Studio A List: Rating Super Bowl Ads 2023

Dan Passante

Posted by
Dan Passante on

Feb 14, 2023

Studio A List is the place to get all Akullian Creative’s opinions, insights and analyses on the latest trending topics. In this edition, we take a look at the best and worst of ads from Super Bowl LVII.

There are commercials, then there are Super Bowl commercials. 

“Creative” is literally a part of our name. Despite our affinity for how the rest of the world plays football, we did watch the cable event of the year, if for no other reason than to see some great commercials. 

As usual, there were good, bad and great ads that got our attention for one reason or another. Rather than sending tweets ranging from scathing to infatuating, we’ve taken a few days to gather our thoughts, add some analysis, and include them in this blog. 

Here are the Aces’ ratings for commercials that are overrated, underrated and just right.  

Overrated: Uber One

We’ll get to Tubi in a moment, but to underscore how much room for improvement Uber One has from their commercial featuring Diddy, take a look at the Google Trends from Super Sunday:

Maybe Uber has internal goals for this commercial that were reached, but these results are not showing a win on the outside. Tubi got a long and sustained boost in web searches from their commercial, Uber did not, going right back down to nothing after a short spike when their commercial aired. 

Yes, this commercial had stars in it (if that’s what you call the guy who wrote “What Does the Fox Say”). Yes, we know what it was about: Uber One. It was lacking one thing: “it.” You can’t define “it” in an ad, but you know it when you see it, and this Uber One ad didn’t have “it.” This didn’t stand out enough to be a winner in our book. 

Overrated: Blue Moon

People thought, including us for a while, that this was Blue Moon cleverly showing their competitors fighting for our attention, but did you know that Molson Coors owns all three beers shown in this ad? See for yourself on the Molson Coors brands page.

The boldness goes away once you realize this was not a shot at their competitors, they are the competitors being shown in this commercial. This is smart on Molson’s end, but not bold. It would have been one thing if the guys in the ad were arguing over Corona Light and Bud Light while Blue Moon smoothly steals the spotlight at the end. Instead, this is two dudes arguing over which watery Molson Coors beer is the best.

Underrated: The Farmer’s Dog 

I’m not crying, you’re crying.   

Let’s take a moment to point out some of the genius of this ad. Think about how many families are watching this game with a dog in the house. If the dog isn’t old now, it will be at some point. This commercial is not just trying to get through to a specific group of people, but a huge specific group of people. 

Budweiser used to be the brand that brought tears to our eyes with puppies at the Super Bowl party every year, but not only does The Farmer’s Dog show them that two can play at that game, but they actually sell dog food. The Farmer’s Dog has a call to action that fits their commercial, although Budweiser does deserve credit for selling us on the “I like dogs, I can’t wait to drink that beer” logic for so many years.

Underrated: Tubi 

Before the Super Bowl, Tubi was one of those apps that came pre-downloaded on the Roku with no way to delete it, regardless of how many different ways you tried. 

Don’t lie: Tubi got you good with their ad imitating a streaming device menu, making it seem like someone stole the remote right as the broadcast came back from break. Somehow, this commercial is underrated because it has not been mentioned as the best commercial of the night nearly enough. 

Tubi was also the perfect one to make this joke. Today, I can tell you that Tubi is a free streaming service, something I didn’t know before the game. There had to have been people who went to the app for real after the game to see the app that tricked them. 

Just Right: Workday

What do you get when you make fun of corporate culture by putting The Prince of Darkness in a dress shirt and tie? A great commercial, that’s what. 

Sometimes we get called rockstars, and as Gary Clark Jr. shows us in this ad, we’re not. In a way, this ad felt more like a PSA than Workday trying to sell us something. We all love a brand that stands for a worthy cause, and getting our bosses to stop making us cringe is a movement we can all get behind. 

Just Right: Doritos

Jack Harlow learned a valuable lesson in this Doritos commercial: you can change your angle all you want, but you will never beat Elton John. This message isn’t specific to Jack, but still, one he needs to hear. 

This is another clever commercial. Doritos resemble triangles most of the time, making this a much more realistic fantasy than the New Balance commercial where Harlow scores on the Los Angeles Clipper’s Kawhi Leonard. 

Honorable Mentions

Overhyped: Fanduel 

Are we sure Gronk missed that field goal? All Rob had to do was make what seemed to be a chip shot, which he… missed? There is a lot of confusion about whether or not it even missed, which the graphics reported it did, despite seeming to go in when watching the commercial live on TV (there are angles that show Gronk missed, but it didn’t seem that way in the moment). 

Anyway, if the field goal was good, Fanduel users would have gotten $10 million in free bets, something Fanduel spent a lot of time hyping up. Fanduel also claimed this would be live, which also seemed unclear during air. On top of that, the kick itself was over in seconds, giving us an a solid 15 awkward seconds where half the people in the commercial were upset by the miss, and the other half were celebrating.

Was this scripted? The entire thing is hard to follow, (like the ball after he kicked it). Fanduel will move on from this, but in the meantime, I guess you could say this commercial missed…

Most Confusing: M&M’s

M&M’s tried to clap back at political talk shows that were criticizing their use of “spokescandies” for being too “woke,” but in the end confused us all. The candies held a press conference to announce they’re back, didn’t you miss them? 

Before their return, the M&M’s brand was represented by Maya Rudolph for a short period of time where she announced there were now clams in M&M’s. No, we’re not making that up. We’re talking about M&M’s today, but probably not in the way they were hoping. 

There you have it: The Aces winners and losers from Super Bowl Sunday 2023. Much like the actual game, one bad call cost some of these brands on the biggest stage, and some were able to run down the clock and kick a field goal… or something like that. 

Make sure to follow @akulliancreative on Instagram and Facebook for the latest on the Ace’s video, animation and design projects. Stay tuned for the next Studio A List!