YouTube star Psy to star in Super Bowl ad

Even the Super Bowl is going Gangnam Style.

Psy, the South Korean global phenomenon who set social-media popularity records with his Gangnam Style YouTube music and dancing video, will star in a Super Bowl commercial for Wonderful Pistachios.

Theflashy commercial, filmed Tuesday in North Hollywood, is the brand'sfirst Super Bowl ad and will be Psy's first ad aired in the U.S.

"TheSuper Bowl is way too big for me," jokes Psy (real name Jai-Sang Park)."I never dreamed of being a singer in America, so I of course neverdreamed of being in a Super Bowl ad."

Psy's catchy, offbeat video poking fun at the upper-class lifestyle in South Korea has notched 1.1 billion YouTube views.

In the ad, Psy wears a pistachio- green suit and will display a special way to crack open pistachios.

Increasingly,advertisers in the Super Bowl, a pop culture event with gobs ofsocial-media buzz, are latching onto pop culture figures guaranteed togarner even more social-media chatter.

Beyonce is the Big Game'shalftime singer. Supermodels including Kate Upton and Bar Refaeli arestarring in other spots. And Psy has now been snatched up by a SuperBowl ad rookie eager for attention.

WillPsy be wonderful for pistachios? Pop culture experts say hisappearance will draw lots of attention -- but not necessarily the kindthat Wonderful Pistachios wants.

"Pistachios will get a lot ofattention for signing Psy, and when you're in the pistachio business,that's a good thing," says pop culture guru Robert Thompson. "But Psyalready is becoming an old joke."

Consumers are desperatelylooking for fun, "and Psy is the royal court jester," says futuristWatts Wacker. But Wacker thinks that Psy is a one-trick pony. "He'llend up as a Tiny Tim," Wacker predicts.

However, executives atWonderful Pistachios are ecstatic about signing Psy. "He's penetratedthe cultural consciousness of the United States," says Marc Seguin, vicepresident of marketing for Wonderful Pistachios, the biggest nut brandfor Paramount Farms. "We knew the Super Bowl would require somethingreally special to stand out."

The ultra-familiar song Gangnam Style willappear with different words in the 30-second commercial, Psy says. Hesays he's also working on a new single that will be out soon.

Thisis the time of year when pistachio sales rocket, most of that salesspurt concentrated a week or two before the Super Bowl, says Seguin. Tonail home its relationship with Psy, the brand will place 50,000pistachio displays with Psy's image in supermarkets.

But Psy isclearly better known by young folks than old, says Thompson, who is aprofessor of pop culture at Syracuse University. Thompson says he didan informal poll. All but four of his 110 undergraduate students knewwho Psy was. But when he asked 20 of his neighbors -- older than 65 --if they knew Psy, the results were disastrous.

Only one did.


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