The 16 best Super Bowl 2023 commercials

Featured clockwise L to R: Aaron Paul, Bryan Cranston; Alicia Silverstone, Serena Williams, Natasha Lyonne
Featured clockwise L to R: Aaron Paul, Bryan Cranston; Alicia Silverstone, Serena Williams, Natasha Lyonne
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The Super Bowl of advertising, also known as, well, the actual Super Bowl, brought out the celebs in a big way this year. Ben Affleck, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Bryan Cranston, Will Ferrell, John Hamm, Elton John, Maya Rudolph, Amy Schumer, Alicia Silverstone, Sylvester Stallone, Ben Stiller, Miles Teller, Steve Martin, and Serena Williams were among the stars doing their part to sell you stuff through the multimillion-dollar spots that aired during Super Bowl LVII.

One thing we didn’t see anyone endorsing this year? Crypto. The cryptocurrency promo blitz peaked during last year’s game, and those companies then spent the rest of the year imploding. Guess no one is eager to open themselves up to litigation over their role as spokesperson for an industry in freefall.

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That absence left room for a few new sponsors to get their messages out, but mostly we saw familiar brand names in the realms of food, beverages, cars, and, of course, entertainment (don’t miss our piece on all the new movie trailers that premiered during the game). Here are some of the commercials we thought did their job especially well this year.

16. Paramount+: “Stallone Face”


A Mountain of Entertainment | “Stallone Face” Big Game Commercial | Paramount+

Just about two weeks ago, Paramount announced that its streaming service Paramount+ would be absorbing premium cable network Showtime and rebranded as Paramount+ With Showtime. It wasn’t the smoothest rollout, and the timing of this Super Bowl ad doesn’t help with the overall impression that the studio doesn’t quite have its act together. Rather than using the spot to launch the freshly announced service, it promotes the old, soon-to-be-renamed platform. All that business stuff aside, watching Sylvester Stallone climb a giant rock carved into his own likeness—while being heckled by other personalities within the Paramount family, including his own daughters—is still pretty fun.

15. Crown Royal: “Thank You Canada”


Crown Royal x Super Bowl LVII - Thank You Canada (Short Version)

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, who is not Canadian, celebrates our neighbor to the north in this spot expressing gratitude for all the nation has given to the world. That includes legends of music (Rush, Joni Mitchell, Oscar Peterson, Celine Dion), heroes of comedy (the SCTV folks plus Seth Rogen), and numerous inventions like peanut butter, batteries, the electric wheelchair, and the whoopie cushion. Everyone knows hockey came from Canada, but apparently we also have them to thank for basketball and, most relevant to this context, football. Knowing there will be some skeptics out there, Grohl encourages viewers to look it up for themselves. This may be a commercial for Canadian whisky, but it’s probably going to give Google a boost too.

14. Workday: “Rock Star”


Workday Big Game Spot: Rock Star

Tired of seeing the business world throw around the term “rock star” indiscriminately, a group of actual rock stars appears in this ad to reclaim the title for themselves. Paul Stanley, Ozzy Osbourne, Joan Jett, Billy Idol, and more show up to remind everyone of their notorious exploits, like trashing hotel rooms and living out loud on the road. “I’ve done my share of bad things,” Osbourne confesses, “also your share of bad things.” Then they start showing up at people’s places of business to remind them who the real rock stars are (hint: it’s not the guys in the suits).

13. Doritos: “Jack’s New Angle”


Jack’s New Angle

Inspired the by shape of a Doritos chip, Jack Harlow leaves his rap career behind and takes up the triangle. He becomes a huge success and launches a whole triangle trend, impressing Missy Elliot and other stars before ultimately losing the award for “Triangle player of the year” to none other than Elton John. It’s a fun spot with a meta aspect to it—Harlow is about to pivot his career for real, making his acting debut in the upcoming remake White Man Can’t Jump, premiering on Hulu this May.

12. Uber One: “One Hit For Uber One”


UBER ONE - ONE HIT FOR UBER ONE

“Diddy don’t do jingles,” a rep for music superstar Sean “Diddy” Combs says at the beginning of this ad. Diddy quickly changes his tune when a trio of executives asks him instead for a “hit.” Now that’s something he can do. He enlists a series of musical collaborators and we get to see Montell Jordan, Donna Lewis, Kelis, Ylvis (yep, a “What Does The Fox Say?” reference in the year 2023), and Haddaway reinvent some of their most popular songs with new promotional lyrics. “Diddy is excited,” he tells the suits in a follow-up meeting. Unfortunately, they don’t share his enthusiasm.

11. Bud Light: “Hold”


BUD LIGHT HOLD | EASY TO DRINK, EASY TO ENJOY :60

After soaring to new heights in one of the top movies of last year, we imagine Miles Teller must be enjoying some well-earned downtime. How does he spend it? This ad would have us believe he adorkably dances to hold music to amuse his frustrated wife Keleigh while she waits for someone to pick up a customer-service call. She soon joins in and the two make the most out of an annoying situation by sweetly cutting a rug together. Celebrities, they’re so relatable!

10. M&M’S: “Ma&Ya’s”


Yum 😉

Making the most of the ridiculous controversy driven by certain right-wing personalities who can’t get over the fact that they’re no longer turned on by a sentient piece of candy, M&M’S announced last month that they were replacing all of their “spokescandies” with Maya Rudolph. As much as we love Rudolph, it’s hard to imagine M&M’S World filled with merchandise bearing her likeness instead of the familiar characters. This has been an obvious promotional stunt from the start (in the tradition of Planter’s killing off Mr. Peanut and IHOP changing their name to IHOB), but a series of ads aired throughout the game finally put the issue to rest. At least we hope so.

9. Dunkin’ Donuts: “Drive-Thru”


Dunkin’ ‘Drive-Thru’ Starring Ben

Imagine ordering donuts from a guy with a thick Boston accent at a drive-thru, then discovering when you get to the window that it’s actually famous donut connoisseur Ben Affleck behind the mic. The reactions of the unsuspecting customers are all amusing (even the one who has no idea who he is), but the best reaction is Affleck’s when his wife, J-Lo, pulls up to the window (in a minivan!) and asks him what he’s doing there. “Grab me a glazed!” she demands of the flustered Affleck, who’s embarrassed in front of his new Dunkin’ friends. It’s a cute stunt that mixes scripted and unscripted elements to great effect.

8. GM and Netflix: “Why Not An EV?”


Why not an EV? | GM x Netflix

Thanks to a brand partnership deal, we can expect to see more of GM’s electric vehicles in upcoming Netflix movies and shows, and they’ve teamed up with Will Ferrell to get the word out. The spot throws Ferrell into some of Netflix’s most popular titles, including Army Of The Dead, Squid Game, Bridgerton (they “shan’t” be adding EVs to the regency romance, they just had to work it in somehow), and Stranger Things. Ferrell doesn’t have any projects coming to Netflix in the near future that we’re aware of, but after seeing him dressed up in regency fashion for the Bridgerton bit we wouldn’t mind seeing him in a period drama—minus the car, of course.

7. Busch Light: “Shelter”


The Busch Guide: Cold + Smooth Survival Skills

It’s always endearing when celebrities show us they don’t take themselves too seriously. This ad begins as an outdoor survival guide, but at the mention of the word “shelter,” musician and animal rights activist Sarah McLachlan peeks out of a tent to give her familiar pitch for “a few dollars a day to help helpless animals.” We even hear “Angel” playing over images of wildlife, a reference to her charity pleas that have been running for years on late-night TV. It’s kind of a one-note joke but a solid one, and it’s nice to see a lighter side of McLachlan. We hope she knows how many times she’s made us cry.

6. Michelob Ultra: “New Members Day”


ULTRA Club | New Members Day

Serena Williams is Chevy Chase to Brian Cox’s Rodney Dangerfield/Ted Knight amalgam in this homage to the classic golf comedy Caddyshack. For the sake of nostalgia bait, they manage to squeeze in plenty of references to the film’s iconic lines and moments in just a minute of screen time. There are even cameos from original Caddyshack cast members, including Danny Noonan himself, Michael O’Keefe, advising Williams to “be the ball.” The gopher is surprisingly absent, though. Maybe he wanted too much money to reprise his role.

5. Pepsi Zero Sugar: “Great Acting Or Great Taste?”


Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LVII Teaser #2 | Ben Stiller & Steve Martin

Following a few teasers that had Ben Stiller and Steve Martin interacting with each other, they each got their own spot (a first-time Super Bowl appearance for both) to show off their acting skills. You can watch Martin’s here and Stiller’s here. They’re both enjoyable in their own ways (Stiller even reprises his Zoolander character) but frankly, we prefer the earlier ones where they’re just standing side by side, riffing and poking fun at each other. Maybe it will lead to them working together at some point in the future?

4. Poker Face: “Charlie Calls Bulls*t”


Poker Face Super Bowl Ad | Charlie Calls Bullsh*t

Commercials often play fast and loose with the truth, and no one knows that better than Charlie Cale, Natasha Lyonne’s character in the Peacock series Poker Face. In a demonstration of her uncanny ability to tell when someone is lying, she comments specifically on several of the actual ads that have played during the game. We—along with the man sitting next to her at the bar—find out that the actors in an unspecified beer commercial hate each other, the kid in the Pixel ad is really 19 years old, and the M&M’S characters never left. The ad was created in conjunction with Google Pixel and M&M’S to make it seem like Charlie is watching the game in real-time along with the audience. It’s a clever twist, but it’s Lyonne’s Charlie who really makes it work.

3. PopCorners: “Breaking Good”


PopCorners Breaking Bad Super Bowl Commercial | Breaking Good 60

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been a decade since we said goodbye to Walt and Jesse in the final episode of Breaking Bad. They haven’t been completely gone from our screens, though, most recently popping up in the final season of Better Call Saul last year. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul aren’t getting any younger, so we can’t blame them for milking these characters for all their worth while they still can. The real unexpected treat of this commercial is getting to see Raymond Cruz do his thing as Tuco one more time. He’s “tight tight tight!”

2. Rakuten: “Not-so Clueless”


The Extended Cher Cut | Rakuten Commercial

We’ll admit it—we’re suckers for a good nostalgic callback. While some actors would prefer to leave their iconic characters in the past and focus on the present and future, Alicia Silverstone seems quite happy to return to her Clueless character after all these years. We’re grateful she did. Seeing her slip right back into Cher—unique inflections and all—is downright delightful. These kinds of throwbacks don’t always work for a commercial, but we have no problem believing that Cher would be tapped to endorse an online shopping marketplace. Fashion designer and Project Runway winner Christian Siriano, who recreated the famous yellow plaid suit for the commercial, also makes a well-earned cameo.

1. Squarespace: “The Singularity”


The Singularity (Extended) | Big Game Commercial 2023 | Squarespace

The only thing better than Adam Driver in a Super Bowl commercial is an infinite amount of Adam Drivers. Squarespace has a reputation for delivering some of the best ads to air during the game, and this year is no exception. This stylish, sci-fi-inspired spot finds Driver tripping out over the concept of a website that makes websites. The visual design and effects are next level, and Driver gets the tonal nuance just right, balancing self-seriousness with self-deprecation. It has all the ambition of a big feature film packed into a trim one and a half minutes.

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