Once Provocative, Madonna is Now ‘Safe Choice’ for NFL

Friday, December 9, 2011

It’s been confirmed: Madonna will be playing the halftime show at Super Bowl XLVI. “Once provocative and now preserved, Madonna has been added to a list of acts considered safe by the NFL since the 2004 wardrobe malfunction,” says entertainment marketing expert David Allan, Ph.D. While she has earned her place in history as a mega pop-star icon, Allan questions whom the NFL is trying to reach with this halftime act.

“Last year marked a switch in strategy: the Black Eyed Peas were given the coveted spot, in what seemed to be an attempt to reach a broader base among the younger generations, and maybe pull in viewers who don't care so much about the sport,” says Allan. “Madonna, however, is stuck between these two poles. Everyone knows who she is, but she's hardly the first choice for the traditional football fan base. At the same time, I can't imagine younger fans scrambling to tune in just for the chance to seem Madonna play a few songs.”

In recent years, Allan says many of the halftime performers have been tailored to the older generation (and the nostalgic, classic rock loving among younger football fans). “If the goal for the NFL is to cater to the middle-aged men drinking beer and eating wings, acts like Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, and The Who make better sense than Madonna, who has limited appeal with the traditional football-viewing audience,” he says.

Allan, an associate professor of marketing at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, has over 20 years of experience in media and ethics. In 2004, he was appointed to a National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Subcommittee on Indecency following the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident.

Media Contact

He can be reached for comment at dallan@sju.edu, at 610-660-1637 or by calling University Communications at 610-660-1355.

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