I remember the very first Super Bowl party I ever went to. I was only five years old. My father worked at a car dealership, and his boss invited him to the annual Super Bowl party he held every year. Being a young boy, I knew little about the sport and had no idea what to expect, but from the second I was welcomed at the door, I realized that there was no turning back as I was instantly hooked to the NFL Championship atmosphere. Twenty years later and I remember every moment of that night. The pizza, wings, and drinks spread across a big glorious table. The nice colors on the jerseys, and even the captivating Superbowl commercials that kept us hooked to the TV between plays. There was nothing like it! So now with summer coming and the NFL Draft looming ahead, it’s time for an ode to the Superbowl commercials that helped me understand what American spirit is at such a young age! I have compiled the best ads of all time with number one at the end as a thank you to the NFL for making me feel welcomed and part of American culture from year one as an immigrant. Every other slide has a video so as the last six ads on our list. Enjoy!
Let’s start with the fact that every commercial on this list is excellent in its own respects. Some more iconic than others, but all interesting and very unique none the less! The first commercial on the list is the E-Trade Babies Super Bowl XLIV 2010 Commercial.
People love babies, and people like money. This commercial took that combination and made it into a masterpiece by dubbing a man’s voice on a baby’s mouth, and the result is pure cuteness, and hilarity that conveys the message correctly. Check it out!
It’s a Miracle
The 1970s was a time where technology was just starting to make its mark on society. That’s why when Xerox wanted to make a Super Bowl commercial about their new elephant sized printer, they decided to do it in a way that will showcase how innovative a machine it really was.
The script they chose for the commercial was about a Catholic scribe who had just finished writing 100’s of copies of scripture. When his priest told him, he needed to make 100 more, he went to the Xerox print shop and came back minutes later, and his priest looked up to the sky and said: “It’s a miracle!” The next commercial was a miracle in its own rights.
Internet Revolutionizing Jobs
Finding a job used to be a real pain in the butt before the internet. Not that it isn’t now! You work hard in school, apply yourself in college after taking out substantial student loans fully knowing that your job search is going to grueling. Now imagine that job search without the internet!
Monster.com wanted to convey the message to the millions of Americans watching TV that night, that they would be the platform that would change the way they find jobs, and that the dreams they had would not go to waste anymore!
In 2008 the world of trending animal videos had just begun and still catches wind until this day. That’s why Bridgestone tires chose to make a commercial that does just that. Bridgestone took Americas most common animal the squirrel and using CGI showed it attempting to get an acorn that fell into the street.
As a car starts speeding towards it, it begins to scream, and sets off a montage of screaming animals from around the block, and ends with the wife screaming in the car as the husband calmly moves the steering wheel to avoid hitting the small creature.
In 1992 Pepsi kicked off a promotional campaign with its new retro-style Pepsi can with no other than a good old Super Bowl commercial, and who better to film the commercial with than the ultra-popular model/actress Cindy Crawford!
The commercial begins with Crawford pulling up to a retro gas station as two boys appear to stare at her from afar. As she takes a drink, one of the boys then says to the other “Is that a great new Pepsi can or what!”
“You Keep Up the Good Work”
FedEx took their own stab at a Super Bowl in 2003 with their genius metaphor of excellent service in the form of a castaway delivery guy who just made it back to the mainland after being stranded on an island.
He declared to the woman at the door that he swore an oath to get the package to the woman no matter what! When did he ask her what’s inside? She pulled out all the equipment he would have needed to survive being stranded on an island!
Peace Love and Coca-Cola
In 1971 was a tough time in the American political spectrum. War was still being fiercely waged in Vietnam, and the ending of segregation had only half a generation before. By then Coke had become a household name world over and wanted to convey a message of unity to the world.
So, they brought people from around the globe to sing a song of Love and Cola that could resonate with anyone who loves peace and Soda.
“Clash of Clans” Revenge
When popular gaming app “Clash of Clans” was deliberating on how to make a funny Superbowl commercial that will bring more gamers, they decided to bring action movie star Liam Neeson to play his stereotype character of a man that’s not to mess with.
The commercial starts with live gameplay that ends with Neeson losing to another online player. Liam then gets interrupted mid-monologue to be told that his coffee is ready as the barista pronounces his name wrong.
A Star Lineup
Superbowl LII saw Amazon, (one of the wealthiest company’s in the world,) take the Superbowl ad game to a whole new level. The plot of the commercial is Alexa losing her voice and needing a replacement, it then features Amazon founder Jeff Bezos freaking out about what to do.
Bezos is then assured by one of the execs that they found a solution. What’s the answer? Simple; bringing out Cardi B Gordon Ramsey, Rebel Wilson, and Sr Anthony Hopkins to replace Alexa until she feels better. The commercial would go down in history as one of the funniest Superbowl ads of all time!
Not Really for Men
In the early 70s, women still used hairspray. Lots, and lots of hairsprays! But hairspray would make their hair brittle and very damaged. So, when Vitalis launched their hairspray “for men,” they actually meant to market it for women.
In the Superbowl ad for “Vitalis Dry Control,” a woman is seen in a locker room explaining to women that the hair spray is made for men but works for women too. Therefore, it works better and is less damaging to the hair.
The 1995 Superbowl commercial was a very funny ice breaker for any angry fan who needed a laugh, and maybe a fun reminder to grab a beer from the fridge.
The ad opens with two toads sitting in a bayou creek, one says “Bud,” the other “Weis.” Then a third one comes along and says “Er!” The camera then pans around to show them staring at hidden lit up bar sign with the word Budweiser on it.
Dove Self Esteem Foundation
Dove wanted to showcase their NGO the Dove Self Esteem Foundation in 2006 and launched a Superbowl ad that would bring tears to every mother and father’s eyes. Shots of young girls, of all shapes and sizes expressing their feelings about their looks, smarts, or strength.
Superbowl ads are some of the most viewed advertisements in the world because of the endless breaks in the game. So, no one wants to leave the TV in case the game comes back on. Great way to convey a message to the masses.
Macin’ the Bird
If you’re watching the Superbowl, expect to see commercials from the biggest companies in the world, and within that bracket, the heavy hitters from the fast food world. McDonalds best seller in 1993 was the Big Mac. The iconic double cheeseburger with a bun in the middle.
McDonald’s filmed a commercial with iconic basketball legends Larry Bird, and Michael Jordon playing a game of shot for shot, and they both kept sinking the net. So, Jordon suggested to Bird that they were going to be there for a while, and he better grabs a Big Mac.
Matt Damon was chosen by veteran beer organization Stella Artois, to showcase their new NGO “Water.org.” Damon starts with a monologue explaining that today Americans have it easy, and are able to get clean water “at the turn of a tap.”
He then describes that millions of people in the developing world walk up to six hours every day just to get water. He then explains that if only 1% of everyone watching buys a limited-edition Stella chalice than 1 million people can get clean water.
Assisting in Love
In 2010 internet search engine giants “Google,” launched a terrific ad that only shows the functioning of their search bar. As the viewer starts to read the searches, they realize that the person searching is having a long-distance relationship with a woman in Paris.
The commercial starts with him searching how to impress a French girl, continues with “how to manage a long-distance relationship, and ends with how to build a crib, giving the message that Google is with you throughout your life.
The 2001 Superbowl was an especially emotional Superbowl compared to past championship games. Americans were still mourning the World Trade Center tragedy, and companies like Budweiser decided to have a more modest commercial given the atmosphere.
Budweiser launched a simple, lineless ad showing a herd of Clydesdale horses carrying an old Budweiser delivery cart, and bowing down towards the city of New York in memorial of the Twin Towers.
These things Cost Money
One of the most discussed subjects during the commercial hour in any Superbowl party is the different prediction’s people have for how much the ads cost. So, when ETrade was thinking about how they could get a laugh and join in the fun, they shot a video of 2 guys with a dancing monkey in the middle with the song, “La Cucaracha” playing in the background.
They then end the commercial with the words “We just wasted two million bucks. What are you doing with your money?”
Where’s the Beef!
In 1984 fast-food chain Wendy’s was keen on showcasing their competitions faults in a commercial showing three old ladies admiring the fluffiness of a burger patty, and then being annoyed that there is little beef in-between.
They then start screaming “hey where’s the beef!” To where Wendy’s narrator starts to explain that Wendy’s “Single,” has more meat than all the other fast food burgers in existence.
Commercials in the Superbowl often feature former and current NFL players in them as well. Some don’t do too well in front of the camera, others flourish!
When Reebok chose linebacker Terry Tate to star in their commercial “Office Linebacker.” They realized quickly how great of a decision it was to do so. The commercial was a big hit, literally!
In 1997, Nissan had launched a great commercial that both pokes fun at pigeons, the movie Top Gun, and gives value to the speed of their vehicles. The first shot is of talking pigeons on the prowl talking to one another like pilots, looking for a clean car to poop on.
They then come across a Nissan that had just left a car wash. They then rush towards the vehicle, with the Top Gun soundtrack playing in the background trying to catch the car. When the lead pigeon takes a dive, he crashes into the garage and asks for a medic.
The Mexican avocado industry is one of the most successful commodity trading industries in the world. That’s why the Mexican government decided to fund a Superbowl commercial that would show how great they really are.
The ad starts with a secret society that behaves like the cast from the office, arguing, and bickering about all the secrets that are being leaked, and ends with the biggest mystery of all being that “Mexican avocados are the best. ”
Chauvinism in the ’80s
During the late 80’s it was still acceptable in society to have commercials that objectify women. Pepsi held an ad with then-famous Michael J. Fox where he gets a knock on the door late at night from a tall skinny girl who asks him for a Pepsi.
He then dances around the hallway and realizes he doesn’t have Pepsi for the girl. So, he then jumps down the fire escape in the rain to get her a can, only to come back to see that her equally good-looking roommate would like a can too.
The Bud Light “Swear Jar” commercial is by far one of the most hilarious Superbowl commercials of all time. The first shot shows an office clerk asking his co-worker what the jar on her desk is. She answers him, “it’s the swear jar, if anyone curses, they need to put a quarter in.”
He then asks her where the money will go, and she tells him that they can use it to buy a Bud Light for everyone in the office. That’s when shots break out of different people constantly cursing all around the office to reach enough quarters to buy the beer.
In 2002 Energy quench drink company “Gatorade” launched a Superbowl ad where Michael Jordon plays a One on One game against his 23-year-old self.
The company would actually take shots from his old commercials and write dialogue to match the lines he had. What came out was a masterpiece showing the two Jordon’s picking fun at one another in his classic competitive spirit
Mean Joe Green was a legend of football who played defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was known to be one of the most feared tackles in the history of the game and was feared by all who crossed his path.
That’s until Coke got him to do a commercial where he is walking to the locker room injured and angry until he is stopped by a young boy who hands him a Coke and gives him a smile.
Celebrating American Greatness
In their 1991 Superbowl commercial, Nike decided to invest a bit of money and bring some star shots into their ad.
Showing star athlete moments from legends like John MacEnroe, Andre Agassi, Kirk Gibson, and Michael Jordon. The commercial would show all their accomplishing moments and end with the Nike slogan, “Just Do It.”
In 2014 Budweiser wanted to coin hashtag #BestBuds on social media to be able to drive daily ad revenue. So that’s why they chose to make a commercial that warms hearts and gets a nice laugh too.
A small kennel puppy keeps running away from the barn and runs into another barn to visit his horse friend. Until one day someone buys him and the horse then runs and jumps over fences top retrieve his #BestBud, and bring him back home.
Bold and Brave
Toyota wanted to show to the world that their new Camry model was the boldest car model yet, and wanted to show the most courageous people of all to showcase that; athletes with disabilities.
The commercial shows Paralympian snowboarding champion, Amy Purdy, killing it on the slopes, with a monologue about greatness in the background.
Tide laundry detergent wanted you to see their ad and think of them in every other ad you see. So, they made a montage of all the different types of ads you may come across and stopped them in the middle saying if the clothes in the ad are clean, then it’s a Tide ad.
Ending with the words “If it’s clean, it’s got to be Tide.” The commercial really worked like every other commercial you would see would remind you of Tide.
In 2017’s Super Bowl LI, the NFL wanted to post a commercial during prime time that would pay respects to the passing of American legend Muhammad Ali who had passed away in the summer of 2016.
It would show different films of Ali fighting in the ring, and then pan off to other great NFL players, all with a monologue meant to be Ali’s voice talking about what it means to be great.
When HP partner Company “EDS” wanted to make a Super Bowl Commercial, they understood that their product will be hard to explain, and not be appealing to a general audience.
So, they countered it with a commercial that didn’t make sense either. Where cowboys talk with an American sense of pride, what it’s like when they finish a day of the made-up American tradition of “Cat Herding.”
When pads company “Always” wanted to make a commercial. They did so intending to appeal to both young women and their mothers. They asked adults and teens to run, throw, and punch like a girl.
The result was insulting and exposed what it’s like to be a girl too many young boys watching the game. When young girls were told to perform the same task, the result changed and running like a girl meant being fast, strong, and powerful. “Always” then writes the following, “A girls confidence plummets during puberty. But it doesn’t have to.”
Doritos Blaze VS MTN DEW
Nacho chip company Dorito’s teamed up with soft drink Mountain Dew to make a great musical commercial with Busta Rymes, Missy Elliot, Peter Dinklage, and Morgan Freeman. The plot of the ad would be that Dinklage and Freeman would each do a lip sing of their coaches hit song, and the viewers would decide who did it better.
Both are rehearsing in front of a mirror with Dinklage rehearsing with the woodchuck tongue twister, and Freeman repeating with the folk twister “Peter Piper.” The commercial was a successful hit!
This is the Motor City
In 2011, “Chrysler” teamed up with rap mogul Eminem to showcase their new car model, the “Chrysler” 200. The commercial starts with Eminem driving around Detroit with a monologue being narrated in the background, and the song 8 miles accompanied with it.
Eminem then pulls up at a theatre where a gospel choir is singing, then Eminem gets up on stage and says, “this is the motor city, and this is what we do.”
More Football Fun
Betty white teamed up with Snickers to make a commercial that would go with their slogan. The ad starts with white playing football with a group of grown men and then getting tackled into the mud. The guys on the team tell her “come on Mike! You’re playing like Betty White.”
White then takes a bite of a snickers bar and quickly turns back into Mike who then goes out to crush the next play. Then the slogan comes around. “Snickers, you’re not you when you’re hungry. “
God Made a Farmer
In 1978 radio broadcaster Paul Harvey rolled out an award-winning, heart-melting speech at the Future Farmers of America convention.
Ram Trucks would borrow the address for their Superbowl XLVII commercial. The speech was called “So God Made a Farmer.” Ram made a pledge to donate 100,000$ for every million views that the YouTube ad revived to the FFA until they reached a million dollars. They achieved that goal in just five days.
“I’m on a Horse”
In 2010, iconic American deodorant company “Old Spice” changed the game with their unforgettable “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” ad featuring former Football player, actor Isaiah Amir Mustafa, as the perfect man doing the perfect things, in an ideal way.
He is conveying the message to women that Old Spice may not make their man look like him, but they are guaranteed to smell like him.
The Force is Within You
In 2012 Volkswagen rolled out their “all-new 2012 Passat.” The German car manufacturer made a great commercial about a young boy trying to use the force around the house dressed up as Darth Vader.
His father then pulls into the, and the boy runs out to see if he can move the car with his mind. The father then proceeds to trick the boy into thinking he has powers by pressing the keys on a button from the house.
In the 1999 Superbowl, Budweiser came up with a great scene that would later be capitalized by the movie “Scary Movie” in the year 2000. The commercial is about a fun group of guys that have a lot of phones in the apartment.
When one dude calls his friend to see what’s up, all his friends pick up the phone and start screaming “wazaaap” to one another and have a ball doing it. The commercial would get the whole country to laugh, and people still reference the scene to this day across the world.
1984, APPLE (1984)
In 1984 computer company Apple would launch UPI’s best-rated commercial of all time (2007) for Macintosh computers. It would make reference to a book George Orwell that changed history; the book was published as the number “1984.” The company wanted to convey a message of a future they knew very well they were going to control. They needed to show that this computer would change the world forever.
This ad did the job and more! It shows a woman running from threatening men in masks with batons through a labyrinth hallway where everything and everyone is grey, sad, and without a will. She is the only one wearing color. The commercial was filmed with English athlete Anya Major who appeared in Elton John’s “Nikita” song clip and directed by household name director Ridley Scott, so watch this commercial and think of the movie’s, “Aliens” & “Bladerunner.” The commercial ends with “On January 24th, Apple Computer, will introduce the Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like “1984.” The commercial only aired once.