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14th February 2023

Ads that scored a touchdown at Super Bowl 2023

Who got it right this year? Amy Houlihan investigates...

From Fenty Beauty to Anytime Fitness we take a look into which brands hit the right note at the Super Bowl LVII.

The Super Bowl has yet again captured attention across the globe, as both marketeers and normal folk get sucked into the game, the stars in attendance and, of course, the big-budgeted ads. This year it’s clear which brands scored a touchdown. Plot twist: it’s not who you might think.

With a hefty $7 million price tag for a commercial, this year’s advertisers pulled out all of the stops during their 30-seconds of fame. But after years of the same, high production ads, viewers are becoming less and less engaged. Sunday night saw most brands trying to combat this with, as AdWeek poetically puts it, ‘bludgeon viewers into paying attentions through the power of celebrity’, with even Ozzy Osborne and Kiss’ Paul Stanley being amongst the celebs to feature in a cameo.

So, if the commercials this year have come in short, which ads made it work?

Arguably, the halftime show engaged viewers far more than any other part of the extravaganza, as there was already a massive hype over Rihanna taking to the stage for the first time since 2016.  But she didn’t choose to promote new music during the 13-minute performance. Instead, she chose to promote a powder from her beauty brand, Fenty Beauty, which has become an iconic part of her routine.

Where brands have paid millions for a shot in the limelight, Rihanna used a clever product placement during her air time to ensure her brand was front and centre for millions of viewers, with Google Trends showing a 4x spike in searches for ‘Fenty Beauty’ after the performance. Not only that, but the moment has even started to become immortalised in the history of the Super Bowl, with the internet going feral for it, and ensuring both the singer and her brands remain a hot topic to talk about in the aftermath of the day.

But where does this leave brands who’s founder isn’t performing in the halftime show? Grabbing hold of Super Bowl clout whichever way they can. Take Anytime Fitness, who are offering a free holiday of your choosing by simply tweeting when they heard the word ‘anytime’ with #justheardanytime, being said during the broadcast.  Aside from some traditional ad spend, Anytime Fitness put themselves in the forefront of viewers minds for much longer than the typical 30-second ad slot through this campaign and generated thousands of tweets dedicated to them.

Sure, there’s lessons to be learned both on and off the pitch during this year’s Super Bowl and I guess we’ll just have to wait 264 days now until we see brands taking on the winning guerrilla marketing tactics.

If you missed it, then you can check out 12 of the commercials here including Missy Elliott and Breaking Bad.

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