Super Bowl LVII, broadcasted to an anticipated record-breaking viewership according to Fox, was grounded in the joy consumers are chasing and embracing. Absurdist depictions juxtaposed ads that poked fun at and celebrated our everyday lives: their streaming content, their sober pursuits, their workplaces.

Apple, the first music-oriented brand to sponsor the Halftime Show, turned Rihanna’s much-anticipated performance into a series of ads on their own, promoting Apple services, products, and Rihanna herself. Missing from the 57 commercials was crypto, which dominated screens at last year’s game alongside a wide breadth of celebrity endorsements.

We’ve plucked a few overarching themes from this year’s ads that align with what consumers will be most attuned to in 2023.

Absurdist ads

Tubi tapped into the popularity of streaming and binging content with a fantastical, other-worldly approach. The minute-long ad was a play on words as a human-sized rabbit found people on their laptops or watching TV and dragged them into a “rabbit hole” of Tubi’s popular movies, series, and content.

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Tubi's Rabbit Hole Super Bowl commercial, courtesy of YouTube.

WPP was back with Hellman’s this year, this time with actors John Hamm, Brie Larson, and comedian Pete Davidson.

This next iteration of the ‘Make taste, not waste’ campaign opened with Hamm and Brie – a verbal play on ham and cheese – trapped in Pete Davison’s fridge. The campaign will continue its waste-less messaging this year as Hellmann’s takes a giant-sized jar of mayo across the country, and will donate meals to Feeding America with consumer-tagged #MayoForMeals photos.

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Hellmann's Who's in the Fridge Super Bowl 2023 commercial, courtesy of YouTube.

The joyconomy

Bud Light’s ad, starring actor Miles Teller and his wife, Keleigh, took a typical, mundane moment at home and turned it into one minute of joyful dancing. Keleigh, stuck on hold, waits on the phone as Miles approaches her with a Bud Light. The two joke and dance to the hold-music while they wait, turning this normally frustrating experience into an occasion for delight.

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Bud Light Hold: Easy to drink, easy to enjoy. Courtesy of YouTube.

Sober spaces

“Ant Man” actor Paul Rudd is Heineken’s leading man this year, promoting their non-alocholic Heineken 0.0. Heineken’s ad is the first Super Bowl commercial for non-alcoholic beer, and its popularity with audiences indicates that the low-alcohol beverage market isn’t going anywhere.

The Marvel movies and cinematic universe is popular amongst the gen Z and millennials who are leading the sober lifestyle movement. Choosing a character from the universe and an actor that is relatively popular with younger generations could help strengthen the traditionally alcoholic brand’s connection with young consumers.

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Heineken 0.0 Super Bowl 2023 commercial, courtesy of YouTube.

Co-branded commercials

General Motors and Netflix teamed up to bring attention to the auto-giant’s growing electric vehicle collection and the streaming-giant’s dedication to lowering its carbon footprint. In the ad, Will Ferrel finds himself thrown into Netflix’s most popular series as he explains Netflix’s plan to include EVs in their streaming content where appropriate. While the EV he drives through “The Walking Dead” and “Squid Games” makes sense, his absurd attempt to introduce it to shows such as “Bridgerton” and “Stranger Things” pokes fun at the positioning of both Ferrel and the EV’s in spaces where the collaboration, while well-intentioned, might not add up.

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GM x Netflix's Why not an EV? Super Bowl 2023 commercial, courtesy of YouTube.

The workplace

Workday’s ad circles a “Rock Star” in the workplace theme, starring Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, Joan Jett, Paul Stanley, and more musical-stars. The commercial pokes fun at workplace nomenclature – i.e. calling people “rock stars” for doing well.

Hard work, collaboration and teamwork resonates throughout the clip; reflective of people who have recently popularized passion projects and rewired careers later in life. In an interview with USA Today, Billy Idol commented on the importance of having excitement for what you do. Speaking about his own musical career, Idol felt “this is important for us and society, somehow. It’s a little bit like going against the status quo is what was important. That’s still true today.”

"You have to believe what you’re doing has passion to it and that what you’re speaking to is important. And at the same time, having fun doing it."

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Workday's Rock Star Super Bowl 2023 ad, courtesy of YouTube.

Jubilant nostalgia

Several commercials leveraged old, beloved movies and shows with modern, current celebrities and personalities, evoking a strong sense of nostalgia coupled with cultural relevance.

Michelob Ultra put on a rough recreation of a scene from “Caddyshack,” replacing Chevy Chase with Serena Williams, Ted Knight with Brian Cox, and Bill Murray with Tony Romo, adding a quick cameo from original “Caddyshack” star Michael O’Keefe at the end.

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ULTRA Club, New Member's Day, courtesy of YouTube.

Alicia Silverstone returned as Cher Horowitz, the iconic main character from “Clueless,” in an ad for Rakuten. Silverstone regurgitates classic lines from the hit movie while restocking her closet with deals she got from Rakuten. Scenes from the movie are – again – roughly recreated behind her while she addresses the viewer.

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The Extended Cher Cut, Rakuten, courtesy of YouTube.


Serena Williams starred in an ad for Cognac House Rémy Martin that focuses on the collaborative teamwork and community support Williams embraced throughout her tennis career.

The ad, part of the House’s “Inch by Inch” campaign, spotlights Williams’s journey to success and the time and community necessary to reach it. The House’s “Team Up for Excellence” theme also celebrates her dedication, passion, and entrepreneurial pursuits outside of tennis.

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Rémy Martin's Inch by Inch Super Bowl 2023 commercial featuring Serena Williams, courtesy of YouTube.

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