The Halftime Show

The Super Bowl was over a month ago, and it wasn’t a memorable one. Neither was the halftime show.  The halftime show is the best example of bad marketing I can think of. I haven’t talked to many people about Super Bowl halftime shows in recent years, nor had a conversation that stemmed from one that led me to check out new music.

First, understand that the NFL doesn’t pay the artists to perform anymore, so with that being said, the halftime shows is a marketing attempt with an expected ROI.

The most recent halftime shows all have a number of guest collaborators, and never seem to finish a song, only playing part of each.

The thought process is likely, “I have the attention of 100,000,000 people, let’s try to show them as much as possible, getting as much interest as possible. We’ll also have a little something for everybody.”

On the surface it’s good strategy, except, there isn’t enough of any of the elements to make me interested, or a bigger fan. The better strategy would be to take 3 or less great songs, and create a newer, more generous version of them that exudes the spirit of the band. Expand the story or feeling of the song to a level that isn’t possible in other venues. Now that may involve collaborators that bring a new dynamic, technology that wasn’t previously included at shows, venue specific elements, and other generous ideas.

Instead, the artists seem to flip through 5-6 songs in 12 minutes with tons of people coming on and off stage, with nothing sticking in mind of anyone watching.

Social marketing today is about remarkability, someone texting another person to say, “Can you believe this?!” Or a conversation started the next day at work. Or every show on YouTube commenting about the performance because it was amazing and noteworthy, not because they were paid to. Expanding 1 or 2 songs to 12 minutes with over the top theatrics, choreography, robotics, pyro, water effects, and generous creativity is the way to do it. No one cares about 30 seconds of a radio hit from 10 years ago.

Don’t remind people they like you, make them like you.