Perhaps it was because the creation of Apple Music’s Rihanna Halftime Show became a cultural event in itself. Or maybe it’s just the constant spread of good ol’ media fragmentation, but leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, it felt like no one brand had really captured the cultural pre-game hype.
Still, they all adapted and hit the ground running—hoping, wishing, dreaming of tapping into their feelings.
Evaluating what makes a great Super Bowl ad is (as I’ve written before) a straightforward calculation: Is it entertaining? Does it really address the product or brand? Where does this land on the scale of first impressions between wing-choking chuckles and cringe-inducing dry heaving?
We all experience sports and advertising in different ways. It’s just what I like best, but there’s no wrong answer as to what you prefer versus what I did. (Well, except for Mr. Peanutbutter.)
Popcorners “Breaking Good”
From the moment the teaser dropped with Aaron Paul’s Jesse trying to start an RV, it was clear that Frito-Lay was swinging for Super Bowl fans for its fastest-growing brand. Bringing back one of TV’s most iconic duos was the advertising equivalent of going for it with a long pass for a touchdown when you only need a yard for the new set down.
breaking bad The decade may have ended early, but its status as one of the greatest TV dramas of all time lives on. Still, reuniting Paul’s Jesse with Bryan Cranston’s Walter White is no guarantee of success, but Frito-Lay’s in-house agency D3 here creatively avoided screwing it up. The show’s swapping in a non-fried snack for traditional math gets the laughs it deserves. Importantly, the product remains in the center of attention the entire time. Throw in the classic line adaptation “Say his name!” And Raymond Cruz is back as Tuco Salamanca, and it’s a big game winner. tight!
Tubi “Rabbit Hole”
As we find ourselves in what feels like Year 57 of the Streaming Wars, one of the most common advertising tropes is using a celebrity to pitch a particular streamer’s high profile content. Apple has also doubled down on that strategy, with Timothée Chalamet and Jon Hamm both employing A-list celebrities to act like they’re begging the service with all the other A-list celebrities.
Fox-owned, ad-supported streaming service Tubi doesn’t have the same kind of promotion as Apple, Netflix, Peacock, or Disney. So with its Super Bowl spot, the brand decided it was what made it different. Tubi has over 48,000 titles, so the brand is really focusing on the depth of its catalog across genres and categories, from sci-fi, thrillers to black cinema, anime, and more. Hence, the title of its location is “rabbit hole”.
The difficulty level here is impressive. Not a celebrity. No Blockbuster. no more In fact A household name brand. But here ad agency Mischief used bunny suits to get the idea by throwing a Hail Mary of a creepy comedy spot at us. Tubi CMO Nicole Parlapiano told Proverb The goal was to rattle the audience’s cage a bit, “Whether they love the ad or think it’s funny, people will remember it. The intent is to be a little polarizing. Touchdown.”
When Squarespace first dropped its Super Bowl teaser, “Backstage with Adam Driver,” more than a week ago, it clocked in at two minutes, which was far longer than the typical 15-second teaser. The video, with nearly 27 different versions of the award-winning actor, has garnered over 5.4 million views on YouTube as of Friday, while it has nearly 15 million plays between its two TikTok adaptations.
The big game ad is quirky comedy, similar to the brand’s Super Bowl commercials with Jeff Bridges (2015), John Malkovich (2017), and Keanu Reeves (2018). Everything weird, silly, and 100% about Squarespace.
David Lee, Squarespace’s chief creative officer, told me last week that he sees the Super Bowl as an opportunity that isn’t about a singular, silver bullet of 30-second passes during the game. “in some ways, [the Super Bowl spot is] really just marking the cherry on top, or the climax of more work,” Lee said. “We see this as an opportunity to tell a story over time.”
This year, it was another story worth telling from a website that built a website.
Farmer’s Dog “Forever”
Have you ever felt like bursting into tears at a Super Bowl party? This absolute tearjerker from Fresh Dog Food Co. broke a lot of unsuspecting hearts in a game filled with commercials that aim for laughs.
Created in-house by The Farmer’s Dog, Spot follows the relationship between a puppy and a young girl as he grows up, from playing in the yard to comforting her as a teenager when She leaves for college. It follows their relationship until their wedding day and then having a child of their own, set to a soulful soundtrack of Lee Fields’ “Forever”. The real kick to Cryballs hits about three quarters of the way through, when the whole perspective shifts to see those same moments through the dog’s eyes.
By the time the tagline—”Nothing matters more than years together”—flashes onscreen, tying healthy eating to long life, dogs, kids, or anyone with a heart is already melting.
GM x Netflix “Why Not EV?”
Back in 2021, Will Ferrell took over the entire country of Norway to publicize General Motors’ EV ambitions. After last year’s Dr. Evil cringefest, GM has thankfully brought back Ferrell, this time embedded in several Netflix shows, including stranger things, bridgertonAnd sarcasm game,
The big game brand collaboration also announced that GM has actually signed a deal with Netflix to incorporate its EVs into the streamer’s original programming, all in an effort to further normalize EVs in the culture. You can’t get more mainstream than a Super Bowl ad and a guy who drives a Dodge Stratus. The only downside is that it might remind people that they can watch an EV on Netflix while they wait out all the supply backlogs and waiting lists to actually buy one.
Still, it’s a fun, creative way to play with pop culture. Ferrell is the perfect goofball foil for a show like sarcasm game And bridgertonThis just happened to be the best brand-entertainment pairing since Bud Knight was brutally murdered game of Thrones Villain The Mountain during the 2019 Super Bowl.
Finally . , , Worst ad for the 2023 Super Bowl.
Planters “The Roast of Mr. Peanut”
Jeff Ross is a master of his chosen art of roasting, and there’s no reason for him not to cash that sweet, sweet Super Bowl paycheck.
The challenge here is that Mr. Peanut has no personality, nor any real cultural relevance, other than faking his own death for the clique in 2020. At least people like the M&M’s characters actually fall for that lame retirement stunt. Here, Planters once again teams up with comedians Natasha Leggero, Frank Castillo, Atsuko Okatsuka, Yamaneika Saunders, David Lucas and Sarah Tiana to build relevance by presenting the usually mute, monoclad mascot as worthy of a roast roast. trying.
To be honest, the crown for worst Super Bowl ad could rest on many heads, but Planters gets my vote for serving up not only cringe over comedy, but as some kind of poke fun at past Super Bowl duds. gets doubled. As a result, your sense of humor may require an EpiPen.