A few notes before we dive into a review of the best and worst of the 2023 Super Bowl commercials:
- As always, I have separated the ads into three categories: Good, Bad, and Ugly
- I have not included every ad, just the ones that merited an official response, for any number of reasons
- I am an Eagles fan and I’m not doing great in the aftermath of that game, so please understand that as you scroll down
- The nostalgia and cameos were a little out of control but at least there were no crypto ads this year, which we have to consider progress
Baby steps. Here we go.
- A twist I did not see coming after years of various commercials about beers doing battle on football fields
- A weird reminder that Miller, Coors, and Blue Moon are all owned by the same company
Still. A good time.
I’m the guy who just pitched about a half-dozen movies where Ben Affleck plays a Dunkin employee or customer, and I’m writing this with a medium Dunkin coffee sitting about 18 inches to my left, so I could be biased. I don’t know. This commercial had every opportunity to be very stupid and it came off almost… charming (?) and I think we should acknowledge that. Good for Ben.
It’s always tricky to thrust a meme into the real world. Even trickier when it’s thrust into a full-on Super Bowl commercial, where lots of people who are less than internet savvy are tuning in and capable of getting really confused really fast. This was cute, though. I’m so thrilled for my dude here. Let him become the new full-time spokesman. Give him free food for life. Me, too. Give us both free food for life. I think we’ve earned it.
Three notes about these two commercials:
- I was predisposed to liking them because I love Will Ferrell and Danny McBride and you could honestly put them in an ad for anything, even a product designed to kick me — like, just me, specifically — in the kneecaps twice a day and I would still be like “those are some good dudes”
- It would’ve been funny if one of the Netflix shows they slipped Will Ferrell into was American Vandal and he was just spray painting dicks all over some electric cars
- More commercials should give Danny McBride a golf cart and some sort of weapon
This is cheating. This commercial for Wawa aired only in the Philadelphia area before the game. Not even during it. And yes, it’s tainted a little bit by the fact that my beloved Eagles lost in heartbreaking fashion. I do not care. I love hoagies very much. This one makes the cut.
I’m sorry. I am. But if you give me a sweet little commercial about a rascal dog who gets a surprise little buddy at the end, I’m going to put it in the GOOD category. These are the rules.
Watch The Dawn Project’s #SuperBowl ad demonstrate critical safety defects in @Tesla Full Self-Driving. 6 months ago we reported FSD would run down a child. Tesla hasn't even fixed that! To focus their attention, @NHTSAgov must turn off FSD until Tesla fixes all safety defects. pic.twitter.com/AxJbN5oOSr
— Dan O'Dowd (@RealDanODowd) February 11, 2023
There is controversy here, sure. And maybe a commercial about cars demolishing children could bring the vibes of your Super Bowl party down a little. I get that. But I do love the idea of spending millions of dollars to roast your enemies in front of the whole world. This is what I would do if I had a billion dollars. I would buy up huge ad blocks just to bust on people who have wronged me. I have no choice but to respect this on principle.
There’s really nothing wrong with this. It’s fine. It’s lovely. I’m glad to see Alicia Silverstone doing things and getting checks for them. I’m just kind of upset that I’m now old enough that it’s my age group getting pandered to in these commercials. I do not enjoy that. More of a me thing. My apologies to Ms. Silverstone.
Lots of musicians doing various ads for various things. Rock stars and one-hit wonders and Diddy, all in there doing it. I did not expect to see Donna Lewis in a Super Bowl commercial, this year or almost any year, which is not so much a comment on Donna Lewis — a sweet woman, I’m sure — as it is on the nature of time and the way it marches on. My biggest problem with any of it is that I have all of these stuck in my head now. Gonna be a long week.
While I certainly appreciate that The Big Game is embracing its female viewers of a certain age, and there is something to be said for making these discussions more open and acceptable, I just, as a general matter, do not enjoy advertisements for medicine during the Super Bowl. Do not make me contemplate my mortality during a football game. It’s a simple request.
ON ONE HAND: I love these guys and am always happy to have them on my television together again.
ON THE OTHER HAND: It is also okay to just, like, let old things go and try to create new things. There’s an allure to nostalgia, especially when everyone is spending close to eight figures for a 60-second clip, but you could probably get the same lizard brain response from me — “OO OO LOOGIT THE TEEVEE” — by putting a cool dog on a skateboard and rolling him through an amusement park. Free idea for anyone who wants it. Probably a lot cheaper. Here to help.
Babies should not get married.
There, I said it.
I watched this again this morning and I cannot for the life of me figure out why it happened. I bet you didn’t even remember what the ad was for until you looked at the little words on the YouTube link just now. Why are JD and Turk from Scrubs singing Grease songs with John Travolta? How did we get here? It’s like someone just tossed some ideas in a blender and hit Purée. I don’t know. Maybe next year just let Donald Faison do his “Poison” dance for 60 seconds. I would enjoy that.
Okay, bullet points:
- This was a sweet commercial and I love these dogs very much
- I do not want to feel this many emotions during the freaking Super Bowl
- DO NOT MAKE ME CRY
Here’s the problem: We’ve only had like four Super Bowls in the last 20 years that didn’t feature either the Patriots and/or Tom Brady. We went through an era there where everything was Boston. Scorsese made a movie set there. The Town happened. It got to be kind of a lot. I’m still sick of it. Enough. Gimme a break. Moratorium on all Boston-related things until 2030. I say all of this while knowing three things:
- I just put the Affleck Dunkin ad in the GOOD section even though it is the most Boston thing ever created
- People are starting to get sick of Philadelphia things happening everywhere, even if I’m a little blind to it because Philadelphia things are MY things (see above, re: Wawa)
- This is all just extremely petty of me
I feel okay about it.
I was so mad when I realized what was happening here. I’m still mad. You can’t do this to people. It’s not right.
There should be a law. I’m serious. Like, I’m really very serious. I’m going to write a letter and put it in the mail.
The Mr. Peanut business is out of control. One year he died. Then he was a baby and a teen. Now, he’s getting “roasted.” Get it? Do you get it? Because it has two meanings. Very deep stuff here.
Maybe I’m still on edge after the Tommy Lee thing from last week. I probably am. I might never get over that. This is not how I intended to close out my review of the 2023 Super Bowl commercials, with a reference to the thing where Tommy Lee from Motley Crue tweeted a picture of his testicles to the official verified Mr. Peanut account, but a lot of things didn’t work out how I intended in the last 24 hours.
It’s fine. I’m fine. I told you things could get weird.