The 20 Best Super Bowl Ads of All Time
As Super Bowl LIII approaches and clever commercials await, take a look back at some of the most [...]
As Super Bowl LIII approaches and clever commercials await, take a look back at some of the most iconic ads during the Big Game's broadcast.
From funny ads to musical numbers and thought-provoking segments, these high-priced spots have pushed the boundaries of advertising to deliver some unforgettable moments.
In 2018, advertisers will have to dish out around $5 million for a 30-second spot on NBC, keeping in line with FOX's average in 2017. While the price for an ad is massive, it will be eyed by the more than 100 million Americans who tune in to watch the Super Bowl every year.
While we wait to judge this year's expensive ads, take a look at some iconic commercials from years past, including spots from snack products, beer companies and business tools.
SNICKERS - "BETTY WHITE"
Snickers' 2010 commercial featuring then 88-year-old Betty White laid the bones for the candy brand's "You're not you when you're hungry" campaign. Since its memorable spot during the Big Game, the ads were led by other stars like Aretha Franklin, Liza Minnelli and the late Robin Williams.
DORITOS - "TIME MACHINE"
In recent years, Doritos has become a staple brand featured during the Super Bowl thanks to its consistent presence and wacky commercials. But in 2014, one of its ad spots stole viewers hearts by combining a kids entrepreneurial spirit and love of nacho cheese.prevnext
WENDY'S - "WHERE'S THE BEEF?"
"Where's the Beef?" began as a 1984 ad slogan to call out rivals McDonald's and Burger King for skimping on their burgers, But the catchphrase quickly became a phrase used to call into question anything that lacked substance.
This original ad, which aired in the days leading up to Super Bowl XVIII, not only helped to boost Wendy's revenue by 31% in 1984, it played a supporting role in the Democratic primaries, when former Vice President Walter Mondale used the phrase to criticize policy proposals from Sen. Gary Hart.
MR. CLEAN - "CLEANER OF YOUR DREAMS"
In Mr. Clean's 70 years as a mascot for the Procter & Gamble brand, he has never been painted as a sex symbol. In this 2017 clever play off the success of Magic Mike, his computer-animated muscles had women begging for their own Magic Eraser man — and had men mopping the floors in hopes of some action.prevnext
PEPSI - "DELIVERY GUYS"
Pepsi took a risk in this 1996 commercial as it clearly showed rival Coca-Cola's branding, something traditional ad execs would have nixed instantly. While future ad spots may not have followed such a direct lead, it laid the foundation for now-normal comparison spots, like rival fast food ads or Apple's "Mac vs. PC" series.
BUDWEISER - "PUPPY LOVE"
Budweiser's 2014 Super Bowl ad was perhaps the most popular commercial during the game, and it didn't feature a single beer. Instead, it incorporated America's apparent love for puppies with the brand's iconic Clydesdale horses. It is also a venture away from the brand's typical humorous style of advertising, but its viral status showed that its risk was not without reward.prevnext
E-TRADE - "E-TRADE BABY"
E-Trade struck advertising gold when it created its series of baby-themed commercials. The first aired in 2008 and continued a series of talking toddlers discussing stocks until 2013.
MOUNTAIN DEW KICKSTART - "PUPPYMONKEYBABY"
Annoying or legendary, "puppymonkeybaby" is an earworm that has continued to puzzle viewers since its Super Bowl debut in 2016. Mountain Dew has since developed a number of outlandish ads to rival its own bizarre creation to sell its Kickstart energy drink.prevnext
MONSTER.COM - "WHEN I GROW UP"
In 1999, Monster.com, which was once the no. 1 place to search for jobs online, used kids to exploit the working class' feelings of dissatisfaction with their jobs. The kids shared dreams of clawing their way up to middle-management and being a "yes man" who is underpaid and underappreciated to rekindle adults' actual career expectations.
PEPSI - "CINDY CRAWFORD"
Pepsi's 1992 ad tapped supermodel Cindy Crawford to use her sex appeal only to revert focus on Pepsi's newly redesigned can — and not on the slow-motion, hair-tossling moves of Crawford. The model recreated the ad for its 25th anniversary in 2017, proving that a celebrity-driven ad will never go out of style.prevnext
PEPSI - "BRITNEY SPEARS"
In 2001, Pepsi's ad resembled more of a full-scale music video than a commercial, but the soft drink giant made it all come together with Britney Spears in a Pepsi-branded outfit, belly ring and all, singing to an original pop jingle.
The two-minute production also ushered in a trend of music-focused ads to keep slogans like "the joy of Pepsi" stuck in viewers' heads.
BUDWEISER - "WHASSUP"
Budweiser nearly ditched product placement altogether for its series of "Whassup" ads, which began in 1999. Rather than on the beer, the ads focused on a group of guys being silly with the inside jokes, which seems to have spawned an entire genre of Super Bowl ads meant solely to entertain viewers.
The "Whassup" phrase became a stable of Budweiser's ad spots in the early 2000s and plenty of real-life beer lovers adopted the annoying phrase.prevnext
REEBOK - "TERRY TATE"
What better audience to introduce a commercial starring football legend Terry Tate than during the biggest game of the year? Reebok created this hilarious office-football mashup for the 2003 Super Bowl, which ushered in a series of similar ads in the following years.
GOOGLE - "PARISIAN LOVE"
Google's Super Bowl spot in 2010 was its first-ever advertisement on television, and while it tugged on viewer's heartstrings, it also revealed some of the lesser-known features of the search platform — like being able to pull up your flight status by Googling the flight number.
The ad was developed by five young Google employees, who did not create the spot for the Super Bowl. It first went online until someone pitched it as a prospect to air during the Big Game.prevnext
VOLKSWAGEN - "THE FORCE"
Volkswagen stayed silent during the Super Bowl for more than a decade before it unleashed this 2011 ad spot. It went up first online, which has since become a widespread practice, and the buzz ahead of the Big Game launched the Star Wars-themed commercial to become the most-shared Super Bowl ad of all time.
MCDONALD'S - "THE SHOWDOWN"
In 1993, McDonald's recruited NBA legends and rivals Michael Jordan and Larry Bird to battle it out for a Big Mac, which has since been recreated with other basketball legends and NFL quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flacco. Despite its appearance during a football game, "The Showdown" commercial popularized the famous basketball phrase "nothing but net."prevnext
BUDWEISER - "FROGS"
Budweiser's 1995 "Frogs" ad is one of the most well-known ads in Super Bowl history, thanks largely to its simple, catchy phrasing.
CAREER BUILDER - "MONKEYS"
Career Builder's 2006 ad featuring an office full of monkeys clearly resonated with the working class audience. In subsequent ad spots, it continued to play off the theme, sending employees mad with its primitive colleagues' antics.prevnext
NO MORE - "LISTEN"
The first Super Bowl commercial ever to address domestic violence and sexual assault was this 2015 PSA from the NO MORE movement, which featured a real 911 call.
Rather than pay the hefty pricetag for the airtime, it was donated by the NFL as part of a PR campaign to manage controversy over its handling of former player Ray Rice's assault of his then-fiancée.
APPLE - "INTRODUCING MACINTOSH"
One of the most iconic Super Bowl ads of all time is Director Ridley Scott's ad announcing the impending release of Macintosh, which was more of a short film than a 30-second pitch and jingle.
Apple's groundbreaking ad played on people's fears by comparing rival tech giant IBM to Big Brother, set on monopolizing the personal computer industry without room for creativity or exploration. It only ran one time on television in 1984 until the company ran it (with an iPod etched in) for the 20th anniversary.prev