Katy Perry’s Super Bowl Preview: Great for Unicorns, Not So Great for Everyone Else
The Super Bowl hype train starts here. Only a fortnight ago I was writing about the increasingly early Christmas advertising period and having a bit of a moan – and then this week Super Bowl, Pepsi and Katy Perry pull a stunt that makes the seven week festive advertising window look rather quaint and restrained by comparison. The teaser for Katy Perry’s Pepsi-sponsored half time show appeared on Monday, a full ten weeks ahead of the game itself. Thanksgiving is just getting underway, there are 28 days until Christmas and no one sensible has their New Year’s plans sorted out yet – who can face thinking about February already?
The teaser itself is packed with kittens and unicorns and robots and sharks – all things that I fully endorse. The more kittens and unicorns and robots and sharks the better. But after watching the spot on Monday afternoon, I wasn’t really experiencing the sort of inane and sparkly feeling I’d usually expect from a kittens and unicorns and robots and sharks combo. If I’m honest, I felt a bit stressed. Admittedly Super Bowl is a particularly hectic event for advertising journalists, especially those of us not based in the States and with next to zero interest in sports (although I’m making reasonable headway in the new Dragon Age game, if that counts). Anyway, the point is looking forward isn’t always something to look forward to.
If the growing popularity of mindfulness is anything to go by, people are craving a bit of the here-and-now. The endless onslaught of deadlines and dates that has always been a part of life is, thanks to technology, more prominent than ever. Do we need yet another date in the diary/Google calendar/smartwatch notification stream?
The Super Bowl is indubitably a big deal culturally and a massive part of the US advertising fabric so it’s understandable that all involved in the half time show want to shout about it, but, beneath the pom poms and bright lights and loud noises, hype is a weirdly delicate thing. Ramp expectations up too high and you risk disappointment. Start things too early and your anticipated show is speculated to death.
Another side effect of these stretched out build-ups is that the end event becomes, well, less of an event. Instead of a year broken into crisp, perfect season, each with their own flavour of joy, you get a monotonous soggy mess as each festival or event bleeds into the next. Excitement and surprise are supposed to be punchy emotion, spikes of energy; how can we expect anyone to maintain the constant high of anticipation all year round? It’s exhausting.
I’m actually a pretty enthusiastic person, despite the above grumbling. I’ve even been known to go full ‘Leslie Knope’. Honest.
I’m all for the hype train. Sometimes I even wear the driver’s hat. But these long-distance commutes are flipping killing me.