Dunkin’ | Drive-Thru
Cubery Rating: 78
Ben Affleck serving your morning Dunkin’ (Donuts) was a hit, with the Hollywood A-Lister’s encounters with real-world customers delighting viewers. While the hidden camera concept wasn’t especially new and original (particularly among the big budget productions of other Super Bowl advertisers), the ad nonetheless delivered. Importantly, the Dunkin’ brand wasn’t forgotten — remaining front-and-center during the ad’s most warmhearted and amusing moments, guaranteeing it’ll be the one to benefit from the positivity generated.
“I love how this ad used a Boston actor to work at a Dunkin’. The fact that a celebrity and normal people can be seen at a Dunkin’ makes it even more relatable.”
PopCorners | Breaking Good
Cubery Rating: 77
Tapping into the nostalgia of iconic television programs or movies isn’t exactly a new phenomenon for Super Bowl Sunday — you only need to look as far as General Motors’ ad featuring Dr. Evil and Chevrolet’s Sopranos-inspired spot from last year — and it’s easy to see why. If brought to life in a way which does our favorite characters justice, a trip down memory lane can be a highly effective shortcut to emotional appeal. Though Heisenberg has appeared in the big game before, PopCorners’ reunion of Breaking Bad’s beloved crew (including our favorite maniac, Tuco) created a highly amusing story which elevated the product’s appeal.
“Best ad I have seen in quite some time. The nostalgia factor alone is priceless. Bringing the band back together, using a blue bag - just masterful.”
Pringles | Best of Us
Cubery Rating: 70 (+5 vs. 2022)
Unlike other brands who threw out last year’s Super Bowl script and started again from scratch in 2023, Pringles is a brand which understands the power of consistency, digging deeper again into the can of potential. This chip off the old block ditched the sad undertones of 2022 to instead celebrate the variety of people (the ‘Best of Us’) who had gotten their hand stuck in a Pringles can. And it’s a great thing they went back for more: such a unique, relatable — and, most importantly, ownable — insight is hard to find. And if it can be leveraged as both a source of humor and a testament to the product’s tastiness, then effectiveness is the advertisers’ ultimate reward.
“I kind of liked that they highlighted getting stuck in the can. No other product has that distinctive of a quality.”
Avocados from Mexico | Make it Better
Cubery Rating: 70 (+15 vs. 2022)
The Cinderella story of 2023 came courtesy of Avocados from Mexico, who rebounded in a massive way from last year’s effort. The star power of Anna Faris grabbed viewers’ attention from the outset; however, this wasn’t the only reason for the brand’s dramatic change in fortunes. While the 2022 execution made the brand a secondary priority in favor of a quirky medieval narrative, ‘Make it Better’ was much more effective at drawing attention to the fruit. As a result, people were able to more clearly link the product to the message, building considerably stronger predisposition in the process.
“This is so unique and even with the naked people, it kept the avocados looking delicious.”
Pepsi Zero Sugar | Great Acting or Great Taste?
Cubery Rating: 68
Pepsi No Sugar was another to harness the power of celebrity; however, it was the specific choice of ambassador that enabled ‘Great Acting or Great Taste’ to outgun its competitors’ celeb-rified executions. Pepsi’s fun and cheeky brand personality fit seamlessly with both Ben Stiller and Steve Martin, allowing the brand to deliver its humorous message both credibly and with a sense of authenticity. As a result, while the “try it for yourself” call-to-action didn’t strongly incite an immediate behavioral response, the overall narrative built lots of warmth and positivity toward the soda brand (which we know will hold it in good stead in the long-term).
“I very much liked the actors in the commercial. They made the ad come alive.”
Planters | The Roast of Mr. Peanut
Cubery Rating: 67
Planters’ approach toward promoting its roasted peanuts consisted of roasting a peanut. It’s as simple as that. While the execution didn’t quite make it to the knee-slapping sector of the humor department, the 30 second spot was pleasant and engaging enough to get onto viewers’ good side. Crucially, though, it was the narrative’s simplicity and single-mindedness which gave the brand’s iconic mascot an unmistakable role, enabling Planters to benefit even without saying much about the product itself.
“Nothing really stood out about the ad other than it was for Planters.”
Hellmann’s | Who’s in the Fridge?
Cubery Rating: 64 (-4 vs. 2022)
Which is more captivating — miniature celebrities, or ex-pro football players slam tackling civilians? The results are in, and it’s bad news for mini Brie Larsson and mini Jon Hamm (or civilians for that matter!). Whereas Hellmann’s 2022 spot featured the comedic display of linebacker Jerod Mayo piledriving people for their wasteful food habits, the 2023 creative took a noticeably more toned-down approach. That said, the lighthearted banter of two well-known celebrities conveyed a pleasant message around how Hellmann’s helps improve leftovers.
“I liked the idea of the characters being small enough to fit inside the refrigerator. I also liked the clever way that two products/names were put together to make something delicious out of the brand being advertised.”
Doritos | Jack’s New Angle
Cubery Rating: 60 (-22 vs. 2022)
Coming into the 2023 Super Bowl our eyes weren’t fixated on Rihanna, but on Doritos instead. How would the brand follow-up last year’s red-hot collaboration with Cheetos? Sadly, we were left a little baffled. While sticking to a musical theme, ‘Jack’s New Angle’ felt more like a reversion to cheesy star power and outlandish stories — with little role for the iconic chips themselves. Doritos have been lauded for their experimental ‘brandless’ ownership of the triangle shape, but the chips’ role as coincidental inspiration for the story did little to link Doritos to ‘trying another angle’ — instead, the brand was left undifferentiated, much like the angles of an equilateral triangle.
“The triangle made sense with the shape of the Doritos chip, but I didn't really get it.”
Oikos | Sanders Family Reunion
Cubery Rating: 60
Oikos’ battle of strength continued in 2023. While 2022 saw Deion Sanders and his son, Shedeur, come to blows in an effort to prove who was “strongerer”, this year saw the Sanders competition expand to include the whole family (with Grandpa Deion played by regular Deion himself). While the familiar theme struck a chord with some people, many others were left scratching their heads as to how it all related to the brand and what message it was trying to convey.
“This ad missed the mark for me. It was way more about the Sanders family than Oikos. Cute ad, but very minimal product content in my opinion.”
M&M’s | Ma&Ya’s
Cubery Rating: 52
Notwithstanding the deliberate attempt to elicit feelings of cringeworthy-ness, M&M’s spot still failed to deliver in almost any respect. While the bizarre narrative featuring Maya Rudolph in a world where chocolate is replaced by clams succeeded in catching people’s attention, this was mostly a function of people’s intensely negative response, with the ad eliciting high levels of annoyance and irritation. More so, the strange dreamlike concept was at odds with people’s expectations of the brand. Needless to say, resulting positivity toward the brand or predisposition to purchase the usually fun-loving candy was severely hampered.
“If they were trying to sell me on M&M's they failed miserably.”