BIG GAME COMMERCIAL FACE OFF
Members of Team Siarza went head-to-head against one another to defend their favorite 2023 Big Game commercials. Nails were bitten, keyboards were stained with sweat and tears, and friendships were challenged to produce this list (and thorough analysis):
Doritos, Popcorners, Pepsi, Dunkin’ Donuts, The Farmer’s Dog, Samuel Adams and TUBI
Donyelle Lucero, Director of CLient RELATIONS: Doritos
A snack for a new generation!
The Big Game commercials are never short of celebrity cameos but Doritos made sure to cover all target bases springing for three different music artists, each appealing to a subset of snackers.
Focus of the advertisement is the journey of rapper Jack Harlow’s new musical venture, yet, the consistent Doritos triangle and chips in the hands of commercial subjects, including Missy Elliot, are a reminder of what the commercial is really about. While Gen-Zers may not be familiar with Elton John, and Rocket Club members likely would fail to name a Harlow song title, this star-studded ad delivers on humor and appeal for all music lovers and that makes it effective.
Gentry Haukebo, Account Executive: Doritos
MORE TRIANGLE. Doritos took on a new angle with their advertisements and gave a long overdue credit to the strongest and most delicious shape: the triangle. My best friend and soulmate, Jack Harlow, was seen swapping the mic for a wicked triangle solo only to be one-upped by Elton John himself, playing a giant triangle in place of the piano he is usually paired with. This ad paid tribute to the triangle in a plethora of ways but highlighted the musical technicality of the
very underrated instrument, the triangle, which will perhaps not only celebrates the iconic shape of Doritos, but revolutionizes the music industry in months to come. I made a direct comparison to the infamous SNL skit, “More Cowbell” and now find myself saying “MORE TRIANGLE” as I listen to Jack Harlow and lick the precious Dorito dust from my pointer finger and thumb.
Julia STARKEY, JUNIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE: Popcorners
One of the best Big Game commercials that came out this year was the PopCorners chips ad featuring Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston reprising their characters from Breaking Bad. What made the commercial stand out more than the others was that they weren’t overselling the product to us consumers, they just used the chips as a sort of prop in the scene. With Breaking Bad being one of the most monumental TV shows in history, having Walter White and Jesse Pinkman recreating a scene from the show and adding the chips was a brilliant move on PopCorners’ part.
Alejandro PINEDA, CONTENT CREATOR: Pepsi
My favorite Big Game commercial goes to Pepsi, “Great Acting or Great Taste? | Ben Stiller.” From a creative/advertising standpoint, the commercial did an excellent job by fitting the event tone, targeting a diverse audience, and using a clever simile. First, the commercial perfectly suited the Big Game celebratory environment by emphasizing comedy with a well-known actor.
Pepsi might have stirred up laughter in an audience that was likely in a party atmosphere.
Pepsi also did an excellent job targeting different audiences by using specific references in each scene, like Romanticism, Star Wars, Zoolander, and others. These references might have generated high engagement as they targeted multiple segments.
Lastly, the commercial had a well-rounded structure making a clever point: Are Pepsi Zero commercials just actors pretending to like the soda, or does the soda actually taste good? Pepsi’s goal is to challenge the audience to try the zero-soda and answer the question for themselves.
Justin OTSUKA, PHOTOGRAPHER & VIDEOGRAPHER: Dunkin’ Donuts
A few years ago, I rambled about 2020’s commercials balancing genres, format, and messaging. This year, I think one spot achieved the best of all worlds… Ben Affleck running the drive-thru at Dunkin’ Donuts. Celebrity cameos, real people, mixed format shooting techniques, meta comedy… all wrapped up in one simple spot.
In the last few years, we’ve seen a mix of drama and comedy throughout the games’ ads, both of which can be seen as responses to the social mood resulting from Covid, politics, war, racial tension, and the list goes on. This year was a little more traditional with companies mostly going for laughs and nostalgia (shoutouts to Clueless, Grease, and Caddyshack).
With moviegoing being near and dear to my heart, I’m trying not to be concerned that we barely got any movie hype and what we did get was studios only wanting to invest in putting out a trailer for a trailer that they want you to go watch online.
Marisa GRAHAM, CLIENT SERVICES MANAGER: The Farmer’s Dog
There are a few things that are guaranteed to make me cry, and seeing dogs grow from puppy to senior while enjoying life with their human is definitely one of them. The Farmer’s Dog ‘Forever’ commercial tugs at the heartstrings of pet owners everywhere showcasing a young girl growing up and going through the different stages of life with her dog, Bear, promising to always take care of him. Advertisers always have a few categories to play into for their Big Game ads, but every year, the emotional ones always seem to drive the point home. The Farmer’s Dog commercial hit pet owners everywhere right in the feels, and likely prompted many to think what else can I do to keep my dog happy and healthy?
Jace DOWNEY, CONTENT CREATOR: Samuel Adams
The most important ingredient in a successful ad is the sticking factor. Good advertising doesn’t inspire us to buy a product, it builds a relationship between the company and the customer. To create a sense of trust and connection, advertisers use tactics like celebrity spokespeople to piggyback onto the connection consumers already have with those familiar people or popular content from the past to engage nostalgia, which includes the years of rosy hue we add to memories.
As much as we like to think we make decisions through logic, humans are, in fact, emotionally driven, and no one knows this better than advertisers. A good ad taps into our basic human emotions like happiness, sadness, and excitement.
A great ad doesn’t stop there; it reaches us at a deeper level, thus burrowing itself into the mind, which then takes over and continues to build on the sense of relationship long after the ad is over.
One commercial this year stuck with me because it ignited the significant, complex emotion of hope. Sam Adams’ “A Brighter Boston” includes all the elements of a good ad and twists them into a great ad. It weaves in valuable messages with comedy, the unexpected, a known character, organic shots of the product, and a reality we all know could be a little truer based on how we, ourselves, show up in the world. And just as it teeters on a lofty edge, we’re slapped out of the daydream and into current circumstances, thus not taking itself too seriously.
In a single minute, Sam Adams created a world I’d rather live in, and you better believe I’ll be toasting to it with a cold Boston lager.
Kristelle Siarza, CEO: Tubi
My favorite type of commercials for the Super Bowl are the ones that push engagement, but this kind of engagement was hilarious: It made many viewers get off the couch and check if they sat on the remote! While Tubi is trying to make a run for “Rookie of the Streaming Platforms” award, this commercial made everyone go – what the heck is going on? A giggle and engagement goes a long way – even if it’s not measurable engagement. At our party, we kept on hearing, “Dammit man! Not again…”
We really enjoyed the Big Game this year. It’s always a fun experience to provide some light-hearted commentary on one of the biggest advertising events of the year. What were some of your favorite commercials during Big Game 2023? Share your faves here.