The Super Bowl's Best And Worst Food Commercials

A good Super Bowl ad should surprise and delight us, not give us a homework assignment.

Touchdowns were made; confetti was dropped. But what really matters today is our national conversation about which Super Bowl ads left us eagerly waiting for the next commercial break. Per usual, celebrity cameos were plentiful throughout the broadcast, but as we saw with certain ads, that is not necessarily a recipe for success.

Throughout Super Bowl LVII, two ads for food stuck out during the broadcast more than any other—each for very different reasons. Here were the night's best and worst.

The best Super Bowl food commercial: Hellmann’s

Of all the foods advertised during the Super Bowl, Hellmann's Mayonnaise had the best commercial of all. Yeah, I know. Trust me, I'm as surprised as you are that something as basic as mayo—the food we literally use as shorthand for "boring"—could be so entertaining, but here we are.

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In a sea of overly complex ad campaigns, the Hellmann's spot, "Who's in the Fridge," was the dad joke we didn't know we needed. The plot consists of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids–sized versions of actors Brie Larson and Jon Hamm inside a refrigerator next to a smattering of leftovers and, of course, a jar of Hellmann's. Why? Because, as Larson explains, Brie (the cheese), Ham(m), and mayo combine to form the perfect meal. ("We're dinner!" Larson declares.)

At that moment, a full-sized Pete Davidson opens up the fridge and tells Larson and Hamm he's going to eat them both. Once again, the former SNL star proves he has that inexplicable something that can sell just about anything. The simplicity and corniness of the whole thing struck the perfect note and upheld the energy of the broadcast with its broad appeal—in other words, "Who's in the Fridge" is the platonic ideal of a Super Bowl commercial advertising a grocery product.

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An honorable mention goes to McDonald's "Knowing Their Order," a romantic tie-in with the Cardi B and Offset celebrity meals dropping on Valentine's Day. This spot had just enough star power, humor, and sweetness to make for an enjoyable 60 seconds that never grew overly sappy or sentimental.

The worst Super Bowl food commercial: M&M’s

M&M's, what are you doing? The meticulously marketed drama surrounding the departure of the brand's anthropomorphic "spokescandies" leading up to Super Bowl LVII was officially too much.

First, a bit of background: Leading up to Super Bowl LVII, the candy brand got the internet riled up by announcing the M&M candy mascots would be put on an "indefinite pause." We at The Takeout immediately had a hunch, one that the New York Times confirmed: This was all a publicity stunt referencing the general outrage from some conservatives whenever M&M's changes anything about its mascots, and the candies were indeed set to return soon. All that said, this is the M&M's spot that aired during last night's broadcast:

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No shade to Maya Rudolph, who is doing as much funny stuff as she can. But talk about long-winded: We have to get up to speed on the fact that, in the absence of the spokescandies, Rudolph is the new spokesperson for the brand and has decided to change M&M's to a candy filled with clams. Oh, and she also declares that M&M's will now be Ma&Ya's as a play on her name, because I guess in her new role at the helm of M&M's, she's also dictatorial? It's confusing.

Not everyone has the privilege (or the desire) to follow all the "woke" candy drama like The Takeout does. For the average viewer, a lot of this M&M's news likely made no sense, and the "Ma&Ya's" joke likely only furthered the confusion. Sure, Rudolph is a famous actress, but are we confident that, 15 years after her departure from Saturday Night Live, Super Bowl audiences will respond with glee to a play on words involving her name?

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Obviously, M&M's tried to get people's attention in advance of the game by dropping the Maya Rudolph spots days before the Super Bowl and creating buzz on social media. It was important to have everyone paying attention when the brand brought the candies right back in a subsequent ad:

This is something many other brands have done in past years, like Planters, which killed off its mascot at the 2020 Super Bowl only to bring him back as a baby. But maybe it's time to dial back these elaborate strategies. Rather than have potential customers and fans confused by a weeks-long campaign, try a simple joke that makes good use of a celebrity cameo and lets their personality be the star.

Besides, we were already treated to the best joke about clams back in 2022, and that one was a little easier to understand.

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