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How Hellmann’s Big Game ad is scoring points for growth


Hellmann’s was back at the Big Game, making mayo unmissable with an ad starring comedian Kate McKinnon and a mayo-meowing cat. We take a look at how this winning line-up is delivering for the brand on Game Day and beyond.

Image of a fluffy cat with a blue bow, star of  Hellmann’s Big Game ad, encouraging us all to Make Taste Not Waste.

The Big Game is all about the numbers. Two teams. Four 15-minute quarters. Over 100 million viewers. And some of the most effective premium advertising slots available to brands.

Hellmann’s has for the fourth consecutive year secured one of these prime-time spots for a showstopper ad that aims to convert viewers to consumers and use mayo to Make Taste, Not Waste with their leftovers.

But what makes Game Day such a premium advertising moment for brands?

Hellmann’s Big Game Mayo Cat projected on the Sphere in Las Vegas

Reach: Buying into the potential of 100 million viewers

There are very few events where brands can be sure their advertising moment will be watched by millions at the same time, but this is one of them, with people all over the world tuning in to watch.

But the real attraction is that studies show that these viewing figures often convert into consumer action.

Research from behavioural research company Veylinx shows that 2023 Game Day advertising fuelled a 6.4% increase in demand among viewers, with women powering 21% of that growth.

Engagement: Grabbing attention with purpose and laughter

However, Game Day success is not a given. The secret lies in getting the tone of the ad right for an audience that is looking to be entertained.

And although food waste is never a laughing matter, the fun factor has been effective in communicating Hellmann’s Make Taste Not Waste message on what is the second biggest day of food waste in the US.

Past campaigns have seen a 24.4% increase in social media conversations on waste following the Big Game[a].

“We know that 69% of respondents favour funny ads in the Big Game over serious ones – and we’ve seen that to be true in our past advertisements during the Big Game as well,” says Christopher Symmes, Head of Performance Marketing, Dressings North America.

Christina Bauer-Plank, Hellmann’s & Dressings Global Brand VP, agrees.

“Millennials, and especially Gen Z, care deeply about sustainability and consequently our Make Taste, Not Waste messaging has played an important role in resonating with those consumers and driving new penetration while remaining true to the brand that keeps us popular with Gen X and Baby Boomers,” she says.

Today our mayonnaise is in 46.7% of all US millennial households. Now that is a winning touchdown.

Christopher Symmes, Head of Performance Marketing, Dressings North America

Growth: Beyond the ad

But Hellmann’s Game Day strategy goes beyond a single advertising moment. Using the ad as a springboard, Hellmann’s has been able to leverage the whole marketing funnel from awareness to conversion, through search optimisation, streaming and social media.

“Perhaps the best proof point we have about how effective this advertising is lies in Hellmann’s growth in the condiment category over the years,” says Christopher.

“Four years ago we were under-indexed among millennial consumers with 42.6% penetration. Today our mayonnaise is in 46.7% of all US millennial households. Now that is a winning touchdown.”


Data was drawn from NetBase for February 2021, 2022 and 2023 (X/Twitter, news, blogs, Tumblr, forums, Instagram).

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