My classical music Super Bowl commercial: Cooler than me?

Posted on February 11, 2011


This past week, I posed this question on Twitter and on Facebook to classical music fans and haters alike: if you were given a thirty second or one minute commercial spot during the Super Bowl to promote classical music to the masses however you want to, what would your commercial be like? Well, here’s my answer, and I hope you’ll share your ideas for a classical music Super Bowl commercial in the comment section below.

Here are the rules:

  1. Your commercial can be either thirty seconds or one minute long.
  2. Your budget and production value/possibilities for this commercial are on par with that of other Super Bowl commercials, so dream big. You can essentially do whatever you want, and have it look incredibly awesome.
  3. Your don’t have to describe it in perfect detail. Just give us enough so that we can get the gist of what you’re wanting to say. It is our responsibility as the readers of your idea to imagine what you are suggesting with the best possible production quality.

I’m going to describe what would happen in my commercial today, and then tomorrow I’m going post a separate post to explain why I would go in the direction I did with it (an “apology for the apology,” if you will).

Without further adieu…

Somewhere late in the 3rd quarter/early 4th quarter of Super Bowl XLVI (assuming we actually HAVE a Super Bowl next year, of course):

Length: one minute

Music:  One minute clip from Mike Posner’s “Cooler Than Me”, starting with the hook, but cut and spliced as needed for the ad (to listen to this, you’ll have to actually click on the link that will take you to Youtube. After the ad, skip to the one minute mark. The song doesn’t start ’til there. I suggest you listen to the song while you read this to get a feel for what I’m going for.)

Cast: 6 classical musicians (a pretty blonde, an average looking brunette, a nerdy guy violinist, Rollo Dilworth, Denyce Graves, and Gustavo Dudamel) lots of hip, good-looking people, some stereotypically old classical music lovers, some kids, and some parents of the kids

(Throughout this commercial, until I say so, you never hear anyone say anything. And you don’t hear any classical music. All you hear is “Cooler Than Me.” All of these clips will move very quickly, so I believe that this idea can be accomplished in one minute with good direction.)

The commercial opens in silence with Rollo Dilworth sitting in a studio Dr. Dre style with big headphones on listening to his music, bobbing his head, etc. But he realizes what time it is. “Cooler than me” starts, he takes off his headphones and leaves the house. As he leaves the house, people on the street in his neighborhood (“cool” people)  look at him funny, and follow him.

Cut to a bookstore, where the brunette and Denyce Graves are reading and talking over a cup of coffee, and the cool people look at Denyce and the brunette as if they’re “cooler than them.” When Denyce and the brunette realize what time it is, they leave the coffee shop. The cool people follow them.

Cut to a beach where the pretty blonde opera singer is laying out getting some sun in a bikini (but no one knows she’s an opera singer), and all of the other hotties on the beach (and some not-so-hotties) are giving her nasty looks like “they’re cooler than her” (lots of big “sunglasses just to hide your face” on the cool people, like Posner’s song says). Nerdy violin guy trips and falls on top of the sun-tanning blonde, and while everyone expects an awkward moment, it’s awkward for 1 or two seconds, but then they both realize something: they know each other. The nerd points to his 1990s digital watch, showing the blonde what time it is, and they leave the beach together. It becomes apparent to the cool people that the dork and the hottie know each other. The cool people follow them. In their swimsuits.

Cut to Gustavo Dudamel doing work with a bunch of kids in one of his El Sistema programs. Kids are laughing, having fun, and Dudamel is laughing with them, and he is saying good-bye to them because he already knows what time it is. The kids follow him, and drag their parents along with them to follow Dudamel.

All six classical musicians continue walking with their respective crowds of haters following them. The anticipation regarding where these people are going is building. The musicians walk into the stage door of a concert hall somewhere (maybe Disney?) at the same time. They know each other. The cool people followers, kids and parents aren’t allowed to go inside the stage door, so they get tickets, not really knowing what they’re getting tickets for.

Cut to backstage, showing the guys putting on their tuxes, adjusting their ties, maybe dappin’ up, (including the nerdy guy with the violin, who somehow doesn’t look quite so nerdy anymore) etc., and the women getting dressed and getting make-up and hair did.

Cut to the audience which includes stereotypical classical music lovers, cool people (some of whom are still in their swim suits), kids, and parents. Cool people look with judgement upon the stereotypical classical folks, and vice versa (with maybe a funny moment where a stereotypical blue hair concertgoer checks out a handsome, shirtless man that just came from the beach). Kids just look happy to be there, most of the cool adults look a little annoyed or bored, and the old folks are reading their programs, but a few cool people are reading programs and a couple of old men are asleep in their seats with their mouths hanging open, being smacked by their wives.

Concert begins. On the stage is Dudamel with an orchestra and chorus, the blonde soloist, the brunette soloist, Denyce Graves and the nerdy violin guy (who is the concert master, but now looks and performs like someone who is legitimately cool). Awesome, dramatic visual shots of conductor, singers, and nerdy concert master performing, but we hear no classical music. Dudamel comes off the podium and gives Dilworth the baton, and the not very ethnically diverse choir behind the orchestra starts singing and even moves a little.

Crowd goes wild. Standing Ovation (but we don’t hear it). Old people dap up young cool people in silly/awkward ways, and cool people, parents and kids shout “bravos” and “bravas” (which you can BARELY hear) and the old folks pat them on the back for a job well done. All six featured musicians take a big bow together, come up and look right into the camera as we hear for the final time, the line from Posner’s song is heard: “And you’re probably thinkin’ that you’re cooler than me.”

Music cuts out, screen goes black for 3 seconds, except for a website that we as a classical community agree should be promoted (is there an ESPN-like site somewhere that covers all branches of classical music in a really thorough, professional way and also features links to arts organizations in different areas of the country? That would be ideal. If not, I’m sure we could find some music-related cause that we all want to support that is part music, part community service).

Posner’s song abruptly comes back on, but it’s background now. Cut to an after-concert gathering at a restaurant/pub that’s not a 5-star restaurant but isn’t Applebee’s either (even though I love me some riblets). You can hear restaurant noise in the background where the 6 featured musicians are around a table with some of the people who were in the audience from the show (some people in swimsuits, the old lady that had the hots for the young shirtless guy, some kids, and some parents). Everybody grabs a glass and Dilworth raises his glass and says, “To music.”  (kids have juice or something, adults have a mix of wine, beer, soda, whatever) . Everybody echoes, clinks glasses, resumes conversation. Fade out video, but audio stays up. Show promoted website address one more time against the black screen and the conversation, and maybe a slogan.


There you have it. That’s my idea. I hope you’ll share your own ideas in the comment section below. Feel free to also elaborate on the pros and cons of my idea. See you tomorrow for the “apology for the apology.” Until then, you stay classy, planet Earth.