Apple Music advertises its Super Bowl halftime show starring Usher

Apple Music advertises its Super Bowl halftime show starring Usher

LAS VEGAS – In a short film shown at the end of the Super Bowl halftime press conference, the show’s headliner, Usher, is absent. The singer’s sudden absence causes immediate panic from his friends including Ludacris, Lil Jon and Taraji P. Henson, prompting a search in various parts of Las Vegas.

After all, Usher is found splashing water while dancing in a Caesars Palace fountain in the seven-minute “Where’s Usher!?” It is one of many creative projects from Apple Music

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which has made a concerted effort to build anticipation around Sunday’s first half show.

Ever since Apple Music became a sponsor of the halftime show, the streaming service is trying to make an impactful mark like never before.

“We’re trying to expand the campaign to more than one show on Sunday afternoon,” said Oliver Schusser, vice president of Apple Music and Beats. The streaming service became a sponsor of the show in 2022, replacing Pepsi

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which held the post for a decade.

Schusser said Apple Music stepped in as a company that understands the music landscape. He called their partnership a “very powerful one” with the NFL and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, which has produced the halftime show since 2019.

“We want to make the halftime press conference the artist’s moment,” Schusser said. “We really wanted to elevate it and make it great. We did this last year. This year, we made it even bigger.”

So far, Apple Music is off to a promising start. Last year, the streaming service built a campaign for Rihanna — keeping the pregnancy under wraps — leading up to her performance, which became the most-watched Super Bowl halftime show in history with more than 121 million viewers. .

As Usher prepares to headline this year’s festivities, Apple Music created a strategic plan before taking the Super Bowl stage. The streaming service has been working with the singer and his team since meeting him during Paris Fashion Week last year.

“It’s been a journey with him and his management ever since,” Schusser said. “We want to make this a bigger and global event. Between Apple Music, Apple Music Radio, talent that has a deep understanding of music and culture, and obviously the Apple ecosystem, I think we can amplify that.”

Until Sunday, it’s all about Usher. Through the streaming service’s app, listeners can watch the singer’s halftime show trailer and his curated “My Road to Halftime” playlist of his hits and collaborations. Usher and producer Jermaine Dupri also created a spacey audio mix of tracks with jams from DJs Tiësto, Gryffin and BLOND:ISH.

There’s also The Story of Usher in 20 Songs, an editorial feature that takes an in-depth look at his 30-year career as a performer; a four-night takeover from Usher via Apple Music live shows hosted by Lil Wayne and Estelle, along with exclusive programming on Apple Music Radio that will chronicle the singer’s evolution; workout music from top halftime performers via Fitness+; and ways to revisit Usher’s past projects ahead of the release of his ninth studio album Coming Home, which drops Friday.

Apple Music Radio’s Nadeska Alexis had a live interview with Usher in Las Vegas on Thursday where the short film was shown.

“From a marketing standpoint, we approach it as a product launch,” said Tor Myhren, vice president of marketing communications at Apple. “You have all the unique things about it, then you bring them to life. With Usher, the approach is that Usher is fun. Usher is a party. He wants to have a good time. It’s really about capturing the essence of that artist, bringing it together with the essence of Apple Music.”

Myhren said there will still be a focus on Usher’s performance after the Super Bowl. He said it is imperative to capitalize on the singer’s spectacle before turning the company’s attention to next year’s performer.

“We still want people to enjoy the glory of the show,” he said. “Once an artist plays in the first half, the airplay of their music for the next week or two goes through the roof. We want to be in the middle of it. We want to give our customers a much better experience.”

Myhren said the groundwork has been laid.

“It’s about the lead up to the show and how we can keep reinventing that step,” he said. “We want to continue to bring this very cool musical experience to a much more global audience.”

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