Media Brand Strategy

Bonnie Tyler’s 'Total Eclipse of the Heart’ tops Spotify's Super Bowl song list

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By Webb Wright | Junior Reporter

February 15, 2022 | 5 min read

A soundtrack can make or break an ad campaign. Each year, brands who invest in a Super Bowl ad spend exorbitant amounts of money obtaining the rights to music that will give their ads the right emotional overtones. As new data from Spotify demonstrates, the music that’s featured on gameday can leave a pronounced and lasting impact on listeners.

Music exerts a powerful psychological influence. It can evoke strong memories, elicit almost any emotion, and solidify a sense of kinship and identity. Marketers understand that the right song or sound can pull viewers’ emotions, like the strings on a marionette, in almost any direction.

Spotify has been keeping an eye on how music was leveraged by Super Bowl advertisers, and how those strategies have subsequently shaped listening behavior on the platform in the days following the Big Game. Here are the key findings:

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Kia's Super Bowl ad featured Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart"

Kia and Bonnie Tyler’s ballad “Total Eclipse of the Heart” tops the charts. Kia leveraged the ‘80s classic in hopes that it would cause viewers would empathize with the plight of a robotic dog. Streams of Tyler’s song shot up by 154.53% following the game.

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Freshening up the theme song to “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Perhaps playing into the theme of hip-hop nostalgia which permeated the entire event, Peacock recruited Will Smith to produce a re-recording of the theme song to “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” to accompany the teaser of the show’s reprisal. By the morning after the Big Game, streams of the theme song — one of the most iconic artifacts of 90s nostalgia — increased by 85.79%

A new generation gets stuck on Lionel Richie. Pringles chose Lionel Richie’s “Stuck on You” as the soundtrack for its Super Bowl ad, which told the story of a man who gets his hand stuck in a Pringles can and retains the handicap for the rest of his days. After the ad aired, streams of Richie’s love ballad climbed by 38.13%.

Pepsi’s Halftime show scores for hip-hop's All-Stars. This year’s Halftime Show featured hip-hop legends Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, and Kendrick Lamar. Dre, Snoop, and Kendrick are each from the greater Los Angeles area, which made them specifically fitting choices for a Super Bowl in Los Angeles. It clearly had a huge effect on Spotify listeners. In the first hour following the game, streams of Dr. Dre’s music shot up by 185%. A few specific songs also became enormously popular very quickly on the streaming platform: streamings of Blige’s “No More Drama,” for example, increased by 520%; streams of Dre’s “The Next Episode” skyrocketed by 270%; streams of Kendrick’s powerful anthem “Alright” climbed 250%.

Getting that eye of the tiger. The event itself also evoked a strong sense of place, both in Cincinnati and in Los Angeles.. Spotify reports that streams of “Bengals-themed tracks” (like “Eye of the Tiger,” by Survivor) jumped considerably on gameday, as did songs that are reminiscent of Los Angeles. (like Tupac’s “California Love”).

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