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The Best 2023 Super Bowl Ads


Last night, Rihanna took to the stage for an instantly iconic performance/baby announcement and advertisers flocked to the occasion to capture millions of eyeballs with their most creative and star-studded spots. Also, there was some football. It was truly an unforgettable night any way you look at it, but since this is a marketing blog and not a Rihanna stan account (unfortunately) we will look at the ads. 

Best Use of Nostalgia: Clueless, Rakuten
I may be biased because Clueless is one of my favorite movies, but this reboot was pitch-perfect. Plus, it made sense for the brand. Who better to promote a site that offers cash back for shopping than the queen of shopping herself, Cher Horowitz?

Best Story: Jack’s New Angle: Doritos
This spot had it all; an inciting incident, a climax and a twist ending featuring a surprise celebrity cameo. Are the nominations still open for best short film?!

Best Use of Celebs: Rock Star, Workday
Super Bowl ads are no stranger to random celebrities coming together to hawk some goods, but some are more successful than others. Workday brought together a bevy of aging rockstars to take back the moniker from Steve in accounts receivable in a funny, memorable ad that actually used its celebrities well instead of forcing them into an ill-fitting narrative.

Best Use of Boston Accents: Brighter Boston, Sam Adams
Yes, this is a deeply specific category, but I wanted to include it because it was one of the few genuinely funny spots – a utopic, brighter version of Boston thanks to Sam Adams Brighter. Also, I like Boston accents.

Made Me Consider Abandoning Apple: Fixed on Pixel
As entertaining as many of these ads were, the true test of an ad is if it inspires purchases. Now, I haven’t owned anything other than an iPhone since I had a Blackberry (as if my love of Clueless didn’t date me enough already!), but the Google Pixel ad featuring its amazing photo editing options had me considering my Apple loyalty. Of course, I’ll never actually give up my iPhone, but I am looking forward to the day they roll out this feature for themselves.

Best Twist Ending: Cold + Smooth Survival Skills, Busch  
Did it make sense for a beer commercial to make an ASPCA joke? Probably not, but you definitely didn’t see a Sarah McLachlan cameo coming and the surprise factor alone makes it memorable.

Weepiest: Forever, The Farmer’s Dog
Look, making people laugh is hard. But making them cry is a whole lot easier, especially when you use an adorable dog. It may be a cheap ploy, but its an effective one that helped it stay in my mind when many spots have already been forgotten.

Most Relatable: Hold, Bud Light
We’ve all been on hold for so long we start vibing to the hold music, right? This adorable ad turned something mind-numbing into the ultimate romantic gesture just in time for Valentine’s Day. Of course, I did forget it was for Bud Light until I looked it up this morning, so…

Worst Reliance on Out-Dated Tropes: Binky Dad, Kia
Dads don’t know anything about their own kids! Isn’t that hysterical?!

Most Confusing: Make it Better, Avocados from Mexico
What? Avocados fixed humanity and the only thing wrong with humanity is we’re ashamed of our naked bodies? Why is Ana Ferris in this? Do avocados really need to advertise? Nothing about this spot makes sense.

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