Let’s face it. Love it or hate it, there was just no escaping the hype for this year’s Super Bowl spectacular. Even if you spent the last month hiding in a bunker, there’s a good chance you didn’t escape the most talked about juicy Super Bowl side plot of all time (Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift, k-i-s-s-i-n-g). Combine that with a face-off between the historic powerhouse 49ers and modern era’s latest dynasty, the Kansas City Chiefs, in a game that went into overtime, and you’ve got a recipe for ratings gold. In fact, 123.4 million viewers tuned in to the broadcast on CBS (and Paramount+ and Nickelodeon) on Super Bowl Sunday—a massive increase on last year’s numbers, making it the most-watched program since the moon landing.

Ad space for the Super Bowl was sold out by the beginning of November. For the 50-plus brands paying $7 million for a mere 30 seconds of airtime during the big game, the stakes are high. As the teams battled it out during what will go down as the seventh-longest game in the history of the NFL® (and certainly one of the most memorable), fans watched the latest marketing masterpieces from some of America’s best-known brands.

We love a good post-Super Bowl ad chat, so let’s take a look at some of the most memorable entries from this year’s line-up. The links below are extended cuts, because in many cases, Super Bowl viewers are only seeing 30 seconds of an ad that may run a minute or more. From masterpieces to meh-sterpieces, here’s what really stood out for us this year.

Touchdowns: Most Loved Ads of the Night
  • Dunkin’ Donuts “The DunKings”: Following last year’s success, this spot shows Ben Affleck roping in his friends (Matt Damon, Tom Brady, and Jack Harlow) to wow wife Jennifer Lopez with his new boy band, the DunKings. There was a lot to love about this spot, but Matt Damon’s deadpan reluctance to participate made this one of the night’s best.
  • Verizon “Can’t B Broken”: This ad featured singer Beyoncé as she tried her “bey-st” to “break” Verizon with a series of announcements, including a campaign to run for "Beyoncé of the United States (BOTUS),” and ended with the announcement of a new album called Texas Hold-Em and a drop of two new singles. The ad drove a surge in social engagement and was an impressive way to tie in an album drop with a paid high-profile ad spot. Well played, Queen Bey.
  • State Farm “Like a Good Neighbaaa”: I pay too much for premiums to truly love an insurance commercial, but this year’s State Farm spot starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as himself starring in a State Farm movie was quite funny and intelligently done; his accent transforms the insurance company’s slogan into “like a good neighbaaa.” His former co-star Danny DeVito appears at the end to help with the botched line delivery. USA Today’s Ad Meter ranked this spot as No. 1 this year.
  • Uber Eats “Don’t Forget Uber Eats”:  One of the night’s most star-studded commercials shows Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Usher, the Beckhams, and Jelly Roll, as they remind the viewer that Uber Eats delivers not only take-out food, but lots of other everyday essentials as well. The ad ties into the brand message and is nostalgic for many Ross-and-Rachel-loving Friends viewers, too.
  • Squarespace “Hello Down There”: One of the few B2B companies represented in this year’s line-up, Squarespace followed up its Adam Driver spot from last year with “Hello Down There” directed by (and starring) none other than Martin Scorsese. The cinematic spot opens with technology-distracted humans showing very little interest in the obvious arrival of alien visitors … until said aliens, frustrated at being ignored, announce themselves via website, which cleverly plays into Squarespace’s “A website makes it real” tagline. Oscar worthy? Maybe not, but it was an entertaining spot that built on the company’s brand recognition and will likely leave a lasting impression.

Sad Sacks: Most Underwhelming Ads of the Night
  • Temu “Shop Like a Billionaire”: The Chinese-owned online discount site ran the same spot several times during the Super Bowl, a seemingly low-budget animated commercial that confused some viewers and prompted the Washington Postto complain, “Just the same lame ad, over and over.” And, uh, did they dub in a new pronunciation of their own company name? It prompted me to say to my teenagers, “You’re never downloading that app.”
  • Pluto TV “Couch Potato Farms”: Many viewers seemed to find this one unsettling and I have to agree. The Paramount-owned ad-supported streaming service made its debut Super Bowl appearance with a 60-second spot which, according to Slate,“made the rookie mistake of portraying people who watch their streaming service as disgusting anthropomorphic potatoes who sit around in a field and stream old reality-show reruns all day.” Ouch.

Flag on the Play: Most Wonderfully Weird Spots of the Night
  • CeraVe “Michael CeraVe”: The CeraVe skincare ad featuring Michael Cera was one of the most off-the-wall offerings of the night and will likely do great things for brand awareness. The company capitalized on a viral TikTok where a user asked whether Cera is the mastermind behind CeraVe and sent kits to more than 400 influencers designed to fuel such speculation. The ad shows a boardroom of CeraVe dermatologists debunking Cera’s own campaign. In the end, the spot gets across a message about the product’s quality while incorporating unique humor.
  • Paramount+ “Sir Patrick Stewart Throws a Hail Arnold”: This one gets the “made my kids laugh the hardest” award for the night. Patrick Stewart appears in the spot where he argues with Drew Barrymore before ordering Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to “throw the child” over a mountain. The child being an animated Hey Arnold character. Like a weird fever dream, the spot showcases many of the network’s favorite characters while playing off the “mountain of entertainment” offered. It was chaotic, random, and hilariously unhinged. Did I mention Creed also makes an appearance? It made me feel like Paramount+ is a network I might want to hang out with, as opposed to Pluto TV.
  • Hellman’s “Mayo Cat”: This spot featured everyone’s favorite comic Kate McKinnon and her “talking” viral cat, whose linguistic skills spark a mayo craze across the nation. It’s a very funny way to remind viewers that Hellman’s can “save the leftovers” and “make taste not waste.” I know I won’t reach for the mayo again without mentally calling it “meow-naise.”

Take a Knee and Grab a Hankie: Most Heartwarming Ads of the Night
  • Google Pixel Camera ”Javier in Frame”: One of the most touching spots of the night, Google’s spot for its Pixel camera showed a man with a visual impairment as he used the artificial intelligence-guided frame technology feature of the product to take photos of himself and his family. The spot’s director, Adam Morse, is himself blind and the spot is narrated at the end by Stevie Wonder.
  • Kia “Perfect 10”: Kia’s Super Bowl spot was a portrait of how its new all-electric EV9 generates “electric power like you’ve never seen before,” setting the stage for a tear-jerker moment on a makeshift ice-skating rink between a young skater and her home-bound grandfather. According to Forbes, “Kia chose to highlight something Americans are only beginning to understand: the ability of many EVs to supply stored electricity when owners don’t have anywhere else to get current.”

Going into Overtime: Even More Ad Action

Adding even more excitement, the big game went into overtime for only the second time in history—giving this year’s advertisers more airtime to flex their brand muscles. The only other time a Super Bowl has gone into overtime was in 2017 for the Atlanta Falcons vs. New England Patriots game. An interesting side note, 30-second ad spots on Fox went for $5 million then, compared to the $7 million per ad this year on CBS. And you thought egg prices had gone up!

While an overtime Super Bowl is always unlikely, there is an ad strategy in place. These five brands pounced on the extra airtime in the overtime broadcast—giving the network approximately $35 million in additional revenue. State Farm used its creative from earlier in the show but ran a 30-second spot instead of the full 60.

Super Bowl 59: The Countdown Begins

As we move forward to a football-free spring, one thing is certain: marketers will soon be hard at work on next year’s big Super Bowl ad spots. And Super Bowl commercials will continue to demand big bucks and draw massive viewership, while reminding us that with a big budget and an imaginative marketing team, creativity knows no bounds, even in a 30-second time slot.

To stay up to date on agency news, awards, and blog posts, subscribe to our Spire Wire newsletter.

Rebekah Ellis is a Senior Account Executive and writer at Spire.