Funny Super Bowl memes 2023: an analysis
What makes a hilarious Super Bowl meme? Why are Super Bowl memes so funny? Why are Super Bowl ad creators so obsessed with memes – and how much do Super Bowl ads cost?
You might not have heard (ha!) but it’s the Super Bowl this Sunday, and aside from a football game between two sides (wanna say… Pittsburg and Knoxville?) the real appeal is the entertainment.
And by entertainment, I don’t mean Rihanna, I mean memes. Well I actually I mean both, in all likelihood.
For once, all eyes will be on the same screen, kinda. It’s estimated the audience at home in the US will be comfortably in excess of 100 million, with millions more tuning in at weird hours of the morning via dodgy Russian streaming sites around the world.
That’s why Super Bowl ads are famously some of the most expensive around – the likes of Netflix and Google are reportedly spending as much as $7 million for a single 30-second slot during Super Bowl LVII.
As such the ads are insanely high-budget affairs, with major celebrities, elaborate special effects and a general air of sick commercial desperation.
Why desperation? Well, it’s not like the old days. At least half, and probably a lot more, of that 100 million audience will be watching on two screens. The TV, and their phone.
Which is where memes come in.
SUPER BOWL MEME ADS
Memes in Superbowl ads are nothing new, of course. Success Kid (remember him) was deployed in a 2015 advert for Coca Cola. A couple years back, T-Mobile recycled that screenshot meme where the guy asked his Uber driver for emotional support.
This year, Dieunerst Collin will be appearing in a big-budget Popeyes commercial. You know, ‘side-eye kid from Popeyes‘ back in, whoah, 2013.
Dieunerst, now 18, is a college football player himself now, as it happens, and seems to have done well out of the deal, with at least a new puppy and a Tesla to show for himself. Money too, right.
Oh, and a billboard in his hometown. Not bad for (let’s face it) a stale-ass meme.
REDDIT SUPER BOWL MEMES
The reason ad executives use memes in Super Bowl ads is obvious. It relates to what people are actually into. Especially those on phones during the big game (everyone).
It’s partly an effort to activate folks who are more likely to be hanging out on Reddit, or Twitter, than actually watching terrestrial TV like a goddamn boomer. A knowing wink, as if the brand is saying ‘we get it’.
And they’re desperately hoping you share it, of course, and do their marketing for them.
But hang on, you might be thinking – your typical Redditor hates sports. Sports remind him (yes, him) of being bullied at school. And also later being bullied at work.
Well the meme culture has room for him too. Just check out r/superbowl. It it what you thought it was going to be? No, it’s a troll. Those crazy Reddit kids.
MILLENIAL SUPER BOWL MEMES
Last year was kind of a watershed, in terms of the halftime show. Bookers for the half-time show consciously targeted Millennials with a lineup including Eminem, Snoop, Mary J Blige and 50 Cent. In former years they went for the boomer dollar, via the likes of Paul McCartney.
Millennials are now old enough to have all the power, apparently, whether they like it or not, but they were psyched to see their old heroes up there – and dutifully took to the internet and memed the ass out of it.
The memes that people made in response illuminate the other side of Super Bowl meme equation. Because in addition to advertisers cringily riding on the back of memes to sell product, the Super Bowl is also arguably the most fertile meme creation factory on the planet.
That’s why the memes are so good. We’re all watching, right? We’re all, however briefly, sharing the same baseline cultural references. Let’s make fun of them!
BRANDS GETTING IT RIGHT
A few years back, you’ll recall, there was a power outage during the game. Oreo – not an official Super Bowl brand – ingeniously chimed in with it’s now-infamous ‘you can still dunk in the dark’ tweet.
The genius behind said tweet – Sarah Hofstetter, boss of digital marketing agency 360i – is just one of the brightest meme minds of their generation, who will be going head to head in the social media arena this Sunday afternoon.
‘You’ve got to balance two different forces,’ Hofstetter told Wired.
‘You’ve got the advertisers who are trying to get more bang for their buck.
‘Then you’ve got non-advertisers that think they can just break through the clutter by being viral.’
Let the games begin…
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