of the lavish spread. The joke, of course, is that 2 Chainz has expenses app Expensify, and his concerns about dog-eared bar bills are a thing of the past. Viewers can also ‘expense’ the ad snapping the receipts that appear in the film. Cash bonuses are on offer, people.

Pepsi (Cardi B – I Like It)
LABEL: Atlantic/KSR
PUBLISHER: Atlantic
AD AGENCY: Goodby Silverstein and Partners

One of 2018’s biggest – and most inescapable hits – soundtracks Pepsi’s hilarious new Super Bowl spot. Its premise is centred on putting a positive emphasis on the age old ‘Is Pepsi OK?’ question, courtesy not only of comedic help from Steve Carrell and Lil ‘YEEEEEEEEAH!’ Jon, but also Cardi B’s I Like It. The song – delivered by Cardi B bursting into a diner and picking up a diamond-encrusted Pepsi can – becomes the ultimate affirmation of Pepsi as first choice, not consolation. This isn’t Cardi’s first foray into Super Bowl ad territory either, with her appearance in Amazon’s ‘Alexa losing her voice’ ad featuring her breakthrough hit Bodak Yellow. Is she officially now the Queen Of Superbowl Ads? It’s looking that way…

Budweiser (Bob Dylan – Blowing In The Wind)
LABEL: Columbia
PUBLISHER: Sony/ATV
AD AGENCY: David The Agency

The King Of Beers' digs out a classic tune for its Super Bowl slot, which demonstrates its commitment to wind power. The earnest ad features the Budweiser Clydesdales horses alongside wind turbines, set to the strains of Bob Dylan's Blowin' In The Wind. "Those who wait for the best commercials all year expect Budweiser to show up big, and we felt there was no better way to show up this year than to talk about our commitment to Renewable Electricity," said Ricardo Marques, VP of marketing core & value brands at Anheuser-Busch. "We are proud to be the first Anheuser-Busch brand and the first major beer brand to be brewed with 100% renewable electricity from wind power and hopefully we can use this moment to inspire others in our pursuit for a more sustainable future. The company has pledged to donate clean electricity to Atlanta to power the city in Super Bowl week. Dylan, incidentally, previously starred in a 2014 Super Bowl ad for Fiat Chrysler, backed by his 2000 single Things Have Changed.

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