Advertisers shelled out new record dollar amounts for 30-second spots at this year's Super Bowl, but as more ads feature current hits and emerging singles as their soundtrack, the Super Bowl has also grown into a top hit-making destination for the music industry too.
Some artists are even becoming the stars of ads themselves. PSY was among the first celebs to be confirmed for a Super Bowl ad this year, set to become the new face of Wonderful Pistachios (to the tune of "Gangnam Style," no less). Even more interesting is the news that the Flaming Lips will be the stars of one of Hyundai's four Super Bowl spots, a 60-second commercial that will feature the band on-camera performing a brand-new, custom-written song called "Sun Blows Up Today," Billboard has learned. Writing a song for a Super Bowl spot is a rare move for a major act-let alone one with a legacy as unusual as the Flaming Lips. The commercial showcases Hyundai's Santa Fe, a crossover SUV, and was created by in-house ad agency Innocean.
Hyundai VP of marketing Steve Shannon says the Lips were on a "very short list" of bands the automaker wanted to feature in its Super Bowl spot, and quickly rose to the top after the act noted it was preparing for the release of its next album, The Terror (April 2, Warner Bros. Records). In a matter of weeks, not only did the group sign on for the ad and the original song, the track was eventually confirmed for inclusion as a bonus cut for its upcoming iTunes release. "The Flaming Lips are very much like Hyundai," Shannon says. "They're a little offbeat. They've been around a long time and they continue to reinvent themselves."
As part of the partnership, Hyundai will give away 100,000 free downloads of the Lips track at Hyundai.com, as well as sponsor a lyric video of the song and 30-second radio ads to drive tune-in to the spot and awareness of the Lips' upcoming album. "Hyundai really understands and appreciates what the Flaming Lips are all about," says Lori Feldman, Warner Bros. Records senior VP of brand partnerships.
And though advertisers are paying upwards of $3.7 million just to air their spot during the big game, major synchs can fetch anywhere from $100,000 to upwards of $1 million, depending on the artist, number of territories airing the ad, the length of the commercial "flight," or airtime, and whether the song has been synched previously.
Halftime star Beyonce will kick off her renewed $50 million relationship with Pepsi, but will not appear in Pepsi's lead-in spot to its halftime show.
After ads from the 2012 Super Bowl embraced active singles in a big way-most notably fun.'s "We Are Young" and Flo Rida's "Good Feeling"--Universal Music Publishing Group executive VP/head of film and TV music Brian Lambert expects similar activity from this year's game. "The whole goal of the advertiser is to get the attention of people, whether their eyes are glued to the TV or their back is turned, and having a great song really helps with that," he says.
Catalog tracks are expected to get a boost in new and unexpected ways, too. "We have several classic songs that are big songs but haven't been synched before in a commercial," says Brian Monaco, executive VP of commercial music at Sony/ATV.