Bruno Mars & The NFL Marketing Machine

bruno mars super bowl

It’s old news (in internet time) by now that Bruno Mars is your Super Bowl halftime act.  Everyone has had a chance to scoff at it.  The old timers have already griped about how we need to go back to marching bands, the baby boomers have already complained we need Paul McCartney again, the millennials are ready to switch to the puppy bowl for another year.

I’ve only ever heard one Bruno Mars song in my life.  I don’t know the name of it.  His music is offensive in the sense that it tries to be so un-offensive to everyone.  But I can’t say anything about him that hasn’t been said about nearly every other artist in his vein.

What’s much more interesting, is why he was chosen.

The NFL puts a lot of effort into world domination these days.  As recently as the late 90’s, the Super Bowl halftime show was a senseless collection of big names.  They experimented with things like an Indiana Jones theme, or putting Phil Collins and Christina Aguilera on the same stage.  Nobody liked it, but it was a great time for the predominantly male audience to grab more beer and wings.

Recently, the league has really gone after the wife/girlfriend crowd.  They always had them at Super Bowl time for the ads, but they needed more of their attention.  So they started booking acts that appealed to middle-aged women.  U2, Shania Twain, Justin Timberlake, Paul McCartney, Prince, Tom Petty.  Minus nipple-gate, every woman age 35-54 loved those halftime shows.

Couple that with in-season interviews focusing on player personalities/hobbies, less stats and more comedy, swapping Hank Williams Jr for Faith Hill & Carrie Underwood; and now you’ve got those women buying jerseys and watching every week.

Next up?  The youngsters.  The league doesn’t want to wait until younger generations get into those middle years before roping them in.  So they’re taking the cigarette company approach, hook ‘em young.

Last two years they went hard after the 20-something crowd with Beyonce and the Black Eyed Peas.  This year, they’re going even younger with Bruno Mars.  I’ve seen plenty of gals in the former crowd playing fantasy football leagues and showing up to football parties, so they’re plan seems to have worked quite quickly.

With the latest plan, will we see teeny boppers trading their boyfriend’s letter jacket for a 49ers jersey?  The NFL sure hopes so.  Just remember, these giant concerts aren’t put together for your enjoyment.  They exist to sell billions of dollars worth of merchandise and advertisements.