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Gen Z Takes on The Super Bowl | Brand Bowl 2023

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

Akin to a holiday, Super Bowl Sunday is a yearly occurrence where Americans rally around the television for four hours of food, drinks, and football. This high-stakes event divides friends and families cheering for rival teams, but we are all unified when rooting for the commercial breaks.


Football’s biggest night manifests advertisers' biggest dreams by producing audiences upwards of 100 million people. People don’t just watch the commercials; they actually anticipate them. 76% of likely Super Bowl viewers reported their excitement to watch Super Bowl ads this year in a poll conducted by Marketing Brew and Harris Poll. This rare phenomenon of so many eager eyes viewing the same ads generates a golden opportunity for brands to create buzz.


Determined to find the champions of our own league, we co-hosted the third annual Brand Bowl at the University of Florida this past Sunday night. Brand Bowl is a Super Bowl research watch party held on campus where all students engage in real-time research surveys to identify the best and worst commercials of the night.


The results are in, and we’re ready to break it all down.


Losers


This series of ads from He Gets Us divided and confused audiences.


Love Your Enemies + Be Childlike | He Gets Us

With a mission to reignite the relevance of Jesus Christ in American culture, He Gets Us bought two commercial spots this past Sunday. Both ads generated a wave of divide and polarity, landing them both in the bottom ranks of this Brand Bowl. When presented to a mass audience, a successful commercial will resonate and appeal to many different groups of people. Those that can relate to or identify with the Christian faith may have found these ads to be sweet and applicable to their lives, but many demographics outside of that religion found it to be ostracizing and even confusing.


John Travolta, Donald Faison, and Zach Braff starred in a Grease -inspired commercial for T-Mobile.


New Year. New Neighbor. | T-Mobile

When incorporating humor in the confines of a thirty-second television spot, a company risks walking the fine line between a laugh and an eye roll. T-Mobile, or should we say, John Travolta, took the gamble and came up short claiming last place in the 2023 Brand Bowl. The commercial features some lovable personas performing a parody of an already catchy Danny Zuko classic. The informative lyrics combine with the memorable tune to drive home the benefits of the product in an earworm that you’ll be lucky to get out of your head. Lacking that indescribable “Wow Factor,” this commercial is the embodiment of cheesy and borders on annoying.


Winners


General Motors' combination of Will Ferrell's star power and Netflix's hit shows made for a successful ad in the eyes of Gen Z.


Will Ferrell X General Motors X Netflix

Our favorite binge-worthy shows, eye-catching vehicles, and the wonderfully witty Will Ferrell all wrapped into one commercial spot had us questioning what we did to deserve such a treat. Ferrell gives commentary about the placement of EVs in well-known Netflix shows, which not only calls attention to the product but will have us scanning future series for any special appearances of the vehicles. This clever strategy earned Netflix and GM third place for the 2023 Brand Bowl, but they definitely won at creating positive brand associations.


Doja Cat was one of the celebrities featured in Google Pixel's star-studded ad.


#FixedOnPixel | Google

Advertisers will go above and beyond to get laughs to secure their audience's attention and make their brand stand out. But when you have an extraordinary product, it speaks for itself. Google conveyed the problem that their product solves by simply demonstrating how it works. Unanticipated visitors making cameos in the background of photos is a modern struggle that we can all relate to. Pair all of that with celebrity appearances, and it’s no wonder why #FixedOnPixel was a close second this Brand Bowl.


Amazon's emotional advertisement successfully captured the hearts of viewers.


Saving Sawyer | Amazon

Our 2023 Brand Bowl Champion comes in the form of a beloved four-legged pal. Successful commercials create a narrative that connects with viewers emotionally, which is a difficult feat with an audience of over 100 million people. Amazon left nothing to chance when delivering this heartwarming commercial capturing the familial love humans have for their dogs. Referencing the lockdown was also an ingenious way of offering up a shared experience that applies to all of our lives. Sawyer stole the show, along with our hearts.

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