Advertising Sports and Entertainment

Team Take: Mayonnaise with a Mission — Hellman’s 2023 Super Bowl Ad (By Sam)

We need to do a better job at making taste, not waste.

At least, that’s what Hellmann’s promoted during its 2023 Super Bowl Commercial, featuring Brie Larson, Jon Hamm, and Pete Davidson.

Of course, every year the commercials themselves are considered a major part of the Super Bowl event, particularly with the sense of humor that is invariably infused into many of the spots that air throughout the game.

And while Hellmann’s didn’t necessarily make me laugh, per se, I think that might actually be one of the reasons it worked. I mean, I’m still sitting here thinking and writing about it, aren’t I?

A Tasteful Overview

The commercial begins with Jon Hamm bumping into a giant jar of Hellmann’s mayonnaise. Or rather, it begins with a tiny Jon Hamm bumping into a normal-sized jar of Hellmann’s, seeing as he is bumbling about the inside of a refrigerator.

Sitting nearby — atop a piece of cheese, no less — is Brie Larson, who helps John to realize that they’re inside a fridge because they are “brie and ham.” Pun fully intended. And with Hellmann’s mayonnaise — or leftover “food’s best friend” — they’re definitely what’s on deck for dinner.

We then turn to see the fridge door, opened by Pete Davidson. He looms above the two aforementioned stars with his signature slightly-creepy-albeit-charming smile and announces, “I’m going to eat you guys.”

We then cut to a brief montage of Pete making a ham and cheese panini, complete with Hellmann’s mayo and that satisfying crunch that is all but expected for such a sandwich.

Finally, all three stars stand beside a table full of Super Bowl snacks. And a jar of Hellmann’s, of course.

“You guys are really delicious,” Davidson tells Hamm and Larson, waving his now-bitten-into panini in their direction.

“That’s weird,” is all Hamm has to say in response. Meanwhile, Brie Larson turns to glance into the camera, concern clear in her eyes.

Finally, we close with the ad’s overall message in text above the panini: “Make taste, not waste.”

Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Let’s take a moment to briefly look at food from another lens. One that is unrelated to mayonnaise, anyway.

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest sporting and entertainment events in the world, but it also has a dark side. Every year, millions of pounds of food are thrown out in homes across America where the game is watched. In addition to this, many fans who attend the game bring their own snacks and drinks to tailgates, which often end up going to waste.

This means that a large amount of food is wasted each year during the Super Bowl, which could have been used to help those in need in local communities.

But it’s not just limited to the Super Bowl itself; rather, it’s a year-round problem.

“Each year, 119 billion pounds of food is wasted in the United States,” Feeding America reports. “That equates to 130 billion meals and more than $408 billion in food thrown away each year. Shockingly, nearly 40% of all food in America is wasted.”

Thus, by committing to eating our leftovers more than the year before, we can each contribute to the reduction of food waste in America. So, maybe a little mayo really can go a long way.

Back to Basics: Why the Commercial Works

So we have our Hellmann’s commercial and we have the fundamental message behind it.

But… does the commercial work? Well, I think so.

First of all, we have big names in the commercial: Brie Larson, Jon Hamm, and Pete Davidson. And between the three of them, it’s highly likely that a viewer is going to recognize at least one individual’s face, even if they don’t necessarily know all of — if any of — the names themselves. (Until, of course, their names are said point blank.)

But it’s more than that.

For one, is it memorable?

Again, I’d argue yes. Regardless of your stance on puns and the commercial’s reliance on an easy play on words, you’re not likely to forget the large, looming face of Pete Davidson as he says, “I’m going to eat you.”

And let’s be honest — it’s weird. The commercial might not have been the type to evoke an actual laugh from me, but it was enough to get me to quirk a brow and keep watching. And really, sometimes that’s all you need.

Oh, and let’s not forget that sizzling sandwich press segment, which looked like the mouthwatering clips you typically see on fast food commercials. It definitely made me think about my own food options downstairs.

Next, let’s consider: Does it have a mission that separates it from other airing commercials?

Again, yes. As previously mentioned, food waste is already a consistent and pervasive issue today, particularly as it pertains to the Super Bowl. And Hellmann’s managed to drive this purpose home with the kind of subtlety that wouldn’t leave some people rolling their eyes.

What’s more, Hellmann’s has remained consistent with this particular messaging for some time now. And, according to the Journal of Advertising, “advertisements are likely to be more effective if they are unique from earlier ads for all brands but also consistent with ads for the same brand from prior periods.”

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, does it drive the audience to action?

Again, I’d argue that it does. After all, even if someone isn’t driven to change their consumption habits by the idea of food sustainability, one thing they’re likely to consider is how much money they can save by simply turning back to their leftovers.

And one simple condiment can absolutely make the difference between making the flavor more appetizing (“make taste”) or letting it slowly stink up your fridge as it molds, forgotten in the back (“not waste”).

Did it make me wonder if I had mayonnaise in my fridge right now? Yes. And did it leave me feeling slightly disappointed that I do not, in fact, have mayonnaise in my fridge right now? Well… yes. So, I’d call the commercial a success, personally.

But what do you think? What this commercial enough to make Hellmann’s mark on the 2023 Super Bowl?

And don’t forget — you don’t have to buy ad space during the Super Bowl to put out an effective advertisement.

Here at Mad Men Marketing, we specialize in helping our clients interact with their audiences, as opposed to interrupting them! By combining creative allure with data-driven strategies, you’ll find we have the ability to help you score a digital touchdown. Yes, pun intended.

So, are you ready to interact? If so, contact Mad Men Marketing today by calling (904) 355-1766! We might not be Hellmann’s, but we still know how to do things with taste.