Bowie, VH Among Classic Rock Songs in Super Bowl 50 Ads

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It takes a flock of sheep to replicate Queen's vocals in Honda's Super Bowl 50 ad

It takes a flock of sheep to replicate Queen’s vocals in Honda’s Super Bowl 50 ad

Super Bowl 50 is fast approaching, and this year, music fans disappointed with the choice of Coldplay (and Beyonce) for the game’s halftime show can still get their fill of classic rock songs. Sort of. Music by David Bowie, Van Halen, Queen (2x), Jeff Lynne and Steven Tyler are among the classic rock songs in Super Bowl 50 ads.

According to Ad Age, 30-second spots went for $4.6 million to a little more than $5 million. The big game has always attracted advertisers from among auto makers, breweries and motion picture studios who are looking to make an impact that continues on Monday around the water coolers.

One for Audi shows a retired astronaut sitting in his den and thinking of the Space Age’s Golden Years. When his son tells him he wants to show him something, the camera shows a gleaming Audi R8 and then David Bowie’s “Starman” takes over.

Acura’s counting on the yelps and whoops of Van Halen’s rock’n’roll classic “Runnin’ With The Devil” to snag audience members’ attention. The luxury car maker’s 30-second spot has no dialogue, showcasing only the familiar voice of singer David Lee Roth set against images of Acura’s latest high-end NSX sports car, available this spring for somewhere in the realm of $156,000. Licensing a classic rock song by a band like Van Halen can also cost six figures just for one-time use during the Super Bowl. This is reportedly the first time the band has allowed “Runnin’ With The Devil” to be used for licensing purposes.

Acura reportedly considered many different songs before settling on Van Halen. “Ultimately we knew that we wanted this to be a rock song,” Leila Cesario, the national advertising manager for American Honda’s Acura division, explained to The New York Times. “The Super Bowl is a big American platform. It needed a big American band that screams excitement.”

And scream excitement it does. “Runnin’ With The Devil” was the second single from Van Halen’s 1978 eponymous debut album. It begins with the sounds of car horns, taken from the band’s own cars, and its lyrics are all about freedom and living in the present – pretty much the perfect choice for a car commercial. Despite all of the classic rock acts that have performed at the Super Bowl halftime show – Tom Petty, The Who, Bruce Springsteen and U2, among others – Van Halen has yet to make an appearance. It’s not their first appearance in a Super Bowl ad, though. Last year, Nationwide Insurance showcased the band’s cover of “Oh, Pretty Woman” in one of their spots.

Queen songs are being used in two different spots, both for auto manufacturers. One stars actor Kevin Hart for the Hyundai Genesis featuring “Another One Bites the Dust.” In “First Date,” the funnyman faces the same dilemma that all protective fathers face when their daughter goes out with a new boyfriend. “A dad’s gotta do what a dad’s gotta do.” Point, Hart.

Here’s Queen’s “Somebody To Love” used in a spot for the all-new Honda Ridgeline truck…

Skittles is using Aerosmith’s Tyler for its campaign…

And yet another Hyundai spot, using Jeff Lynne’s recent “When I Was a Boy”…

Best Classic Bands Staff
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