Some people watch it for the half-time show, some actually care about the score and others are only interested in the monstrous spread of snacks, but everyone remembers their favorite Super Bowl commercials come Monday. I can already tell the “Debbie Downer” / heartstring-tugging trend of last year has been flipped into a stereotype-defying / “You do you!” positive storyline.
Whether or not you know who played and won the game in 1995, most people can still recall the “Bud-Wei-Ser” frogs’ first croaks. In 2011, hearts were captured and nostalgia was ignited by Volkswagen’s tiny Darth Vader backed by the iconic Star Wars score in “The Force.” Super Bowl 50 promises to continue this tradition of heavy-hitting ads with staying power.
What do previous champion commercials and favorites already leaked in anticipation of this Sunday’s game all have in common? The power of sound amplifies or performs the unexpected with our emotions. Hear for yourself.
At Man Made Music, we know the right song at the right moment can make an ad you might put on mute into one that makes you lean in for more. Audiences attach their own history to popular songs and it can be fun to play with that attachment in interesting ways. Music Supervision is another form of storytelling and the selections below are elevated by their song choices—and unique uses thereof.
Best Use of Existing Song (no lyrics)
“Diamond Hoo Ha Man” by Supergrass in AXE brand’s “Find Your Magic”
The now-split British rockers provide the thumping soundtrack full of guitar licks, drum beats and bass grooves to amplify the “do your own thing” rallying cry of this anthem. This type of progressive, body-positive message is rarely aimed at men, but with the help of a driving, celebratory track even women can’t help but feel confident to do their own thing too.
Most Unexpected Use of Existing Song
“Runnin’ With the Devil” by Van Halen in 2017 Acura NSX “What He Said”
“Oh!…Yea-Yeah!” Why add copy when the music supervision speaks for itself? This clever spot for the 2017 Acura NSX oozes cool by letting David Lee Roth of Van Halen do all the talking, er… singing… I mean… screeching? As the car drives out of frame, perfectly-placed sound design dials up the car’s revving engine and squealing tires, leaving you begging for more—or at least a ride.
Best Reimagining of an Existing Song
“Kiss From A Rose” by Seal in the NFL’s “Super Bowl Babies Choir”
You may think you’ve heard this song before, but listen closely. The reimagined lyrics are a playful and uplifting ode to intimate celebrations that happen in winning cities around every Super Bowl victory. The surprise cameo by Seal himself adds humor and delight, making this ad the perfect one to share with fellow fans and Super Bowl babies. Missed opportunity? Subtitles so those at home can sing along, too!
Things aren’t always what they seem. By playing with sound, amplifying what’s there or even what’s not, a visceral and compelling reaction results. Our test for adding sound to any experience is to ask, “If it were removed, would you miss it?” In these key spots the answer is yes!
Best Use of Sound Creating Surprise
Snickers – “Happy Birthday”
You’ve never seen—or heard—Marilyn Monroe like this. The set-up plays on our pop culture understanding of that historical moment, most notably the sexy and soothing way the blonde icon sounds as she gives her best wishes, and then turns it on its head. Remember, “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” Get this girl a candy bar!
Best Use of Sound Creating Atmosphere
Persil ProClean — “The Professional”
The teaser is only ten seconds, but the purposeful use of foley sound design packs a big punch. From footsteps down a concrete hallway to the booming of lights illuminating shelves of product, the viewer is immediately transported underground into the depths of a hidden bunker—right next to “The Professional.”
Whether you are rooting for the Panthers or hoping Peyton Manning and the Broncos get the ‘W’ this year, everyone wins when the commercial breaks keep us guessing with clever, entertaining and exciting content. Now that you’ve heard our favorite contenders for top Super Bowl 50 ads, what are yours?
This article was originally published on brandchannel on February 5, 2016.
Kristen Lueck is Senior Strategist, Culture and Innovation at Man Made Music. Talk to her on Twitter @former_case and let her know which Super Bowl spot had your favorite use of music.