Michael Cera(Ve)

words by

Rachel Fan

March 26, 2024

humanology newsletter

Michael Cera(Ve)

As an Influencer Manager, I love watching Super Bowl commercials every year to see what brands are willing to do to stand out from the crowd, and what talent partnerships help bring the creative ideas to life. This year, without a doubt, the stand out for me was Michael Cera’s x CeraVe’s commercial. This was a brilliant play on harmoniously combining the personality and embodiment of a celebrity with the voice of a brand. Michael Cera the perfect person to parody these ads, as his last name is literally in the product. I love when brands are able to find these wordplay connections in marketing (cue Michael Bublé and Bubly sparkling waters debuting back in the 2019 Super Bowl commercials.)

CeraVe utilizing influencer partnerships, guerrilla marketing stunts during this campaign created curiosity and more anticipation of what was to come. The “Superbad” and “Barbie Movie” star was "spotted" by influencer @KaleyyBaylee, a CeraVe brand partner, at a pharmacy placing stickers of his face on CeraVe bottles, in a clip that has garnered over 1M views on TikTok. Even the Reddit thread comments speak for itself when it comes to brand sentiment. People love how the no-frills skincare line adopted such a quirky and unique brand voice. 

The brilliance of the ad and partnership is that you have no expectations of what you’re about to watch, maybe you’re a little confused at first, but you leave wanting more. Personally, I went back to YouTube after initially seeing it, finding myself replaying it a couple more times because of how strange yet inviting it was. There was just a quiet confidence that said “take it or leave it,” elevated by the perfect celebrity talent, which I believe everyone respects from a person or brand.

What makes this campaign so intriguing is how unexpected it is. If I was tasked with having to curate a list of celebrities to be the face of this, Michael Cera would initially be one of the last people on there. So wordplay-aside, it’s interesting that this was so successful, right? It’s evident showcasing that skincare is for everyone in a bizarre and not your run-of-the-mill glamorous promo is a breath of fresh air in the world of skincare marketing. Just like dipping Oreos into peanut butter might come across as “hmm, that’s a strange combination” at first, once you try it, you can’t go back. It just works and makes you curious what other two things you should put together and try.

Not only did the ad win hearts online, it took home the Super Clio from the Clio Awards, which recognizes the Big Game's most “entertaining or emotional” commercial. I’m a little biased as I enjoy this type of humor, but it was everything I didn’t know I wanted in a commercial. It’s nostalgic, unsettling, and funny. Using unconventional humor and even going back to the traditional way of guerrilla marketing can be more impactful and successful than one would think. I look forward to following the brand and seeing if they will continue to use Michael Cera to extend this campaign, or if CeraVe will approach it with fresh eyes for next year’s big game. Only time will tell!

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