The Super Bowl ads that grabbed the headlines in 2023

February 13, 2023

Written by Benedict Nicholson

Last night saw the Kansas City Chiefs emerge triumphant by the skin of their teeth against the Philadelphia Eagles at Super Bowl LVII. And given such a tight and exciting game, it’s only right that we focus on… the brands and musical acts that made headlines at the same time. 

Obviously the Super Bowl is an ad showcase like no other, with brands competing every year to have the standout spot and win the hearts of the media and public alike. So, this year, who managed that? 

Let’s take a look at the data and some of the reasons why. 

Dunkin’ deputizes Ben Affleck for a Massachusetts collab

The biggest ad of the night, at least in terms of the public’s interest in reporting around it, was the highly anticipated collaboration between Ben Affleck and Dunkin’ Donuts — two icons of New England. 

The spot saw Affleck serving customers at a Dunkin’ in Medford, MA, and featured a surprise appearance from his new wife Jennifer Lopez too.

It was a hugely influential ad, with the coverage and engagement reflecting that. As of the writing of this blog there have been 5,800 articles about Super Bowl ads specifically, and the Dunkin’ ad was responsible for 510 of those. When it came to public interest, its contribution was even more significant, responsible for 169k of the 640k total engagements.

Chart showing the engagement and media interest in Dunkin's Super Bowl ad

The ad worked on a number of levels — it acknowledged a long-running internet commentary about Ben Affleck and Dunkin’ being meant for each other, it had the star power of two Hollywood A-listers, and it didn’t take itself too seriously, allowing its stars to perform naturally and work the brand into their performance. 

Interestingly, Affleck had been spotted at the location in January, presumably filming the commercial, and this may even have served to build anticipation for the spot when it eventually aired, even though it was not confirmed at the time why he was there.  

A similar spot in this vein that also saw significant success was Bradley Cooper’s appearance with his mom for T-Mobile, with viewers finding the interplay between the two endearing. 

Ram EV tickles the funny bone with its premature electrification ad

Ram’s electric truck ad used humor to advertise its products, lampooning both its competitors and, ahem, performance ads, in the process.

The ad drew eyes with its customer stories of “premature electrification”, which leant into tropes around wanting to improve performance, causing laughs among social media audiences.

Alongside the General Motors/Netflix collaboration, the ad was the standout of the electric vehicle ads that debuted during the big game in terms of attention, with more than 150 articles written about it and some 12.3k engagements.

Chart showing the engagement and media interest in Ram's Super Bowl ad
Chart showing the engagement and media interest in GM's Super Bowl ad

In terms of prestige, it was included on several high-profile lists of the best ads of the night, including by The Washington Post, which had the top article about the ad.

Tubi tricks viewers into paying attention

Tubi is a relatively new name in the streaming game, but their ad had viewers reaching for their remotes with a trick that cut against viewers using ad breaks as a time to switch off.

The ad showed a user navigating away from the Super Bowl game and towards the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith. This snapped many social media users out of their post-halftime haze and had them checking they hadn’t changed the channel until the Tubi logo flashed up on screen shortly afterwards.

Interestingly, the press reaction to this clever ad didn’t come until the following morning, after social media users had called out how clever the ad was in making them pay attention to what was going on on their screen.

The ad was one of the most successful on Twitter in terms of generating buzz, and while it was not covered extensively at the time, it did appear in many round-ups this morning, as people digested why it had worked.

Chart showing the engagement and media interest in Tubi's Super Bowl ad

Most of the media and public interest came after 9am this morning, as the chart above shows.

Apple Music gets a branding win thanks to Rihanna’s half time performance

This year, perennial halftime show sponsors Pepsi stepped away from the centerpiece performance, to be replaced by Apple Music, and that led to a brand boost for the streaming giant. 

Rihanna’s performance was highly anticipated, and she did not disappoint, also confirming pregnancy speculation during the game.

As a result of its association with the halftime show, Apple Music was directly mentioned in almost 500 articles, and saw those articles receive 90k engagements in the last 24 hours alone.

This is a branding boost for the music arm of the tech company in its ongoing competition with Spotify, and makes sense as an association for the brand to maintain, given how much musical influence halftime performers tend to have. 

If you’d like to learn more about using NewsWhip to track campaign success, book a chat with us here.

You might also like

The most successful brands on Instagram in 2023

The most successful brands on Instagram in 2023

First things first — Instagram is not dead.  The rise of TikTok has prompted questions about what social media platform will be most valuable for brands in 2023, and it has even been suggested that a veteran like Instagram is going out of style. The data, however,...

Benedict Nicholson

In addition to leading the NewsWhip Research Center in New York, Benedict Nicholson manages partnerships with internationally recognized media outlets furthering data journalism, which includes NewsWhip’s Data for Democracy program. Benedict also facilitates consultations with communicators from the top 10 public relations agencies across America and Europe and with Fortune 500 brands to discuss consumer engagement trends and effective media monitoring. Email Benedict via benedict.nicholson@newswhip.com.

Related articles

The most successful brands on Instagram in 2023

The most successful brands on Instagram in 2023

First things first — Instagram is not dead.  The rise of TikTok has prompted questions about what social media platform will be most valuable for brands in 2023, and it has even been suggested that a veteran like Instagram is going out of style. The data, however,...

read more

The NewsWhip Daily

A weekday round-up that uses NewsWhip’s technology to predict the top stories of the morning, and show you the news you need to know to start your day. Insights are delivered direct to your inbox at 10am EST.

Daily newsletter

Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial