Super Bowl LV weekend has passed.
This one was definitely different. I wasn’t chancing it at a Super Spreader Sunday event. We are nearing the end of this thing and it would be a shame to get Covid now. I’m imagining a magical Summer and “the new normal” soon thereafter.
Watching from the comfort of my own home had its benefits. I was more involved in the game’s intricacies than in year’s past. As always, many cultural touchpoints throughout the day revolved around music: from Miley Cyrus’s TikTok Tailgate; to the Shaq Bowl, which was hilariously packed with celebrities, artists, brand sponsors, and viral moments; to, of course, the commercials (more on that below).
As for the official programming, I loved Alicia Keys’ surprise cameo with a theme around racial injustice. H.E.R.’s rendition of “America The Beautiful” was phenomenal and it was great to see a collaborative National Anthem between Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan, the first since Aretha Franklin and Aaron Neville’s Super Bowl XV performance.
The Weeknd did a solid job for the Pepsi Halftime show. He promised a PG performance with no guest and it was just that. The show was packed with hits and even had its “memeable” moment (which is important). It’s crazy to think that The Weeknd came $7 million out of pocket to get the production where he wanted (the other $13 million was covered). The results came with it: The Weeknd dominated the charts Monday, holding eight of the top 10 slots when I woke up. The Recording Academy is no doubt having second thoughts about its Grammy noms.
It was also great to see growth in terms of the NFL’s handling of racial injustice. Everything was solid with no duds. I credit our evolving times, the NBA’s success, and the hiring of Jay-Z/Roc Nation to lead on curation. It’s working. Now we need more power in the players’ hands.
Besides Tom Brady re-cementing his GOAT status and sticking it to the Patriots, the best part of the game was the commercials.
Music was again a central theme. There were fun uses of music in nostalgic and reimagined settings, like Cheeto’s “It Wasn’t Me” and Michelob Ultra’s Tribe Called Quest license of “Can I Kick It.” There were also some cool product and artist alignments, like Lil Baby x Rockstar Energy Drink and Stella Artois with Lenny Kravitz. I loved how, after many years and attempts, Jeep finally landed Bruce Springsteen in a theme around the “ReUnited States of America.” And the Lil Nas X LogicTech ad was a cool music+tech moment. I love how he continues to embrace tech with his partnership choices. Who could forget Oatly’s catchy, oddball win featuring the CEO singing? They even dropped a remix album this morning with more interpretations of their now infamous, once banned jingle “Oh Wow…No Cow.”
The Twitterati is going predictably ham. I could give you a full play-by-play from a music perspective, but instead, I’ve collected a very savvy crew of music and culture marketing aficionados to talk about all of these music moments and more, tonight on Clubhouse. You are welcome to join (see here for more info). Let me know if you need an invite to the app. I’ve got a few to spare for the Beats & Bytes community. Hope to see you there from 7-8:30pm!
Also published on Medium.