Top 5 Ads
By Royer Lopez
This year’s Super Bowl served up quite the spectacle with an amazing game, a controversial call at the end, a breathtaking performance from RiRi (shining bright like a diamond!), and of course, the star-studded TV ads. With an approximate asking price of $7 million for a 30-second spot, advertisers put their money where their mouth is and brought the star power to the big game.
Are we in 2023 or the 2010’s? Nostalgia stole the show in this year’s ads led by humor and an obvious effort to reach and connect with a younger audience. Brands leaned on humor as a way to connect with consumers while seeing familiar faces in interesting places. The cast from Clueless made a theatrical appearance for Rakuten to convince you not to be clueless when shopping, while Walter White from Breaking Bad cooked up the recipe for Frito Lay’s new popcorn sensation Popcorners.
As consumers emerge from post-COVID trials, economic instability, and diplomatic unrest (Chinese spy balloons), brands brought back the laugh with heartfelt ads that frankly just make you crack a smile. Simple humor and relatability led the way with Miles Teller and his wife on hold drinking a Bud Light while Ben Affleck served up some doughnuts in the Dunkin’ Drive-thru with a snappy JLo pulling up.
Overall the stars came to play, whether it made you crack a smile, crack a beer open, or almost crack the tv screen when Tubi took over. Here are some standouts!
# 1 Ad that best gave a damn
Hellmann’s US- Who’s in the Fridge
To fight food waste in the US, Hellmann’s mayonnaise looked to make a splash (or a sandwich) with notable actress Brie (like the cheese) Larson and actor John Hamm ( but the deli). The ad figuratively delivers Brie and Ham as leftovers in a fridge while Pete Davidson opens the fridge to cook up a, you guessed it, Brie and Ham sandwich with some Hellmann’s Mayo. As Hellmann’s claims on their site, in the US, 43% of all food wasted occurs in our very homes, so if Pete Davidson can do his part in using leftovers in his fridge, so should you, with the help of some Hellmann’s Mayonnaise.
# 2 Who touched the remote?!
Tubi: Interface Interruption
If you are like most people, messing with the tv remote while the biggest game of the year is going on will drive you into a frenzy. Drive us into a frenzy, Tubi did. It took 15 seconds, but in an abrupt moment during the 4th quarter, Tubi ran a clever ad that made it seem as if the remote was changing the app being used to watch the game. In one of the most critical moments of the game, the screen proceeded to land on the movie “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” on the Tubi Smart TV app, sending the whole country into chaos, thinking the TV had been messed with. Now the whole world knows exactly what Tubi is: genius.
# 3 Is that Walter White?
Popcorners: Breaking Good
Now let’s get to the point. We all know what Breaking Bad is about, it is considered one of the greatest shows of all time (GSOAT), and the main characters are about as memorable as they can get. Ready to Eat ( RTE) popcorn is one of the trendiest categories of snacks in the US, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.56% over the next five years, driven by flavor innovation. You bring together the GSOAT and the popularity of popcorn, and you get this absolute masterclass of an ad. Frito-Lay brings the flavors in introducing not just one but seven different flavors of their popcorn sensation Popcorners through an obvious play on the plot of Breaking Bad. Great job, Frito-Lay. Now I have to give the spicy queso ones a try.
# 4 We’ve all been there.
Bud Light: East to Drink, Easy to Enjoy
Where isn’t Miles Teller these days? After a groundbreaking performance on Top Gun, we just can’t get enough of him. Along with his wife Keleigh and dog Bugsy, they show the dread of the oh-so-popular hold tone we have all come accustomed to knowing and make it an enjoyable 56+ minutes on hold with the help of an easy-to-drink Bud Light. In a relatable and lighthearted spot, Bud Light delivers on their product message and appeases the masses. Don’t believe me? Just look at the overwhelmingly positive response to the ad in the commentary on youtube. Absolutely nailed it, Bud Light.
# 5 The People’s Choice
Amazon: Saving Sawyer
Dogs and more dogs. Amazon got us in our feels in this heartfelt ad, initially taking place in a pandemic-stricken setting of remote work and school. The ad follows the story of a family that decided to adopt a dog, Sawyer, during that time. When the harsh reality of the family returning to pre-pandemic routines started affecting the dog’s behavior, measures had to be taken to address the issue. In a clever “you thought” moment, the family orders a crate with the audience believing it’s for Sawyer, but turns out they adopted another dog to keep Sawyer company while the family is away. “Saving Sawyer” has been one of the top-rated ads and delivers on its message. Amazon also delivers on the shortfalls of most Super Bowl ads in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The diverse cast in the ad can be spotted with a “quieres pollito?” question in spanish from the dad, indicating the bilingualism in the family. Representation for the win!
Best of the Best
It wouldn’t be an ad review if we didn’t tell you our favorite ads from the day. A few fAmélie members, Christine Cowan and Katelyn Aberle, took some time to share their favorite ad(s) and why they were enamored with them.
I would say I’m torn between the two loves of my life: dogs and doughnuts. Both the Farmer’s Dog and Amazon’s “Saving Sawyer” pulled at the heartstrings but delivered the appropriate message loud and clear. Does anyone find it interesting that the top 2 rated ads have dogs at the center of them? Especially in our dog-loving Denver community, we tend to embrace our four-legged friends with more gusto than the standard resident, so it doesn’t come as a surprise. Moving on to doughnuts – I missed this one live but LOVE it, especially with the rug pull at the end with J. Lo pulling up to the window. Perhaps a little less deliberate about the product message, but certainly, it leverages that celebrity caché and presents both the actors and the brand as “real.” Who doesn’t love a doughnut? And Ben? And Bennifer? And I would be remiss if I didn’t give an honorable mention to the Workplace “Rock Stars” spot. So clever and expensive, but it makes you think twice about your HR tools.
Bud Light: Hold
I loved this spot with Miles and Keleigh Teller. It captured the initial frustration of being on hold so well and beautifully set up a sweet, genuine-feeling moment between the couple—showing that you can have fun even in the most frustrating and monotonous of times. Another thing I loved about this spot: it was simple but memorable. So many brands try so hard, with so many stunts, for the Super Bowl, but this one showed its success in the simplicity. Bud Light getting the star of one of 2022’s biggest movies and capturing his easy-going, fun-loving personality (the double beer can open!!) in a sweet spot hit the mark, for sure.