We all know how much Super Bowl advertising costs. It’s annually the highest priced commercial time, commanding millions of dollars for 30 second spots. Not only do large audiences watch the Super Bowl, but companies know that they’re not just getting the standard football viewers they would normally get for ad time during a football game, they’re getting everyone at a Super Bowl party. Usually the airtime is filled with humorous beer commercials and commercials for websites.
In the changing music industry we so often like to talk about, the methods of promotion and sales have grown wildly beyond what we ever might have expected. Long relegated to the internet and radio, I was very surprised to see numerous music related ads during the game, and in multiple cases from a completely unexpected company. In Super Bowls past, it wouldn’t be uncommon to see a chip commercial. But what about a chip commercial that is actually trying to sell music? Doritos, apparently making a run at getting into the music industry and entertainment industry by “taking snacking to a whole new level (anyone else find this slightly ridiculous?) had two ads that I saw, sneakily co-funded I’m sure by Apple. I have to comment on this one more time because of just how funny it sounds to me…Doritos wants to “Take snacking to a higher level with entertainment, gadgets, and promotions designed to enhance your DORITOS(R)-eating experience.” I wasn’t aware that my snacking needed any higher level other than snacking. Of course, Doritos is entitled to whatever kind of mix and match they want.
When the first one came on, I was a bit confused. It was a bio of a young female singer followed by almost a full minute of her singing one of her songs. Literally, it was a truncated music video. At the end, expecting to see a blurb about a sponsored music store where you can buy it (i.e. Sam Goody or one of those other record stores that usually has hokey TV ads that you ignore, although those commercials have been dwindling in recent years), instead the Apple logo comes on at the top of the screen and there’s a small blurb about finding the song on iTunes. Then there’s a Dorito logo and a Dorito based website about music. I sat there stunned for about 5 minutes trying to put together what I had just seen…a mini music video for a relatively unknown artist sponsored by a chip company turned record label and oozing Apple’s iTunes message. In the middle of the Super Bowl.
Another interesting teaming of companies came from Pepsi and Amazon.com’s Justin Timberlake commercial. The soda and the store are coming together to give you free MP3 downloads if you drink more of the kool-aid. Interesting to see a soda company looking to entice drinkers with free music. Especially ironic when you look at consider that an iTunes song is .99 and a plastic bottle of Pepsi definitely tops a dollar and change. It’d make more sense if they gave you free Pepsi coupons for large song purchases!
When a chip/snack company and a computer company are combining to sell a fan-voted-on artist by buying what had to be around 4 million dollars in Super Bowl Ad time in order to push song sales, and soda companies are giving away music, you know the musical landscape is changing.