Half a Century Young and Still Relevant? Just Ask “Cleopatra” How She Does It

Madonna performing during the Bridgestone Super Bowl Half Time Show (Beatcrave.com)

Reinventing one’s brand to appeal to the ever-changing whims of consumers in the 21st century marketplace is tricky.

One key to success is to preserve what initially appealed to your stakeholders, while adapting other elements to be relevant, current and marketable based on today’s trends.

Want a blueprint for success? Enter stage right, Cleopatra-style, of course: The one and only Madonna.

Reviews of the Material Girl’s performance at this year’s Bridgestone Super Bowl Halftime Show are all over the map.  Say what you will about the performance, but the pop icon who first hit it big in the early ‘80s (yes, that would be 30 years ago) was selected to provide the entertainment for the most-watched television program in U.S. TV history. For those of you counting at home, that’s 111.3 million Super Bowl viewers, per Nielsen.

Cynics argue that she may have been selected for ulterior motives, such as to help the NFL garner a larger share of women viewers. But the fact remains the powers-that-be at NBC and the NFL made the iconic pop diva the first non-male Super Bowl halftime star since Janet Jackson and her infamous wardrobe malfunction in 2004.

How does Madonna stay noteworthy almost three decades after her illustrious career began?

Her Super Bowl performance may offer some clues. How about her grand entrance a la Cleopatra, which just happens to be the most expensive film made in cinema history (adjusted for inflation)? In this “role,” Madonna evoked the glamour and style of Cleopatra star Elizabeth Taylor, harkening back to her own days as the Queen of Pop.

To appeal to those who weren’t around to see Taylor star in the 1963 Academy Award winning film, or even when Madonna was in her heyday in the ‘80s and ‘90s for that matter, she pulled in current pop stars Cee Lo Green , Nicki Minaj and LMFAO to offer some sizzle for the younger generation.

Apparently, someone liked it. The performance was the most-watched halftime show of all time, and it elicited 10,245 tweets per second – the third most in Twitter history.

Not a bad gig for someone with a new album that drops later this year, the release of her first fragrance, and an upcoming world tour.

Luckily for her – or perhaps it wasn’t luck at all – she was able to utilize the most effective 12-minute branding opportunity on the planet to expose 111 million+ consumers to her brand. It’s no wonder Madonna’s Lucky Star continues to shine bright all these years later.

Ads Revealed Early for Sunday’s Big Game

YouTube Ad Blitz partnered with NBC Sports

So what makes the commercials so special?

Most people would probably say the surprise factor. In fact, a great deal of people watch the big game just to catch the commercials. People don’t want to feel left out the next day at work when their co-workers ask them, “Did you see that Darth Vader kid? It was so funny!”

But this year, some advertisers are taking a different approach. Companies like Volkswagen (+2 million YouTube hits), Honda (+10.1 million YouTube hits), Coca-Cola (+22,000 YouTube hits), and even Downy (+162,000 YouTube hits) have released their spots online before they air during the game. Other companies, such as Bridgestone (+1.5 million YouTube hits), revealed their commercial teaser virally.


Well, with ad rates this year at $3.5 million per 30-second spot, on top of the production costs with lavish effects or high-priced celebrity endorsers, advertisers are looking to get the most mileage out of their ads as possible.

Competing for the attention of an expected audience of more than 100 million people, advertisers are hoping the pre-game release will get the conversation going. One person may view the Honda spot online, love it, and then make sure everyone sees it at their party on Sunday. Although the ads may lose a little bit of that game-day surprise, advertisers could generate more viewers and buzz with an early release.

If you would like to check out the ads already released for this year’s big game or relive some classics from years past, visit Superbowl-ads.com. Also, if you miss any ads during the game, visit YouTube’s Ad Blitz page to view, share and vote for your favorite ads.