Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The best and worst Super Bowl LVIII commercials, according to MDC Staff

The advertisements that caught our staff’s attention most during the big game
Eva Rinaldi
Michael Cera was the star of CeraVe’s Super Bowl commercial, ‘Michael CeraVe.’ Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Super Bowl is a longstanding institution of American popular culture. On Sunday Feb. 11, over 120 million people (a record high) tuned in to watch the Kansas City Chiefs play the San Francisco 49ers at Super Bowl LVIII. It was a game for the history books, with the Chiefs becoming the first NFL team in 20 years to secure two back-to-back Super Bowl wins.

While the football game may have been the night’s main attraction, the commercials in between were arguably just as exciting.

Commercials at the Super Bowl are typically of a much higher quality than what you’d see during your average commercial break. Given that a 30-second slot at the Big Game costs approximately $7 million, it makes sense that companies want nothing less than their best airing on this platform.

Despite these exorbitant costs, not all Super Bowl ads are created equal. On Monday, Feb. 12, staff members of the Massachusetts Daily Collegian were asked to name their favorite (and least favorite) commercials from Super Bowl LVIII. Here they are, in no particular order.


BEST: “Michael CeraVe” by CeraVe

Michael CeraVe – SB 2024

Sometimes a commercial’s concept is so genius in its simplicity that it makes you wonder, “How has no one thought of this yet?” For many MDC staff members, Michael Cera’s collaboration with CeraVe was a prime example of this.

In this ad, the “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” actor teamed up with the skincare brand to satirically promote his involvement with the product, given that they share the same name.

With Cera’s signature socially awkward comedic style, we see him giving a clone of himself a massage, moisturizing an icy mountain and posing with male models. At the commercial’s conclusion, the brand set the record straight that the product was created by dermatologists, not Cera.


BEST: “Can’t B Broken” by Verizon

Can’t B Broken

Breaking the internet is nothing new for Beyoncé. In this ad, the international superstar teamed up with Verizon to “test” the strength of their 5G internet services through a series of publicity stunts, such as running a lemonade stand, launching into orbit in a rocket ship and campaigning to become the “Beyoncé of the United States (BOTUS).”

Of course, none of these “stunts” break Verizon’s internet services, so as a final test, she triumphantly says, “Okay, they ready. Drop the new music.”

Immediately after the commercial aired, Beyoncé’s new country singles “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” and “16 CARRIAGES” launched worldwide, quickly reaching the top of Apple Music’s charts. Not only this, but she also announced an “Act II” to her 2023 album “Renaissance.”


BEST: “The DunKings” by Dunkin’

Dunkin’ ‘The DunKings’ ft Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Tom Brady, Jack Harlow, Jennifer Lopez, & Fat Joe

When Ben Affleck was seen working at a Dunkin’ drive-thru in Medford for the company’s Super Bowl ad last year, it grabbed the attention of nearly everyone in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

This year, the Boston-based coffee chain teamed up with Affleck yet again, upping the ante to include even more star power from the Bay State. Attempting to win over his girlfriend Jennifer Lopez, Affleck forms a new boy band called the “DunKings” with Matt Damon and Tom Brady.

MDC Staff loved this ad for its unseriousness and silly humor. When else would we get to see Tom Brady rock out on a synthesizer?


WORST: “Temu’s Big Game Ad Encore TV Commercial 2024” by Temu

Temu’s Big Game Ad Encore TV Commercial 2024

Most commercials only air once or twice at the Super Bowl. For Temu, that’s simply not enough. The Boston-based, Chinese-owned online marketplace occupied six advertising slots during the big game, encouraging the audience to “shop like a billionaire.” MDC Staff found this commercial’s art style to be unsettling. With a highly saturated color scheme and poorly animated characters, it feels more like a low-budget mobile game ad than a multi-million dollar Super Bowl commercial.

Beyond this, Temu does not have a great reputation with American consumers. In summer 2023, a congressional report found “there is an extremely high risk that Temu’s supply chains are contaminated with forced labor” in China’s Xinjiang province, a region known in recent years for the forced labor of its Uyghur Muslim minority population. While many Temu shoppers boast about the e-commerce app’s low prices, is it worth the cost?


WORST: “Pfizer Big Game Commercial 2024 – Here’s to Science”

 Pfizer Big Game Commercial 2024 – Here’s to Science

2024 marks Pfizer’s 175th anniversary, so to celebrate, the multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnical company decided to make Albert Einstein lip sync to Queen?

Yes, you read that right. Set to Queen’s 1978 smash hit “Don’t Stop Me Now,” a library full of scientific history and research comes to life, with everything from single-celled organisms to human anatomy textbooks jamming to the song. The problem is that the animation used to make the characters lip sync appears to be made through artificial intelligence.

What should have been a celebration of scientific advancement across the nearly two centuries the company has existed turned into an unsettling trip to the uncanny valley.

Nathan Legare can be reached at [email protected].

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