Super Bowl XLII Halftime Recap

LOS ANGELES As usual, the Super Bowl was the perfect storm of media, sports and music — but, unlike previous years, Super Bowl XLII between the Giants and the Patriots was actually something of a game. It bodes well for those companies who chucked their hard-earned advertising money for a quick 30 seconds in the limelight. There is probably a better chance this year that the TV audience actually stuck around after Tom Petty’s halftime show and through the rest of the game.

Among the ads with music that look to make an impact: Sobe Life Water’s too-freaky-to-look away combination of Naomi Campbell and animated lizards reenacting the video to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Not a bad tribute to the 25th anniversary, even if there were cold-blooded critters involved. (The lizards, not Campbell.)

Another memorable spot came from Diet Pepsi Max, which incorporated Haddaway’s song “What Is Love” with cameos from, among others, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, Macy Gray and Missy Elliott. The face-checks were so quick, however, that it basically begged the viewer to run to the Internet and watch it again to see who else was in the ad.

There were opportunities for instant consumer consumption as well, as both Jordin Sparks’ version of the national anthem and Doritos contest winner Kina Grannis had their songs up on iTunes for purchase before halftime started.

Speaking of Sparks, Idol got plenty of play during the game, between Ryan Seacrest hosting and Paula Abdul debuting her new song during the pre-game.

Overall, Fox’s entertainment division had its time in the advertising sun, with ads for the movie Jumper and almost constant plugs for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles unspooling. And another News Corp. property, MySpace, also got a key shout out, since all the ads shown during the game will be available for review on the site.

Tom Petty’s four-song halftime show was solid, a nice celebration of music instead of an excuse to gawk at jiggling and costumes. After a mini light show consisting of an arrow-shaped guitar piercing the heart-shaped stage on the darkened field, Petty and his Heartbreakers opened with “American Girl.”

The crowd could be heard singing along to the next two songs, “I Won’t Back Down” and “Free Falling,” the latter followed by converging spotlights and a small flourish of fireworks. The six-piece group closed out the set with the more uptempo “Running Down a Dream,” which ended with a lengthy guitar solo.

A spot promoting Petty’s appearance on next week’s episode of the long-running Fox animated show, King of the Hill, immediately followed.

As in previous years, look for Petty’s album sales to jump in the coming week. After Prince’s halftime performance last year, his greatest hits album The Very Best of Prince moved from No. 31 to No.2 on Billboard‘s catalog albums chart.