If there's one blockbuster event in the advertising calendar, it's the Super Bowl. Companies often shell out millions to have their commercials seen during the games, and 2023 was no exception. From M&Ms to Pepsi, plenty of brands got people talking this year – but perhaps the most head-turning of the lot came courtesy of a bag of crisps.
Unless you've been living inside an RV, you've probably heard that Super Bowl LVII saw the reunion of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. In an ad for Pop Corners, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul reprised their iconic Breaking Bad roles – and, as you might expect, people have some pretty strong feelings about it. (Looking for more advertising inspiration? Check out the best print ads of all time.)
There's a lot to love about the ad, which sees the pair manufacturing the crisps in their famous RV instead of meth. Despite the ridiculous premise, the whole thing feels like a real scene from the show, and not just because it features Cranston and Paul. The ad was directed by series creator Vince Gilligan, and pretty much recreates an exact scene from the first series of the show.
Unsurprisingly, then, the whole thing looks, sounds and feels authentically Breaking Bad – and plenty of Twitter users are already declaring it the best Super Bowl ad of the year. While plenty of brands have pulled out all the stops and hired all manner of celebrities, nothing quite compares to seeing a beloved universe come (back) to life.
I love Breaking Bad with my whole soul, best #SuperBowl ad by a landslide 😂 pic.twitter.com/vQMPcxey9jFebruary 13, 2023
The @BreakingBad commercial for @popcorners was one of the best Super Bowl ads I've ever seen. I wondered why Breaking Bad was trending again on Netflix yesterday hahaFebruary 13, 2023
But fan service aside, there's another way of looking at the ad. Once the sheen of that authentic Breaking Bad world has worn off, what are we left with? Walt and Jese advertising crisps. And as many have pointed out, this might be our last official glimpse at the series' world (it features the same stars and director – 'official' seems fair). Is that not a little... sad? It's a phrase that's thrown around a lot these days, but... is nothing sacred?
This potentially being the last thing we ever see from the Breaking Bad universe is just depressing. https://t.co/bqYFjFi53hFebruary 13, 2023
This as the last thing we going to see about the Breaking Bad universe. American capitalism https://t.co/ur47qTGoxzFebruary 13, 2023
I hope everyone made a bunch of money but that @popcorners #BreakingBad ad made me so sad.February 13, 2023
It all comes down to whether you see a (no doubt) multi-million dollar ad as harmless fun, or a tainting of the legacy it's riffing on. Still, it isn't the only Super Bowl commercial that's causing controversy – we have a lot of questions about that M&M's ad.