Last week, a new Beyonce debuted a new song, “Standing on the Sun,” in an online advertisement for the clothing company H&M. In the 90-second ad, she models bikinis while staring into the camera, dancing, splashing in the water and lip-synching the song. Apart from two bits of text on screen identifying the clothing maker, it looks like a Beyonce video. So does another commercial, released a couple of weeks earlier, that introduced the song “Grown Woman”: In between sips of Pepsi, Beyonce dances with multiple mirror images of herself, dressed in outfits from her previous videos.
This isn’t the first time a pop star has introduced a new song in an advertisement, but as with nearly everything Beyonce has done recently — gestate and bear a child, perform at President Obama’s inauguration and at the Super Bowl, present an awkwardly assembled home video — it has felt like news, and fodder for endless discussion online.