Superbowl 2023 Ads: Which Brands Scored Touchdowns?

By: Kevin Dinino

Superbowl ads are a time-honored tradition with which the internet was buzzing about again this year. Over 50 advertisers paid for ads that many threw a flag down at, saying they were lackluster. Noticeably absent were ads from crypto companies (for apparent reasons – looking at you, FTX), which came in full force for Superbowl LVI (2022).  

Despite the lack of crypto ads, one aspect repeated itself this year – the QR code. This simple call to action that made its mark with the Coinbase ad from last year made an appearance again on some ads. In addition, although crypto did not participate in ad buys this year, NFTs were represented with Limit Break’s commercial for its anime-inspired game project, DigiDaigaku, which reportedly cost the company a cool $6.5 million.  

People who followed the QR code to the company’s Twitter page were baffled since they expected to be driven to a website for free NFTs.  

One of the ads that struck a sour note was an M&M ad featuring Maya Rudolph for ma&ya’s candy-coated clam bites.” This comes after the controversy that the “spokescandies” evoked after being rebranded to be more inclusive. The company announced shortly after that the SNL alum would be its new spokesperson – and then, shortly after, recanted the recast.

 Noted Northwestern University School of Management Professor Derek Rucker commented, “basically there is a whole backstory of that where they said we are going to remove the characters, replace it with Maya Rudolph. You misrepresented your brand’s intention. Now it’s like, ‘Just kidding.'” 

However, the real winner this year is Rihanna. Not for her Superbowl performance (which she didn’t earn a dime for) or surprise pregnancy announcement, but for the Fenty Beauty plug during her performance. While walking down the center of the stage, one of the dancers happened to hand her a Fenty compact, which she briefly used to powder her nose.  

Additionally, Fenty Beauty put out an ASMR video on TikTok that generated 1.8 million views without spending a dime on hefty ad buys. The ad is notable because it does not mention the Superbowl by name; however, the images of footballs being painted by Fenty foundation tie the relationship in our minds.  


That #FENTYGAMEFACE never fumbles! 💯🏈 Start the play with a layer of #HYDRAVIZOR to tackle any SPF worries 🌞 Then, touchdown on #PROFILTRFOUNDATION for that fresh AF, soft matte flex 💪🏿💪🏾💪🏽 #GAMEDAY is just 6 days away, so re-up on the essentials now to prep for the big day at the 🔗 in bio, @sephora, @sephoracanada, and #sephoraxkohls 🏆

♬ original sound – Fenty Beauty

 Why spend millions on a Superbowl ad? If you have the clout, a simple viral TikTok ad will do. We’ll have to wait until next year to see if the trend catches on.  

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