Super Bowl 2023: the $10m ads not to miss


$10 million might seem like a lot to spend on a 30 second commercial, but with more than 100 million people tuning in to the big game, brands view it as a worthwhile investment.
Rihanna poses onstage during the Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show Press Conference | Image source: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation

The Superbowl is so much more than football. Advertising during the event is a multi-million category within itself, and this year’s commercials – worth an estimated $10.1 million for just a 30 second spot – have attracted some of the biggest names in show business and sport.

Workday’s Rockstar ad features rock legend Joan Jett, Black Sabbath’s Ozzy Osborne and prince of punk, Billy Idol. Kiss’ Paul Stanley also features, along with Gary Clark Jr. Crisps company Pringles has also gone down the musicians route, with modern-day pop sensation Meghan Trainor representing its brand.

With a dazzling, highly-anticipated halftime performance by musical royalty, Rihanna — her first major appearance since 2016 – media analysts are suggesting viewers could exceed the 100 million mark.

The Super Bowl is one of the most-watched entertainment spectacles on television every year. Broadcast across 225 different stations in more than 180 different countries around the world the Super Bowl will generate an estimated $US16.5 billion in the US alone this year, according to research firm Statista . Last year the Super Bowl was viewed by a staggering 99.1 million people – and this year it is likely to break the 100 million viewer mark.

Kiss’ Paul Stanley appears in a commercial for Workspace | Image source: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images

But Sydney ad man and CEO of uberbrand, Dan Ratner, wonders if many of this year’s Superbowl commercials miss the mark when it comes to basic storytelling. He says something that the iconic ads of previous years – such as Budweiser’s “Whassup” ad and Betty White’s Snickers ad — had something in common. They linked compelling story telling with well known, trusted names, brands and comedy.

“Commanding $10 million per ad slot puts huge pressure on creative content. You have to get it right. So what you do you do? You look for the biggest, ugliest celebrity you can and try to create endorsement,” he says. “The definition of celebrity is also changing as we experience a generational shift too.”

Ads such as the Pringles ad with Meghan Trainor, are “not really ads, but good product placement”, Ratner says. As for the Rockstar ad, Ratner says “I don’t think dying rockers are going to connect the brand to online software”.

Movie stars such as Ben Stiller and Steve Martin and Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul feature in other Superbowl ads this year. Whereas companies like Budweiser have opted to steer clear of the celebrity and brand promotion strategy, instead focusing on societal shifts around how the world views masculinity.

 The Budweiser ad – which Ratner believes has the best production in all of this year’s Super Bowl ads – looks at new definitions of masculinity and mateship

“You think about the way that the old “Whassup” Budweiser add sort of represented masculinity and male relationships and bonding and friendship and this new Budweiser commercial sort of disconnects all of that and softens it completely.”

We’ll leave you to be the judge.

Workday’s Rockstar commercial for the 2023 Super Bowl
Pringles’ 2023 Super Bowl commercial featuring Meghan Trainor
Budweiser’s 2023 Super Bowl commercial
Some Super Bowl classics
Budweiser’s famous “Whassup” Super Bowl commercial
Snicker’s famous Super Bowl commercial featuring Betty White