If music be the food of love, you’ll need to check out Miss Panti’s cupcakes,
SOME 111 MILLION TV viewers watched last Sunday night’s Super Bowl, but 114 million TV viewers watched Madonna’s half-time performance. In a way, those figures are ridiculous – the cheerleading/ marching band component of a major sporting event shouldn’t eclipse the event itself.
The figure was all the more surprising as most people believed Madonna to be a bad fit for the prestigious half-time slot because her fan base has no real overlap with a football-watching audience. However, to put her viewing figures in perspective, Bruce Springsteen only managed to get 95 million viewers for his Super Bowl appearance a few years ago.
Half-time in other big sporting events usually offer an opportunity to get away from the TV. Yet here we have a woman – just off the back of a wretched film and desperately trying to drum up publicity for an upcoming album – who succeeded in growing the viewing figures.
What happened last Sunday night (and we haven’t even discussed the many music-related ads shown during the many commercial breaks) has got the industry poring over the ramifications and consequences. The end result will be that music will now find it easier to get synched with whatever big TV event is happening.
In the normal course of events, the 53-year-old Madonna would be entering her Norma Desmond years. Lady Gaga has swiped her best moves, imagery and musical patterns and fashioned them into a Madonna 2.0 for herself. But the original of the species isn’t going quietly, and it was no wonder she described her big Super Bowl moment (prior to the event) as the biggest gig of her career.
Madge is the first woman to play the Super Bowl since Janet Jackson in 2004 – the “wardrobe malfunction” year, which led to broadcasters inserting a five-second delay into the half-time entertainment.
Madonna is too savvy to go for something so gauche and desperately headline-chasing as exposing herself or hitting the expletives. Instead, into the frame (handily enough) jumped her guest, M.I.A, who got all the “shock and outrage” coverage for raising her middle finger to a camera.
Both artists have benefited hugely from the football game. Madonna saved herself a few months on the promo circuit for her new MDNA album, due in midMarch. The title alone has been doing a fair bit of media work on her behalf over the past few weeks, with various concerned groupings expressing displeasure at the cheeky reference to MDMA (aka ecstasy). Pre-orders for MDNA have gone through the roof since Sunday night, and Madonna’s back-catalogue (on which she leant heavily during her turn) is selling swiftly.
The new official most-watched US TV programme ever also substantially bolstered the profile and sales of the many musical acts who had their work featured during the advertisements. Elton John, Mötley Crüe, The Darkness, Echo and the Bunnymen and The Cult all either appeared in ads or had their music featured. With those viewing figures, everyone is a winner.
Now the marketers/bean counters/promo teams are going through the figures to see what worked where and what lessons tomorrow’s music promotional budgets can learn from it all.
Madonna is Queen of the Super Bowl, and she got all the heavy lifting for the new album out of the way – and in quite spectacular style. It was supposed to be a football match; instead it was the most watched album promo slot of all time.
Material magic: Madge rocked the ’Bowl – and the viewing figures