See Hellmann's Super Bowl ad with Pete Davidson, Jon Hamm and Brie Larson

You won't miss which brand this Unilever spot is for as the mayo jar looms large

Published On
Feb 06, 2023

Editor's Pick

Hellmann’s gave away the joke in the teaser of its Super Bowl ad—that the brand had enlisted Jon Hamm and Brie Larson to go with its mayonnaise. A new celebrity surprise comes in whose refrigerator Hamm and Brie turn up in—Pete Davidson's.

In the brand's in-game commercial, revealed today, affable comedian and former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Davidson opens the fridge door to find miniaturized versions of the actors circling a Hellmann’s jar. Hamm makes a bit of an industry inside joke reference to Davidson's growing ad and pop culture ubiquity after saying: “He really is everywhere.”

The ad, from WPP’s Wunderman Thompson and directed by Martin Granger via Moxie, marks Davidson's return appearance for Unilever's Hellmann's brand. (West of the Rockies, Best Foods mayo will be shown, under the media buy via Mindshare that serves different versions of the commercial in different regions during the second quarter of the Fox broadcast on Feb. 12.)

Davidson appeared in last year’s spot as a victim of Jerod Mayo, who became the updated version of Terry Tate, “Office Linebacker,” punishing those who let their food go to waste. “I’m very hittable,” Davidson said in the 2022 commercial, a not-so-veiled reference to having been targeted by a threat in a Kanye West song over their mutual interest in West’s ex-wife Kim Kardashian.

This year, Davidson expresses his desire to eat his co-stars in the fridge, which, while it definitely sounds weird at first, gets less so as Hamm, Larson and Davidson talk things over in right-sized form over a nicely food-styled ham, brie and mayo panini.

Arguably, the hero of this year’s “Make Taste. Not Waste” spot is the Hellman’s jar, which towers above Hamm and Larson in the fridge. In a deluge of new creative that often makes it hard for people to remember what brand backed any given Super Bowl commercial, it will be hard to forget this one belongs to Hellmann’s.

“There is nothing more iconic than the Hellmann’s jar in the fridge,” said Benjamin Crook, VP-general manager of dressings and condiments in North America for Unilever. “The contextual relevance of big jar, small people I think is also a really important, fun creative device. Then layer in obviously the food names that two of our celebrities have.”

“I think we put ourselves against a wall there, because I’m not sure we’re ever going to have another spot for them that has as much branding,” said Susan Golkin, executive creative director at Wunderman Thompson. “We did not have one conversation about was there enough branding, I think for the first time in my career.”

The idea of finding celebrities with food names and putting them in the refrigerator in front of a hungry Davidson also works naturally into the brand purpose behind the spot, which is all about reducing food waste. While Unilever, and specifically Hellmann’s, has come under criticism in the past from some investors for focusing on purpose over purchase, the big jar in the fridge may put that to rest, too.

Both the purpose and the brand have done well with the Super Bowl, which is why it’s willing to re-up again for the most expensive buy in TV, Crook said. Estimates from peg the Unilever brand’s overall spending on TV at $11 million to $14.5 million each of the past three years, and this year’s reported $7 million price tag for a 30-second spot would consume nearly half that or more.

The Super Bowl is the perfect place for Hellmann's to advertise, Crook said, because it’s at the forefront of the food waste problem in the U.S. In all, 40% of food in the U.S. is wasted, and 43% of that waste is at home, he said. The Super Bowl, with its abundance of leftovers from parties, is the biggest food waste event of the year, he said.

“What we aim to do every year is inspire over 100 million consumers to think differently about food waste,” Crook said. That includes raising awareness of the problem, and, of course, of mayonnaise as a solution ingredient for bringing leftovers to life.

The Unilever brand’s purpose is to reduce food waste by 50% in keeping with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The Fridge Night app, which Hellmann’s is promoting for the second year as part of that, has demonstrated an ability to change behavior around food waste, Crook said.

“It’s a large-scale behavioral study,” he said. “We know as consumers go through the process [of using the app] they actually reduce food waste by 46% in their homes.” The app offers up flexible recipes using Hellmann’s to make meals and snacks from leftovers.


Feb 06, 2023
Client :
Agency :
Wunderman Thompson
Global Vice President :
Christina Bauer-Plank
Vice President :
Benjamin Crook
Director :
Christopher Symmes
Associate Brand Manager :
Neira Selimovic
Senior Regional Advertising Producer :
Arlene Fernandez
Regional Advertising Producer :
Minna Cedeno
Chief Creative Officer :
Tom Murphy
Executive Creative Director :
Susan Golkin
Group Creative Director :
Peepo David
Creative :
Ransom Haywood
Creative :
Fallon Parker
Creative :
Dana Stalker
Creative Freelancer :
Chuck Meehan
Creative :
Nicolas Romano
Creative :
Jared Kozell
SVP Content Production :
Angela Barber
Executive Producer :
Tara Leinwohl
Senior Integrated Business Manager :
Emily Nargi
Global Business Director :
Ariel Stern
Senior Account Director :
Sarah Mannion
Account Supervisor :
Samantha Kaufman
Account Manager :
Madison Andrews
Executive Strategy Director :
Daryl Giannantonio
Group Strategy Director :
Maddie Gupta
Associate Strategy Director :
Matt Confer
Production :
Director :
Martin Granger
VP / Executive Producer :
Karol Zeno
Head of Production :
Jodi Fisher
Producer :
Heidi Soltesz
DP :
Robert Yeoman
Production Designer :
Ken Avril
Cake Films
James Hammond
Joe Marine
Juan Nunez
Editorial :
Mack Cut
Editor :
Ryan Steele
Cutting Assistant :
Devon Flint
Editor :
Franklin Ponce
Executive Producer :
Gina Pagano
Producer :
Dylan Anderson
The Mill
Creative Director :
Corey Brown
Executive Producer :
Matthew Loranger
Senior VFX Producer :
Sally Wnek
Shoot Supervisor :
Corey Brown
2D Lead Artist :
Julien Acucoutrier
2D Artist :
Anton Anderson
2D Artist :
Sole Martin
2D Artist :
Stephen Miller
Associate Producer :
Cath Daly
Associate Producer :
Sam Ashby
Associate Producer :
Arvindsingh Thakur
Production Coordinator :
Emily Truong
Color :
The Mill
Senior Colorist :
Elodie Ichter
Executive Producer :
Alexandra Lubrano
Music :
JSM Music
Joel Simon
VP/Executive Producer :
Jeff Fiorello
Senior Producer :
Andrew Manning
Senior Producer :
Norm Fleker
Senior Producer :
Sharon Cha
Mix :
Sonic Union
Audio Mixer :
Mike Marinelli
Audio Post Producer :
Mary Kate Valentino
Public Relations :
Media :
Celebrity Talent :
Jon Hamm
Celebrity Talent :
Brie Larson
Celebrity Talent :
Pete Davidson

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