The Pepsi Half Time Show won’t be the only place to hear Bruno Mars’ music during next weekend’s Super Bowl. Hyundai will feature “Count On Me,” an album cut from Mars’ 2010 debut "Doo-Wops and Hooligans," as the featured music in a spot entitled “Dad’s Sixth Sense” that will debut in the game’s fourth quarter and feature the 2016 Hyundai Genesis.
The synch license was booked by Hyundai’s longtime music agency GreenLight (a division of Red Light Management), and was chosen for reasons separate and coincidental from Mars’ previously announced Half Time gig. “The most critical thing for us is we need lyrics that really help us tell our story,” says Hyundai’s VP-marketing Steve Shannon, “and as we listened to ‘Count On Me’ and the key lyric, ‘1, 2, 3 and I’ll be there…’ it clearly summed up what we’re trying to say. Even though it’s one of his lesser-known songs, it’s our way of sharing it to a broader audience.”
Mars himself was not involved in the creative of the commercial nor will he appear in it. Instead, the 30-second commercial will tell the story of a father with a particularly intuitive knack for protecting his son in key moments – whether it’s at a birthday party or a key moment in the Hyundai Genesis. “Bruno had such a sweet voice on this song, and the way it’s presented is so genuine and heartfelt without being treacly or sappy,” Shannon says. “The magic of his voice really nailed that lyric.”
The Super Bowl is one of the most lucrative times of year for publishers and record labels with master recordings, as more advertisers turn to songs both well-known and emerging to enhance their creative. Prices for synch licenses can vary wildly from the low five figures to the mid-six range, depending on the length of the campaign, the popularity of the artist and the relative exclusivity of a synch license. Only the choosier artists, like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and several key rock estates are among the few who can still command upwards of $1 million for the use of an original master.
Hyundai is gearing up for a busy 2014, including its annual sponsorship of the Grammy Museum and its downtown activities, which returns this weekend. Shannon is currently looking for musical opportunities to amplify its upcoming campaign around the 2014 FIFA World Cup, where it’s one of six global sponsors. “The World Cup is around the same time as when our new Sonata launches mid-summer, and we’re always looking for ways music can help us tell that story.”