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Super Bowl 2018: Musical Winners & Losers

Super Bowl 2018: Musical Winners & Losers

MassiveMusic's creative directors pick apart the music from this year's Super Bowl spots; chartering which tracks elevated the work and which ads were left confused by their sound design selection.

The Super Bowl is a hotbed of sporting excellence and big-budget advertising, but sometimes we’re too quick to forget the slick use of music throughout the event. Just as we were captivated by The Eagles’ underdog heroics, we had our eyes and ears closely glued to the ways in which brands and agencies manipulated both massive hits and lesser-known masterpieces to develop their ads. We’ve been closely involved in Super Bowl projects in the past and know how music can turn a good ad into a great one, so we decided to review some of Sunday’s most notable uses of sync. 

The consensus seems to be that It's a Tide Ad (above) was one of the main winners as an overall ad but we were particularly impressed with its subtle use of sound. The music fitted the supporting role perfectly and added to the spot without distracting from the visuals. At no point was the viewer drawn directly to the music, but without it, we wouldn't have entered each of the worlds presented in each vignette as quickly or seamlessly. Its sly deployment across the ad’s genre hopping helped make the comedy as effective as possible. 

 On the other end of the spectrum, the Doritos/Mountain Dew spot (above) was also well and truly facilitated by the music. We loved seeing Peter Dinklage lip sync to Busta Rhymes and it was a smart choice of verse from the rapper’s repertoire. In this case, the music itself was the concept of the spot and it was integrated into the film impeccably. This was simply one of the most memorable and re-watchable pieces of the day! 

Budweiser (above) also had a great concept and the production on the spot was top notch. I love that Budweiser has been running their charity without significantly promoting it for years now. Even though the song choice was obvious, a Skylar Grey cover of Stand By Me, the way it ties together with a musical influencer and solid production simply just works! 

It's really hard to name the musical losers of Super Bowl advertising when we know first-hand that everyone put their all into these projects. However, we were left quite confused by T-Mobile's choice of having a lullaby version of All Apologies by Nirvana in there. It may have left the viewer humming the melody, but we’re not sure why that song had to be used or how it elevated the spot at all. 

We were also aware that the N.B.C. Olympics spots were amazingly well-done and had the power to be truly epic but went with rather standard choices in terms of their licensed pieces. We know that the Olympics are all about tradition but original scores or a fresh new batch of tracks could really have taken these films to the next level.   

Finally, we felt an honourable mention must also go to the Ram Trucks Vikings commercial. We were really impressed with how they pulled that pacier alternate version of Queen's We Will Rock You out of obscurity. We’re sure it sent many a viewer rushing to the internet to try and find out if it was a remix or a modernization of the classic – truly a sign of great sync work.

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  • Music MassiveMusic
  • Creative Director Tim Adams
  • Senior Creative Director Elijah Torn

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