UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

11/27/23 pdf
November 27, 2023

An overview of the commercials of Super Bowl LVI


Still from “Goodbye Cable”, a Verizon commercial that aired during Super Bowl LVI.

For decades, the Super Bowl has been one of the biggest sporting events of the year, but also one of the biggest for advertisers. From Apple’s classic “1984” commercial to Mountain Dew’s “Puppymonkeybaby,” audiences have stayed glued to the screen, even when the teams weren’t playing, just to see what funny TV spots there might be this year. Were this year’s commercials any better than those of previous years? Any worse?
Nostalgia played a big role in this year’s Super Bowl advertisements, as always. Jim Carey played his ‘90s character, The Cable Guy, for a Verizon commercial. In another nineties callback, Mike Myers reprised his role of Dr. Evil from his Austin Powers movies. Myers is no stranger to Super Bowl nostalgia, as he reprised his other ‘90s character, Wayne Campbell, for a TV spot that was released last year. Whether people are more excited about the return of these characters or the plugging of these products, I think that most would agree that it’s good fun to see all of these characters again.
Another familiar selling point seen in these advertisements was star power. Celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Salma Hayek and Lindsay Lohan were all featured in various commercials. Schwarzenegger and Hayek starred in a BMW commercial where they played Zeus and Hera. Whether the idea of Zeus and Hera purchasing a BMW is too weird or just weird enough is up to the viewer. Mathew McConaughey played an astronaut in a commercial for Salesforce, while Lindsay Lohan played herself in an ad for Planet Fitness. In what may be the oddest use of celebrity influence, actors Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Robert Iler, who played Tony Soprano’s children in “The Sopranos,” drove around in an All-Electric Chevy Silverado. “The Sopranos” is a great show, no question. It’s just a bit strange seeing the characters used to sell a new car.
Moving on to yet another convention of Super Bowl advertisements, there were plenty of weird and strange commercials that left viewers going “…huh.” For example, Doritos released a commercial in which someone gets their hand stuck in the Pringles can. The twist? It gets stuck there forever. Amazon promoted their Alexa product with a commercial where it could read minds. While not as bizarre as the Doritos commercial, I find it strange that they thought implying their products could peer into the psyches of their users would be a selling point. In another ad, Pete Davidson doesn’t dispose of his mayonnaise correctly. So, in this Hellman’s commercial, he is forced to face the consequences as he is tackled by Jarod Mayo for his fiendish act. The ad also features Mayo tackling other “criminals” for their thoughtless wasting.
As for something new this year’s batch of commercials brought to the table, there were notably many more cryptocurrency commercials than in years past. LeBron James promoted Crypto.com, while Coinbase offered free bitcoin to customers who signed up (1). Larry David was also featured in a Crypto ad, which is especially ironic, as the comedian is known for picking things apart, as he does in this commercial. The presence of these cryptocoin commercials, along with cryptocurrencies themselves, was highly controversial. Whether crypto commercials make a return in the next Super Bowl, or are forgotten completely, remains to be seen.
How were this year’s commercials in your eyes? Funny? Boring? Do you have a favorite, or will nothing ever top “Puppymonkeybaby” in your eyes? 

  1. https://www.theverge.com/2022/2/14/22933456/crypto-super-bowl-commercials-impact-advertisements-analysis-fomo
About the Contributor
Kyle Makkas, Humor Writer