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3 Brands that Built an Experience Instead of Just a Super Bowl Ad

The Super Bowl is one of the most viewed televised events annually, representing a prime opportunity for brands to connect with audiences. The $7 million price tag for 30 seconds of airtime draws productions aimed to impress…but what happens when those 30 seconds are over?

The biggest stages call for bold, creative risks aligned with strategy. In an evolving landscape, impressions matter less than real connections. As football watchers ourselves, we spotted three forward-thinking picks this year that skipped known shortcuts, brought their ad to life, and extended their presence beyond their time on the screen.

These brands prepared well and built integrated campaigns designed to earn places in both hearts and minds plus extend the life of their ad buy:

Dunkin’ brings out “The DunKings”

In their Super Bowl ad campaign, Dunkin' featured Ben Affleck and his celebrity friends, immersing them in the Dunkin' world. Rather than rely solely on famous faces to endorse products, Dunkin' humorously cast Matt Damon, Tom Brady, and Jack Harlow to perform in a boy band alongside Affleck in branded tracksuits as Jennifer Lopez and Fat Joe stare from the sound booth in disbelief.

This creative celebrity integration built on Dunkin's existing partnership with Affleck. On its own, this commercial is funny, generating buzz among viewers. But Dunkin' took it one step further, dropping limited-time menu items and merch the next day allowing customers to engage with the experience.

The integrated campaign drove tremendous sales results for Dunkin’, including record high Valentine’s Day revenue and most donuts sold in one day. The success spotlights how brands can spark interest by incorporating celebrities as cultural insiders, not just passive endorsements. Dunkin' leveraged humor and inside access to curate an experience, giving customers new and compelling ways to connect with the brand across platforms.

Dove boosts confidence with “Hard Knocks”

This year, Dove's Super Bowl ad built on its brand heritage of supporting women and girls through body confidence struggles. Rather than promote specific products, Dove created a digital short video showing a series of young girls falling while playing sports. At the end, a statistic appeared reading, "45% of girls quit sports by age 14," emphasizing that more girls quit sports due to body confidence issues than sports knocks. 

The ad aimed to connect with women and girls who have faced body confidence barriers, including many quitting sports at a young age for this very reason. Dove hoped to encourage participation in their Body Confident Sports program designed to cultivate body positivity for ages 11-17.

While other brands used expensive airtime to advertise shampoos or washes, Dove seized the opportunity to reinforce their higher purpose. The emotional story reminds consumers of the brand's meaningful impact on critical issues, so when deciding between body washes, shoppers may lean toward Dove to align with their values.

DoorDash creates a competition with a BIG reward

DoorDash created an interactive Super Bowl ad inviting viewers to crack a promotional code and win featured products from ALL(!!) game day spots. The commercial displayed a lengthy, puzzle-like code. Successfully decoding it would enter participants to win everything from Doritos to a new BMW.

The well-timed stunt aligned with DoorDash's "Your Door to More" platform launch, supporting their mission to expand economic access. Though only one person won the grand prize, the clever campaign built significant brand awareness. It also catalyzed social media conversations, leveraging just 30 Super Bowl seconds to drive strategic goals crossing promotional, economic, and cultural objectives.

DoorDash creatively transformed conventional commercial airtime into an interactive puzzle that rewarded viewers with invaluable exposure. More than just acquiring user data, the brand constructed an aspirational contest designed for viral engagement across digital ecosystems.

This year's standout Super Bowl ads from Dunkin', Dove, and DoorDash demonstrate the immense power of compelling brand storytelling grounded in authenticity. Rather than promote products, these brands focused on curating creative experiences aligned with their core ethos. Great advertising requires thinking beyond a short TV spot to integrate the brand narrative across platforms. It's about understanding your essence and finding fresh ways to invite audiences into a compelling branded world that rewards their active participation. 

By leveraging creative risks around issues that matter to forge meaningful connections, these campaigns generated tangible business impact that will continue resonating thanks to the cultures they helped shape. Their success proves that the boldest marketing ideas can catalyze brand love when they capture the imagination through stories we inherently want to belong to and bring value by enriching lives.

Want to make sure every experience with your business is worthwhile? Contact The ExperienceBuilt Group for an experience audit today.


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