The artist was on hand to sing “America the Beautiful” before Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan belted out the National Anthem to usher in the coin toss and kickoff. While her performance received high praise on social media, the immensely talented artist was somewhat overshadowed when fans noticed a man in the crowd behind her.
The somewhat brazen man, wearing tan pants and a blue striped polo shirt, was holding a can of Vodka Mule that, at one point, he moved to ensure the label was sticking out to camera right above H.E.R.’s right shoulder.
H.E.R. performs “America the Beautiful” before the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
“A new way to get product placement in the Super Bowl. Buy the good seats behind the opening act. Did you catch the guy with the Vodka Mule in the background?” one user wrote.
“Did that dude get paid for the vodka mule can placement?” another user mused.
“That guy behind her is definitely working for that vodka mule company,” a third user wrote.
“H.E.R. singing “America the Beautiful” while a dude in the row behind flashes a vodka mule drink logo is America in 2021,” a more sarcastic user added.
“Ayyy Vodka Mule getting free advertisement,” wrote another.
“To the man standing behind #HERMusicx— put your Vodka Mule can down. 1) Allow the woman to have her moment, this isn’t about you 2) That drink isn’t something to be bragging about,” added one user who wasn’t amused.
For those unfamiliar, the beverage is a product from Cutwater, which incorporates ginger, bitters, lime and vodka for a canned spin on the popular party drink known as a Moscow Mule.
The NFL announced that H.E.R. would open the Super Bowl with a performance of “America the Beautiful” on Jan. 19. H.E.R. won two Grammys in 2019 and has earned critical acclaim for her live performances, including her work as a guitarist. She’s won honors at the MTV Video Music Awards, BET Awards and Soul Train Music Awards and launched R&B hits such as “Focus,” “Best Part,” “Slide,” “Damage” and “B.S.” with Jhené Aiko.
“H.E.R. joins critically acclaimed and award-winning ‘America the Beautiful’ performers such as: Yolanda Adams, Leslie Odom Jr, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, Jasmine Cephas Jones and Alicia Keys,” the organization said in its announcement at the time.