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A Postgame Look at Super Bowl Ads

After scoring their winning touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth quarter, the Kansas City Chiefs became the Super Bowl 57 champions on Sunday. Rihanna left fans happy with a very memorable solo halftime performance that was a true testament to her star power. And advertising fans got their fill. Brands stood out for spots that were splashy, charming—and generally heavy on celebrity appearances. Here’s a look at what three industry pubs had to say about the ads whose starting price was $7 million for a :30.   

Adweek’s editors noted that this was a big year for streamers, with Netflix, Tubi, Peacock and Paramount Plus all stepping up to play. Renowned musicians were among the famous who made appearances. P. Diddy protested that he doesn’t do jingles in Uber’s “One Hit for Uber One” ad. Rapper Jack Harlow, Missy Elliott and Elton John showcased their obsession with triangles—both the instrument and Doritos’ new Sweet & Tangy BBQ snack. Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl paid homage to all things Canadian — from fellow artists Joni Mitchell and Celine Dion, to the egg carton and ironing board, to football and Crown Royal whisky. Workday, a software used for finance and HR teams, called out the business world’s ubiquitous accolade of “rock star” with a surprising spot that included “real” rock star legends, capped off with a cameo from Ozzy Osbourne.

From singers to actors, Ad Age jokingly dubbed this year’s Super Bowl “The Way-Too-Many-Celebrities Bowl,” noting the star power present in a majority of ads. E-commerce platform Rakuten channeled ‘90s nostalgia by bringing back Cher Horowitz, Alicia Silverstone’s beloved Clueless character, to talk about ways she shops and saves. Dunkin’ surprised fans in Medford, Massachusetts, by getting Ben Affleck to work the drive-through before his wife, Jennifer Lopez, pulled up in a huff. Pepsi Zero Sugar split their money between funnymen Steve Martin and Ben Stiller for two spots titled, Great Acting or Great Taste? that urged viewers to try it for themselves. Squarespace had fans seeing multiple Adam Drivers, as “the website that makes websites” produced infinite clones of the actor. And Michelob Ultra invited a number of A-listers to the party when Serena Williams played golf with Brian Cox, Tony Romo and Alex Morgan, among others. 

Marketing Dive experts spotted a duality of themes. While some brands opted for sweetly relatable ads, others took bigger chances that sparked both controversy and discussion. DTC brand The Farmer’s Dog stole hearts with “Forever,” its 60-second spot about the unending bond between dogs and their human best friends. The Servant Foundation “He Gets Us” campaign ran a 30-second spot called “Be Childlike” followed by a 60-second “Love Your Enemies” ad, which resonated with some and also caused a stir with their religious messaging. M&M’s had fans laughing, yet scratching their heads, as Maya Rudolph promoted new clam-flavored candies—seemingly without explanation. And Tubi perhaps stole the show with its 15-second “Interface Interruption” that had viewers wondering if their TVs had glitched. “I was most surprised that the one streaming service I don’t already subscribe to had one of the best spots of the night,” said Myra Nussbaum, president and chief creative officer at Havas Chicago. “It got me to go to the site and find out that it’s an ad-supported free service, so I’ve already downloaded it on my devices and will be falling down the rabbit hole with Tubi.”

Overall, it was a night of ads that packed star power, heartwarming moments, discussion, and laughs.