100 Days of Pop: Episode 16 Spongebob SuperBowl Cameo

Sometimes the interesting stories are the ones that almost happened.  Times when the planets didn’t align and the things that were most anticipated didn’t turn out the way we had envisioned.

Today on the Pop100, I am talking about the Super Bowl, only it has nothing to do w/ Tom Brady, in fact, it has nothing to do w/ sports at all…well or any commercials.  Today I’m talking about the pop-marketing phenomenon known as the Super Bowl half time show and why in the hell SpongeBob Squarepants awkwardly showed up for 2 seconds between Maroon 5 and Travis Scott transition.

How does the Spongebob Squarepants cartoon end up on the largest football game of the year?  I’m glad you asked. Let me break it down.

Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of Spongebob Squarepants tragically passed away in November of last year from complications with ALS at way too young of age of 57.  

Soon after his death a fan by the name Israel Colunga started a petition at Change.org for Spongebob Squarepants to perform the song SWEET VICTORY at the Halftime of the SuperBowl.

Now that may seem like a strange, maybe random or even ridiculous request but hold on, there’s some context there-  It wasn’t just ANY song, but a very specific song from a specific episode of Spongebob. The request was for the song SWEET VICTORY which made it’s debut in season 2 of Spongebob in the 2nd half of the 15th episode named BAND GEEKS way back in September of 2001.

In this episode, Squidward recruits the citizens of Bikini Bottom to play in his made up band that just got a gig playing the BUBBLE BOWL but they perform terribly in rehearsal, which makes Squidward quit. SpongeBob, disgraced, get the band together and they give the performance of their lives, playing the song SWEET VICTORY, a pretty bitchin’ 80’s hair metal arena jock jam that later showed up on YELLOW album released in 2005.

Many critics argue that the episode is the best in the series and you can now see why fans would want to honor Hilburg by actually getting the song performed at the biggest live entertainment event of the year and our very own Bubble Bowl at the Super Bowl halftime.

Fans start the Change.org petition and by the time the Super Bowl got here it had been signed by 1.2 million people from all over the world and had amazingly gotten attention from those putting together the halftime show at the Super Bowl.

Anticipation built like a frenzy the day or 2 before the game.  Maroon5 put out a cryptic trailer w/ SpongeBob making an appearance, journalists that were there during the rehearsals said that they saw Spongebob and nerds everywhere waited patiently through what I’ve heard was a boring sports ball game and many robot-themed commercials to find out if the unbelievable would become a reality.

For those that watched Maroon 5 and “Nipplegate 2019”, you know that Sweet Victory was not played at the halftime show.  Nerds everywhere were a bit let down and the internet showed its dissatisfaction w/ hundreds of choice memes involving Adam Levine’s nipples, but hey people-  We did it- Squidward DID introduce the rapper Travis Scott and we did get to see Spongebob honored at our very own Bubble Bowl. That’s freaking nuts that it would even get a nod, but it did and once again the power of fans show that if you have a shared vision and a little gumption, you can make anything happen in the world of pop-marketing.

I’m Joe Cox, the Pop-Marketer and thank you for joining me today on the Pop100.  Hit me up at pop-marketer.com and signup to my newsletter the weekly Zeitgeist to get more news from the places where brand marketing and pop-culture meetup.

I’ll see you next time!   

Joe Cox