Super Bowl: Everything but the football

Caroline Hendrix, Opinions Editor

When you don’t follow football, the Super Bowl consists mainly of two events: the halftime show and the ads. This article will outline the quality and level of enjoyment for both of these factors. 

Number one: the halftime performance

Rihanna. Need I say more?

The show started with Rihanna on a platform hanging at the top center of the stadium, with dancers on adjacent platforms and on the ground. She slowly moved down to the ground where she continued until the end, when she disappeared into the sky as fireworks erupted behind her. 

Rihanna has appeared to step away from music for the past seven years, while her focus seems to have shifted to family life in addition to her successful makeup and lingerie businesses, Fenty and Savage X Fenty. But fans have been waiting for her return to music, and even just a 15 minute halftime spot is enough to keep us talking for the next seven years. She sang some of her best songs across all her albums, from “Rude Boy” to “Work” to “All of the Lights”.

My only complaint about Rihanna’s performance was that it ended too soon. 

Number two: the commercials

No one was left unfazed by the Tubi’s Super Bowl ad last Sunday. I experienced the stir that this ad had caused for myself. As my friends and I sat in front of the television, thinking we were hearing commentary on the game, the screen suddenly looked like someone was changing the channel. I didn’t react at first, thinking that maybe someone had sat on the remote by accident, but as the screen appeared to actually switch channels, everyone frantically rose out of their seats, screaming and accusing each other of hijacking the remote.

So close to the end of the game, even the people who were there for the food and Rihanna were invested in seeing it through to the end. Myself included. As realization kicked in that Tubi had pranked us all, tensions lightened and apologies were made by any accusers. 

Other than the Tubi commercial, the advertising was not as strong as previous years. From Budweiser’s 2013 “Brotherhood” ad to the Michael Bublé 2019 collaboration with Bubly to FTX’s “Don’t Miss Out” commercial, the Super Bowl gives us more than a sporting event. It provides brands a space to connect with consumers, to give them something to latch onto that is more than their product, but also a piece of their identity, what they might stand for. They tell a story that they hope will resonate with viewers, or will become a part of their vernacular in the years to come, inadvertently selling the brand to friends and family long after the Super Bowl ends. 

While this year’s ads highlighted some iconic celebrities, including Jennifer Coolidge, Elton John and Bradley Cooper, there was not much to latch onto as a viewer and consumer of many of the brands taking up these ads. Part of what was missing was the comedic aspect of the ads. The incorporation of beloved artists and actors was great, but taglines and strong plots are what really keep viewers talking about ads. 

The Super Bowl is overall a balance between what we want and what we need. What we need, being Rihanna, and what we want, being iconic commercials to recite for the rest of the year.  

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