Tony Vitti, Music Strategist, Advisor and Marketer

The ROI of the Superbowl’s Halftime and How Justin Timberlake Crushed It Strategically

February 7, 2018

Alright, do we even have to talk about the teams? Not really, that’s not why we are here, that’s not why you clicked on that Medium post!

Let’s talk Music, and more, let’s talk about Business !

I am always very excited to see how musicians and artists find a way to promote their music and what strategy they are using to bring awareness to their brand.

As a Music Strategist, Adviser and Marketer, I pretty much know in advance what is going to happen and I analyzed Justin Timberlake’s performance and let me tell you one thing : that was 100% pure strategy, and a top notch one, at that.

So, why was it so exceptional for him? (Or at least his label, but I think of him because there is no way the label only is racking this time)

First of all, Justin Timberlake released an album called The Man In The Woods on February 2nd, three days before the Superbowl itself.

You all know, by now, that realizing an album is a thing, promoting it is another. While it is indeed complicated for independent artists to have a direct and immediate impact with their release, when you are Justin Timberlake and you are signed at Sony, it is already easier.

I say easier, not easy, because the game is at a very high level of money and therefore, necessitates a very complexe strategy.

But here, the strategy was made before the actual release, way before the actual release in fact, almost wondering what was here first : the halftime contract or the album.

In fact, that doesn’t really matter because in both cases, that would have been a success.

Indeed, the Superbowl’s Halftime is the best ROI (Return On Investment) on the market. While Justin Timberlake is not paid at all for the show, meaning that the NFL is not paying for the equipments and stage / performance, that is still an amazing investment as an artist because we generally see a spike in sales of almost 600% the days after.

With over 100 million people watching live in the US and the insane amount of people watching it streaming over the world at the same time or the following day, it is, for 13 minutes of show, the best investment an artist can make when you know an ad of 30 seconds runs for around $7 Million.

The halftime being sponsored by Pepsi, generally the deal is made between the artist and the sponsor, therefore even greater for the artist, that at the end is winning on every front.

Justin Timberlake was smart (well, his production team was, but I’ll give him credit, I am sure he is a very fine person himself), because at no moment did he sing a song from the actual album he released 3 days ago. Instead, he banked on his hits of the past, with a tribute to the Minnesota born and raised Legend : Prince. Ending up on one of the most iconic song on 2016 : Can’t Stop The Feeling.

By doing this, Timberlake made sure he would be remembered for this performance because : 1) He didn’t bother with songs nobody knew yet and so tried to push for his album 2) Everybody had a great time because we all knew the songs 3) Paid tribute to the local icon, 4) Showed he can hold an insane performance which is great knowing his tour is starting in March.

Of course, that wasn’t as shocking as the 2004 halftime with Janet Jackson and the Nipplegate, but still, that was carefully planed and strategically mapped out the right way.

Now, when people will be looking for his name, landing on his website, the video of The Man Of The Woods will pop up immediately, gaining an insane amount of traffic towards the YouTube platform.

In other words, and to conclude on that, while others may criticize the quality of the sound (especially those in the stadium), which is not his fault because the U.S. Bank Stadium is known for being badly arranged in terms of sound, Justin Timberlake will be crushing it with the release of this album and therefore, make a ROI that few managed that way in the past.

Good job.

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