Every year when the Super Bowl comes around, millions of viewers worldwide gather to see which of their favorite brands scored a sought-after spot on television. Costing up to $7 million for every thirty seconds, these commercials serve as one of the most significant marketing opportunities for brands willing to pay the big bucks.
At SkyeLine, marketing is our thing. So, each year we look forward to seeing the best (and the worse) ways big-name businesses promote their brands. From celebrity features to sentimental moments with furry friends, there are numerous ways to capture the attention of Super Bowl crowds. We’re sharing which ads met our standards and, for some, went above and beyond.
Jim DeMicco, Creative Director
I loved the nostalgia in this year’s Super Bowl ads. From The Scrubs & Grease mashup for T-Mobile, Breaking Bad for Pop Chips, and even the Clueless homage for Rakuten. Not sure if it was nostalgia, but anytime Ben Affleck goes full Bostonian, I’m in love. (However, nothing beats his brother’s Dunkin’ spoof ad for SNL a few years ago.)
My favorite commercial this year was Ryan Reynolds’ ad for Aviation Gin. I’m pretty sure the commercial didn’t air during the game (or I missed it), but it was still part of the conversation. I saw it on Instagram Reels later that night. Reynolds is known for running cheap low, budget ads through his film production company and digital marketing agency Maximum Effort, which is the best name for a company that usually makes as little effort as possible. Of course, this works mainly because the owner and spokesman is also an A-List celebrity.
In the ad, Reynolds jokes that he forgot to prepare a Super Bowl commercial because he’s been focusing more on the “other football,” referring to his recent purchase of a soccer team. Reynolds appears to improvise the ad where he comes up with a two-minute warning contest where you can enter to win two tickets to next year’s Super Bowl during both two-minute warnings during the game. The “2 Ginute Warning” even has its own website, 2ginutewarning.com.
This ad works because I love Ryan Reynolds and his quick-witted humor. But more than anything, this ad is a great example that you don’t always need big sets and special effects – sometimes simple is better.
Kenya D’Agustino, Marketing Manager
It took me more than a minute to get over Chris Stapleton’s rendition of The National Anthem. It blew me away from the start, and then at kickoff, it appeared the game’s energy was going to be just as good. And it was. It was a good one.
This 4-hour night always carries so much anticipation of what will be fun and exciting, new and different, but it seemed nostalgia was the theme. Besides Rihanna returning to the stage, the commercials tapped into our familiar happy places. From Zoolander to Breaking Bad to Clueless to Caddyshack, to Grease, and to more recreations of a softer, simpler time (like when UFOs were not getting shot down). Others with famous faces attached to well-known brands brought me joyful outbursts. Will Ferrell always, Ben Affleck, JLo, Ben Stiller, Sarah McLaughlin, John Hamm, Ozzy, and Bradley Cooper’s Mom. Then, of course, the super creative ones like Avocados from Mexico, Premature Electrification, Bud Light Hold, Squarespace, Jack’s New Angle, and Tubi were fun and attention-grabbing.
Even though WeatherTech’s, We All Win tapped into the heart of America, the one for me with the most heart, which is always the most memorable, is The Farmer’s Dog. I cried. I love dogs; we all love dogs and what they embody. I won’t forget it, so it wins.
Erika Blanchard, Designer
Another year, another game, and more ridiculously expensive commercials. All in the name of marketing. To be honest, I don’t enjoy watching football; however, every year, I watch the Super Bowl for the ads and the snacks—and this year didn’t disappoint!
I’m a huge fan of Boston, Ben Affleck, Dunkin Donuts, and Beer – so I enjoyed the Dunkin’ and Sam Adams Commercials. The fact that they were filled with Boston accents and positivity was refreshing. In a world that is often heavy, it’s nice to incorporate some positive vibes once in a while.
I also feel like I need to mention the ad that brought tears to my eyes. The Farmer’s Dog commercial is an ad for fresh dog food that follows a young girl and her puppy through the years. In the end, the girl is grown and has a child of her own, and her dog is still by her side, albeit with a lot of gray hair. The commercial’s premise is that he lived so long because they had the wherewithal to feed him healthy food, not dry processed food. Being a mom who got a puppy for my daughter when she was little, this one definitely tugged at my heartstrings. Will I switch dog food? Probably not, but I’m sure many others will.
Madison McCuiston, Web Designer
When I was younger, watching the Super Bowl with my family was an event that I always looked forward to, or should I say the commercials. In 2023, some companies tried too hard with their commercials and ads, while others kept on brand and maintained the simplistic route. Even though they have changed tremendously over the years, I still find myself drawn to the commercials that are relatable and heartwarming.
Amazon Prime always stays on track with its target audience and company mission. Any pet owner knows that leaving a pet home alone can be sad, yet during Covid, all of our lives got flipped upside down. Our houses became our offices and classrooms, where we spent most of our time, but pets everywhere celebrated more time with their owners and felt less alone.
In Amazon’s Super Bowl ad, a family returns to work and school after months of being home during the Covid pandemic. Their good dog, Sawyer, starts acting out to combat loneliness after they leave. When it becomes too much for the family, they go online to Amazon Prime to buy a crate. They make you think they are taking the dog away, but a moment of sadness soon turns to joy when they return home with the crate, open the door, and reveal a new furry friend.
I have two dogs, and I remember the phases of them getting into the trash while I was at work. During covid, I got to be home with them more until I got my job with SkyeLine and worked from home permanently. Relatable ads are often the most memorable ones. This commercial had no special effects or celebrities but catered a message to something we have all gone through the past couple of years.
Molly Milligan, Writer
Not to jump on the bandwagon, but it’s hard to talk about this year’s ads without talking about the two that I’m sure brought a twinkle (or a couple of tears) to everyone’s eyes. Farmer’s Food and Amazon took a similar approach in their respective Super Bowl ads despite being very different companies.
Both feature a loveable, four-legged friend; the cuteness overload alone could make me put these commercials at the top of my list. Yet, Farmer’s Food and Amazon took it a step further by creating storylines to which every dog owner can relate. Whether dealing with a disgruntled pup left alone during long workdays or watching as your scruffy side-kick ages alongside you, there was no emotion left unstirred by these heartwarming ads.
But, if I had to choose between the two, my vote would be for Farmer’s Food. As someone who had to say goodbye to their childhood dog after 17 years of fun moments just like this company pictured, it was near impossible not to form a connection with their commercial. And to top it off, the song “Forever” by Lee Fields rang in the background, taking this story to a new level in a way only music can do. It reminded me of some of my favorite old-school artists like Al Green and Charles Bradley, whose sound is often associated with nostalgia, one of the major themes of this year’s Super Bowl ad selection.
While I’m a sucker for anything animal-related, one other ad successfully got my attention, and I’m sure everyone else’s. Tubi, a popular streaming service, profited off everyone’s eyes being glued to the screen when they tricked viewers into thinking that their TV was being taken over mid-game. Within a few seconds, viewers watched as their screens switched from their precious Super Bowl coverage to the 2005 film Mr. & Mrs. Smith. And as everyone scrambled to see who was playing with the remote, Tubi’s logo popped up, reassuring all the anxious crowds that it was just another ad. I’d never seen a prank pulled off as seamlessly as this. However, this marketing approach may have divided audiences, hats off to those at Tubi for getting everyone’s hearts racing nonetheless.