In a Super Bowl full of movie stars and movie-themed ads, it’s fitting that the top-scoring ad comes from Disney, whose 100-year anniversary celebration is crammed with famous faces and big moments. From 1923’s Steamboat Willie to 2022's Avatar sequel, when Disney deploys its full armory of characters a high-scoring ad is almost guaranteed. And a major anniversary is the perfect opportunity. Unfair advantage? Maybe, but that’s what 100 years of quality brings you.
M&Ms’ move to ditch their ‘spokescandies’ for their main Super Bowl ad paid off with this follow-up just after the game concluded, which saw the iconic characters return. The first ad, with Maya Rudolph’s clam-flavored replacements, scored a rock-bottom 1-Star. And as the game minutes ticked by it looked like M&Ms might have made a historic fumble by not restoring the candies in time. At the last minute, though, they returned and the audience loved it, pushing M&Ms into 2nd place on the night. The publicity around the stunt and the warm welcome back underline how crucial Fluent Device characters like this can be to brands.
Grease is the word, nostalgia is the theme. One of the best of the several 2023 ads that harked back to classic movies or TV shows, with John Travolta updating his famous “Summer Nights” performance to sing the praises of T-Mobile broadband alongside Zach Braff and Donald Faison. Braff and Faison are clearly thrilled to be appearing alongside a legend, and all three men are having a great time – one that’s infectious for the audience who rated this one 4-Stars despite some very corny lyrics.
A rollercoaster of emotional storytelling from Amazon, advertising their Prime shopping service with the story of a lonely dog. The ad pulls a bait-and-switch with the viewer, building up sadness and fear as you believe Sawyer’s family might decide to give up the misbehaving dog. Fortunately, they come up with a better plan. It’s the top scoring storytelling ad in our Top 10 and a classic of the genre, with a powerful emotional journey for the viewer.
Last year Doritos scored a 4-Star ad with cartoon animals dancing to “Push It”. This year it’s the turn of Jeep and “Electric Slide”, with beasts of every kind lining up to do the slide and Shaggy handling vocal duties. Animals tend to be a Super Bowl crowd-pleaser and Jeep’s are no exception. The electric vehicle connection may be a stretch but in a Super Bowl short on great automotive ads Jeep got the basics right: entertain for commercial gain.
Serena Williams joined Succession’s Brian Cox and a star celebrity lineup for an ad paying tribute to 1980 golf comedy Caddyshack. Michelob packed plenty of visual gags into their quickfire ad and tapped this year’s most successful theme of nostalgia and cultural references. A strong 4-Star performance for a beer ad.
Paramount+ may not be able to match Disney for famous names, but they do have a mountain with a giant stone Stallone face. And they have Sly himself, who tries to scale the peak in this weird but memorable entry in the “streaming wars”. A strong 4-Star score shows viewers liked the surrealism, the humor and the lineup of famous Paramount+ faces like Captain Kirk.
A pet that’s been with the family a long time is a living library of memories and love, and Super Bowl newcomers The Farmer’s Dog make that point beautifully in this heart-warming ad. The Farmer’s Dog’s preservative-free dog food is designed to keep dogs happy and healthy so they can enjoy more years as part of a family, and viewers loved this simple but well-executed spot bringing that idea to life. The Farmer’s Dog are the top Super Bowl debutante of 2023, and proof that in-house ads can compete at the top level.
Real-life couple Miles Teller and Keleigh Sperry star in an unusual but very successful beer ad, which swaps in-your-face celebrity cameos for a fun, romantic moment. The fact that this moment is created by that scourge of modern life, on-hold music, only adds to the creativity. A TikTok-inspired Super Bowl ad which feels like few others, and one of the high points of the night. Fortunately, the public liked it too, earning Bud Light a strong 4-Star score.
Snack brand Popcorners are new to the big game and make the most of their shot with a great use of cultural references – something that we very often see associated with high effectiveness. Breaking Bad’s Walter and Jesse are the stars here, making baked snacks instead of meth, and the ad milks that incongruity beautifully. A well-deserved 4-Stars for this Super Bowl debut.