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Super Bowl 2023

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Super Bowl 2023

Super Bowl 2023

by: Steve Merino, Chief Creative Officer, Aloysius Butler & Clark (AB&C)

Last night’s game was disappointing—and not just because the Eagles fell short. The Super Bowl commercials were also lackluster, as brands struggled to understand the tone and tenor of the nation and relied too heavily on celebrities to make their pitch. There were a few standouts, however. Here are some of the brands that made the best use of the $7 million price tag and a few that wasted 30 seconds of our time.

“Saving Sawyer” | Amazon
Dogs and Amazon deliver the most human ad of the night.
When you’re delivering millions of packages to the American people every single day, you really understand the American people. This spot understands exactly where the country is right now—going back to work, going back to school and managing life in 2023. Without saying a word, this commercial drew you in and zigged, right when you thought it would zag.

“Drive-Thru” | Dunkin’
Best use of celebrity came … from Bah-ston.

How much do Bostonians love their Dunkin’? They convinced A-lister Ben Affleck to not only star in one of their commercials but also work the drive-thru. This spot was low-fi and hi-impact. Ben dialed up the accent, and J.Lo made a surprise visit. Really fun and really effective. Grab me a glazed.

“Love Your Enemies” | He Gets Us

Jesus, this is a good campaign.

I don’t know who is making these ads. I don’t know where they’re getting their money. But I’ll be damned (and likely will be anyway) if this campaign is not powerfully effective. Simple black-and-white photos. Never a voice-over. Always a powerful message. And the best part—they speak to both sides of the political aisle. It’s a nearly impossible feat, flawlessly executed.

“Ma&Ya’s” | M&M’s

A thick, clammy shell. Yuck.

M&M’s has done great spots in years past. That’s why this commercial was such a disappointment. M&M’s started off the week with a fake controversy, announcing they would retire their (mostly) beloved spokescandies. But then they turned right, announcing a “new clam flavor.” They never explained what happened to the spokescandies, and the reveal was bizarre. Nice try, red.

“All Walks of Life” | Skechers

Like my arches, I felt totally let down.

Remember when Snoop Doggy Dogg was on trial for first-degree murder and wrote the song “Murder Was the Case”? Well, now he’s the spokesperson for slip-on orthopedic shoes. And if that doesn’t make you feel old and confused for both Snoop and Skechers, well, I don’t know what to tell you.

“New Members Day” | Michelob ULTRA

Caddyshack? Celebrities? Jimmy Buckets dancing? How could you miss?

There were several nostalgic reboots last night—none more promising than this one. But it was little more than a re-creation of Caddyshack’s final scene, with a modern celebrity twist. It wasn’t horrible. But when you think about how much it cost to get all these celebrities together, on top of the $7 million ad buy, you need a drink of something stiffer than an ULTRA.