Super Bowl Commercials: Spiraling Towards the End Zone or Spiraling Out of Control

Feb 27, 2023

Fans cheered passionately, sporting either green or red. Brother played against brother. Rhianna dazzled with her first on-stage performance in seven years. Super Bowl LVII was an intense evening in Arizona, but for all the on-lookers back home, one long-standing tradition brings up even more drama than the actual football game. Costing an astounding $7 million for 30 seconds, Super Bowl commercials either fascinate or flop in front of over 113 million viewers. These commercials are the epitome of strategic marketing.

From a DECA Member’s perspective, four commercials brought home rings. Here are my top four Super Bowl commercials:

  1. Starting with food and beverage commercials, after encounters with Ben Affleck working at Dunkin’ Donuts went viral on social media, the Super Bowl Dunkin’ commercial was like sprinkles on an iced chocolate donut. Without knowing the commercial, TikTok and Instagram users had a field day with the movie star taking orders in the drive-through. Publicity and buzz followed this ad from production to aftermath, so - to briefly switch sports - it was a slam DUNK(in’).
  2. Similarly, social media buzz can generate from comedy. However, humor is a dangerous approach for marketers because the only two outcomes are gentle laughs or awkward blank stares. Luckily, the Pepsi Zero Sugar commercial was creative and fast-paced, with Will Ferrall as the star. In houses across America, families began to question, “Great Acting or Great Taste?” In marketing, the longevity of the punchline indicates success; the longer the conversation and social media attention, the better for the brand.
  3. In an intense world and even intenser game, stopping to appreciate the beauty of life is rare. The Farmer’s Dog made viewers everywhere stop, pet their furry friends, and hug their neighbor on the couch. Combined with a joyful song and progressive videography through a young girl’s life, the commercial advocated for more than just dog food. The sweet reminder of love and compassion was a win.
  4. The NFL came to play as Flag Football Champion, Diana Flores, sprinted through challenging scenarios and epically defeated opponents aimed at taking her flags. The two-minute commercial, “Run With It,” made waves by spotlighting women and children for the first time. Appearing at first as an interview, Flores spoke with a reporter who abruptly tried to pull her flag. From there, the chase was thrilling. The execution, inclusivity, and excitement made for quite a catch.

On the opposite side of the turf were three commercials that fell short of the end zone. Whether because the financial investment did not merit the outcome or because the idea felt incomplete, here are my top picks from the bottom tier:

  1. Though the new slogan is catchy, Turbo Tax played it safe. Turbo Tax could have saved the seven figures instead of utilizing the same “Don’t Do Your Taxes” message paired with a relaxing hobby circling cable TV.
  2. Jeep Wrangler’s dancing animals and outdoor landscape did nothing wrong. The production value met the quality, and it is precisely the kind of commercial Super Bowl watchers anticipate. However, the seal doing the worm was quite uncomfortable to watch. There was a little too much going on for watchers to buy into buying a brand-new car.
  3. Downy introduced Downy McBride, a concept that proved half-executed. The street, the outfits, the hollering, and the movement were inconsistent. Once again, there was an effort, but I think it can only be considered a two-point conversion rather than a solid six.

When the Super Bowl starts, opinions fly higher than either team flag ever will. After all, in the marketing world, no publicity is bad publicity. Until next year!


Hadley Brown
Southern Region Vice President 2022-2023

Hadley Brown served as DECA's Southern Region Vice President during the 2022-2023 school year.

Discussion Questions

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

Classroom Connection

Career CLuster:

Instructional Area(s):

Performance Indicators:

No items found.