The Super Bowl teaches us a lot about healthy competition each year — but we don’t always see it play out on the football field.
Some of the biggest game-day face-offs occur when the commentators send us to a commercial break. While football teams compete for trophies, companies spend millions trying to get more views, leads, and revenue than other brands advertising in their industry on the same day.
You can learn much from the top Super Bowl ads, even for a small brand, if you’re a video marketer. Although these ads have budgets we couldn’t imagine, the brands behind them still leverage creativity and cleverness, allowing them to grow mass awareness and stand out among their fiercest competition.
To help you zone in on key takeaways from the Super Bowl ads that resonated most with viewers, we asked more than 150 U.S. consumers to vote on their favorite big-game ads within four major product categories this year.
The 4 Most Popular 2023 Super Bowl Ads, According to 150+ Viewers
Below are four consumer favorites, plus takeaways that any marketer can leverage to fend off their biggest competition.
Consumers’ Favorite Food and Beverage Commercial
Dunkin’ – ‘Drive-Thru’ Starring Ben Affleck
For years Ben Affleck has jokingly been referred to as Dunkin’s unofficial spokesperson — dating back to his 1997 breakout role in Good Will Hunting.
So it makes sense the Academy Award-winning actor decided to take over a Dunkin’ drive-thru in his home state of Massachusetts for the brand’s latest Super Bowl commercial — much to the surprise of some unsuspecting customers.
According to our survey, 34% of consumers said this commercial was their favorite Super Bowl ad from a food and beverage brand.
The ad takes inspiration from a popular internet meme from numerous photos of Affleck walking around with Dunkin’ products. The commercial also includes the real-life reactions of actual Dunkin’ customers when they realize a Hollywood star is taking their order.
The ad ends with fellow megastar Jennifer Lopez making a cameo to scold her husband and demand an order.
While your brand may not have the budget to book two A-list celebrities for your next video marketing campaign, it’s still possible to recreate this strategy.
If you know of an influencer or content creator who is constantly using your products or shouting out your brand, feature them in your next campaign.
Consumers’ Favorite Technology and e-Commerce Commercial
Amazon – Saving Sawyer
31% of consumers listed Amazon’s commercial about a family trying to live with their rowdy dog as their favorite Super Bowl ad from a tech or e-commerce company.
The ad, Saving Sawyer, shows a dog who became used to constantly being around his family as they worked from home or engaged in remote learning.
What makes the commercial stand out from its competitors is relatability. More than 23 million American households adopted pets during the pandemic as people tried to cope with the loneliness of lockdowns.
And as millions of Americans return to working and learning outside their homes, many of those “pandemic pets” have become co-dependent and unruly as they adjust to being home alone for the first time.
Amazon reflects this common phenomenon in its new commercial by showing a family dog named Sawyer destroying his family’s home and belongings after they go back to the office and school.
To solve the problem, the family orders a dog crate from Amazon and uses it to bring home a new puppy that will keep Sawyer company while everyone is away.
The commercial features a common issue many people face and then presents Amazon and its services as a solution.
Think about a common problem your target audience faces. What products or services does your brand offer than can solve their problem? Use the answer as inspiration for your next video marketing campaign.
Consumers’ Favorite Automobile Commercial
Jeep – The Jeep 4xe ‘Electric Boogie’
With its upbeat soundtrack, hilarious animals, and clever showcasing of product attributes — it’s no wonder 33% of consumers listed Jeep’s 4xe commercial as their favorite automobile-related Super Bowl ad.
The commercial mainly focuses on the attributes of Jeep’s new vehicles. Audiences see the vehicles easily navigate the rough terrain while the driver uses their built-in sound systems to listen to “Electric Boogie.”
The sound system is so crisp and clear that nearby animals can’t help but dance along. And when one overzealous snake gets a little too close to the Jeep, the Jeep’s cameras turn on to alert the driver of the wiggly obstacle.
Finally, the commercial ends with the drivers stopping to charge their respective Jeeps — because they’re electric!
Find a way to showcase your product’s attributes for your next video marketing campaign.
Consumers’ Favorite Commercial Relating to Entertainment.
YouTube TV – ‘Football Cat’ NFL Sunday Ticket is Coming to YouTube TV
Sometimes it helps to keep your ad short and straightforward, like YouTube TV’s Super Bowl ad about NFL Sunday Ticket coming to the platform. 34% of consumers said the ad was their favorite Super Bowl commercial relating to entertainment.
The 30-second commercial features one of the most viral videos on YouTube — keyboard cat. The video is edited to make the cat look like he’s playing the NFL theme, and it ends with white words on a black screen that reads “A modern, simple way to watch.”
The commercial tells viewers that watching football on YouTube TV will be as simple as the ad.
If you’re not looking to break the bank with your next campaign, feel free to opt for something short, simple, and to the point.
Takeaways for Video Marketers
Not just celebrities, music, or cute animals made the above ads stand out among the 57 commercials aired during the NFL’s biggest night of the year. All four ads contained at least a few of the following elements that any brand can incorporate into its video marketing materials.
Both Dunkin’ and Amazon feature relatable content in their respective ads. Dunkin’ showed real-life customers reacting to a celebrity taking their orders. And Amazon highlighted a real issue millions of pet owners face as they return to work.
While many Super Bowl ads in past years had heavier tones, all four of the commercials on the list above – and many of this year’s ads – won audiences over with a lighter, optimistic, and funny tone.
Dunkin’ leaned into a popular online meme about Ben Affleck’s love for the brand. Amazon referenced a current phenomenon resulting from a pandemic we’re all still reeling from. Jeep featured a popular song played at almost every family function and cookout. And YouTube leveraged a viral video viewed by more than 70 million people.
By leaning into relative topics and elements, these brands were able to create ads that were memorable and engaging.
Even without a million-dollar ad budget, you can keep these themes in mind and create affordable video content that caters to consumers and draws your audiences in.