So Super Bowl LVII arrived, this year – thankfully -- without the advertising currency of crypto.
But it came with plenty of alcohol, after Budweiser parent InBev gave up its exclusive on beer
and liquor commercial real estate for the big game.
The price tag for SB LVII climbed to $7 million for 30 seconds of air. You can bet that a lot of
brand creatives and media buyers were holding their breath when showtime arrived. Of
course, some of the ads were teased and tested in advance on social media.
The day went big to the dogs: dog-food deliverer Farmer’s Dog heart-tugging with the lifetime
of a chocolate lab’s relationship with its owner; a pug dancing (Bud Light) with its humans
waiting out a customer-service call on eternal hold; and Sawyer, whose loneliness is solved with
the arrival of a crated puppy shipped by Amazon.
There were celebrities all over, if you didn’t blink and miss ‘em. And there were tunes.
A USA Today Ad Meter summary offered this about two of the spots and their sponsors:
Doritos’ creatives have said that music plays an essential role in their campaigns, and
the 2023 Super Bowl spot was no exception. Jack Harlow, Missy Elliott and Elton John
reintroduced the triangle to the masses in this commercial, giving the idiophone its 60
seconds of fame while Anita Ward’s “Ring My Bell” fittingly kept the flow pinging and
Although Workday’s ad didn’t include any background jam, it did pull off one of the
greatest PSAs of all time… that happened to star some of the greatest rockers of all
time—Ozzy Osbourne, Gary Clark Jr., Joan Jett, Billy Idol, and Paul Stanley—to help drive
home the message!
There was a very funny Michelob Ultra “Caddyshack” remake ad, featuring Bushwood Country
Club shenanigans with Serena Williams, “Succession” star Brian Cox, and Tony Romo. The “Be
the Ball” spot was spot-on, backed by the original “I’m Alright” Kenny Loggins soundtrack.
Meanwhile, at a Boston area Dunkin’ Donuts, Dunkin superfan Ben Affleck was taxing his skill
sets working the pickup window. After being recognized – and not -- by celebrity-stricken
customers, a cameo by his surprised drive-through customer and wife Jennifer Lopez deftly
took the air out her hubby’s secret workday balloon.
Also among my favorites was Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters curiously riffing through all things
for which to thank Canada, in a Crown Royal ad. Things like hockey, Rush, Mr. and Mrs. Schitt’s
Creek, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, egg carton, battery, electric wheelchair, Hawaiian
pizza, paint roller, poutine and Celine. And football (Canada’s Grey Cup is much senior to the
Super Bowl). Come to think of it, Grohl missed a nod to Gordon Lightfoot.
A runaway ad winner was Diana Alejandra Flores, Team Mexico quarterback, captain, MVP and
gold medalist of the Flag Football World Games. Erin Andrews took the first swipe at pulling
her flag while pretending an interview, before Flores darted through an amusing course of NFL
chasers and past YouTuber Mr. Beast, dodging and weaving and jumping, showing off her
premier athleticism among legendary ladies of sport. A cameo by tennis great Billie Jean King
highlighted the high-energy “Run With It” NFL spot.
Not appetizing – and sophomorically clever – was the Hellman’s mayonnaise ad that featured
actors Jon Hamm and Brie Larson in miniature, finding themselves inside a home refrigerator.
Once a tardy Hamm caught up with the “ham and brie” connect, a wide-eyed Pete Davidson
showed up – full size – opening the fridge door to announce “I’m gonna eat you guys.”
Huh? Hold the mayo.
Had I been a “Breaking Bad” fan -- or watched it at all, I might size up Walter and Jesse and their
PopCorners snack ad. (PopCorners is a PepsiCo snack brand.) Critics say the ad broke good; all I
can offer is that maybe it makes sense for a meth drama to plug a snack food.
Then there was Rakuten – among the most oddly named brands out there --and the two debate
rivals Cher and Amber of “Clueless” fame, in a comeback cameo 28 year after. Alicia
Silverstone’s snarky starring role was the most-discussed celebrity appearance before kick-off,
according to social-media measurement company Synthesio, which tracks platforms including
Twitter, Instagram and Reddit. But I gotta admit, I’m clueless: what is (a) Rakuten? Animal,
vegetable, mineral? Noun, verb, adjective? It’s been around since 1999, Google says.
Almost as long as "Clueless."
Ads aside, the post-game cringeworthy “interviews” by well-worn broadcast personalities Terry
Bradshaw and Chris Berman outdid the worst of ads (reported to be U2 in Las Vegas, M&Ms,
and Temu) during the broadcast. These two dinosaurs needed to be pastured. Open the gate,
Me? I’m alright . . . don’t you worry ‘bout me.