Super Bowl

Classic Madonna Song Backs Part of Pepsi's Super Bowl Ad

Spot Evokes Pop Music's Past, Present and Future

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Super Bowl 50 and its golden anniversary theme has apparently put some advertisers in a nostalgic mood. Ads released already include references to Marilyn Monroe and "The Jeffersons," while classic tracks from Van Halen and David Bowie provide the soundtracks for other spots.

Now you can add Pepsi to the list of marketers going retro. The cola brand, which is again sponsoring this year's halftime show, will lead into the show with an ad that begins with "Do You Love Me," by the Contours. Then comes a Madonna 1980s classic, "Express Yourself." Contemporary pop star Janelle Monáe walks through each time period in the spot before ending the ad with her remake of the old "Joy of Pepsi" jingle, which Pepsi recently resurrected.

The ad, which was released today, is meant to play off the theme of this year's halftime show, which the NFL told Pepsi would be a "past, present and future celebration of music," said Chad Stubbs, VP of marketing for the Pepsi trademark. So far, artists slated to perform in the show are Coldplay and Beyonce, according to published reports, and that list seems likely to grow. Billboard has speculated that Bruno Mars might show up.

Ms. Monáe, who has previously appeared in global Pepsi ads, recorded a 10-second introduction to the spot that will air right before the ad begins. She will appear in a portion of the Levi's Stadium known as the Pepsi Fan Deck. (She is not in the actual halftime show, Pepsi confirmed.) The 10 seconds became available to Pepsi because it is the period in which the TV feed is switched from CBS to the NFL, which oversees the halftime production, Pepsi executives said.

That 10 seconds carries a media value of $1.5 million to Pepsi, estimated Justin Toman, Pepsi's director of sports marketing. "On the Super Bowl broadcast every second really does count," he said. Ad Age's Datacenter estimates that one second of ad time in Super Bowl 50 is costing advertisers $160,000, compared to just $1,333 in 1967.

Pepsi is in the final year of a four-year halftime sponsorship contract. Asked if the brand will return as the sponsor next year, Mr. Toman said, "we would love to if the cards play out that way."

In previous years, Pepsi has produced 30-second lead-in ads that were localized to the Super Bowl site. Last year's spot, for instance, was called "Halftime Touches Down," and showed the stadium landing like a spaceship from the Arizona sky. This year's ad, which is by The Marketing Arm, was created to have more lasting value.

"Those other ads were truly made just for a one time airing the night of the Super Bowl," Mr. Stubbs said. But this year's spot can be used the rest of the year, he added.

The Contours song was chosen because it was popular during the period when the Super Bowl began 50 years ago, Mr. Stubbs said. Madonna's association with Pepsi includes a 1989 commercial that was pulled due to controversy over her "Like a Prayer" video. While "Express Yourself" was never in a Pepsi ad, "it was within that album and era that we had worked with Madonna before," Mr. Stubbs said.