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NBC gets its Broadway on in 'Smash' Super Bowl ad [video]

February 6, 2012 |  6:00 am

During the Super Bowl, NBC promoted its new series "Smash," Broadway-style

The Super Bowl and Broadway-style musical numbers aren't the most natural fit in the world. You could probably count the demographic overlap on one hand. But on Sunday evening, there was NBC, gamely belting its heart out in an effort to promote its star power and along the way, its new Broadway musical series "Smash," to a national audience of partying football fans.

NBC ran a pre-game commercial featuring the casts of "30 Rock," "The Office," "Parks and Recreation," "Saturday Night Live" and many more, joining some of the "Smash" cast in a reworked rendition of the Frank Loesser classical"The Brotherhood of Man." Even Matt Lauer, Brian Williams and members of NBC News joined in the fun.

Those people who tuned in for the game (as opposed to those who tuned in for the Madonna half-time spectacle) may not have had a clue as to what song they were hearing through their team helmets.

VIDEO TIMELINE: Best Super Bowl commercials

A brief primer then: The song is from the Pulitzer Prize-winning "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," the Loesser-Abe Burrows musical that debuted on Broadway in 1961. A revival, starring Nick Jonas, is running at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre in New York. Daniel Radcliffe first starred in the revival and was briefly replaced by "Glee's" Darren Criss.

The musical is a satire of life in a big corporation. Sunday's spectacle of NBC chattel warbling the revised lyrics adds an interesting, quasi-ironic layer to the musical's corporate critique.

Reports say that companies shelled out an average of $3.5 million to NBC for 30 seconds of advertising glory on Sunday. The network's promo ran an unusually long three minutes and 30 seconds. Did NBC pay itself a pro-rated fee, which would be about $24.5 million? How much of that is the estate of Frank Loesser going to see? Would NBC tell us if we asked?

We'll let you know if we find an answer to those questions. Meanwhile, you can watch the entire NBC spot:


Television review: 'Smash' on NBC

Pop music review: Madonna at the Super Bowl

Theater review: 'How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying' on Broadway

-- David Ng

Photo: A scene from NBC's Super Bowl commercial for the series "Smash." Credit: NBC