Pepsi, Bud Light and other major Super Bowl XLVIII advertisers hope to strike a chord with consumers by playing up musical tie-ins.
This year's promotions will include some familiar marketing techniques such as companies sponsoring concerts and using catchy songs in Super Sunday ads. There will also be some unexpected notes, such as Pepsi hosting a mock halftime performance at the Jan. 26 Grammy Awards.
Pepsi, which will sponsor the Super Bowl halftime show, will run a two-and-a-half-minute ad featuring past NFL players Shannon Sharpe, Mike Ditka, Terry Bradshaw and Deion Sanders singing and dancing. Dancing With the Stars' pro Mark Ballas choreographed the routine.
SEE PEPSI'S TEASER AD: Promo for mock halftime show at Grammys
The spot will run midway through the Grammy telecast.
"For years and years, Super Bowl halftime has been about music on sports' biggest stage," says Seth Kaufman, vice president for marketing colas at Pepsi North America Beverages. "We thought, 'What if we flipped it around and Pepsi brought football to music's biggest night?'"
The Grammy performance is one of several stunts Pepsi has planned to hype the Super Bowl halftime show, which will star Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
On Jan. 4, the beverage company hosted a concert in Milligan, Neb. — which Pepsi says it picked because it is halfway between Los Angeles and New York — featuring country singer Lee Brice.
On Jan. 6, the company organized an event at which Broadway legend Carol Channing performed for unsuspecting bingo players at a senior gathering in Reseda, Calif. Channing sang at Super Bowl IV, and one of the players in that bingo game had been there.
This Sunday, Pepsi will run an ad during National Football League games promoting the Grammy video. That teaser ad shows Ditka with his tongue out Miley Cyrus-style. The ad says "What if the Grammys had a halftime show?"
Other Big Game marketers also plan to use music to connect with consumers.
Bud Light said this week that one of its Super Bowl ads "will feature the world debut of a new song from a well-known artist." The brand will host concerts with performers such as Foo Fighters and Fall Out Boy in New York City during Super Bowl week.
Car company Kia says music will play a big role in its Super Bowl ad. Digital service Beats Music confirmed that it will run an ad in the Super Bowl but wouldn't describe it.
Using music helps a brand increase the entertainment value of an ad and resonate with consumers interested in pop culture, says Josh Rabinowitz, director of music at advertising agency Grey Group. He teaches a course called "Music in the Media" at The New School in New York City.
The idea of a musician selling out by working with a brand has "virtually dissipated," Rabinowitz says.
"The stigma exists, but in a small way," he says. "It's often dependent on the marketer or the product, but virtually every artist trying to monetize their music looks to the media, and specifically ads, as a crucial component to their careers."