The Super Bowl has always been known for three things: football, parties, and advertisements. To some watching the broadcast is all about seeing what big budget commercial will make them laugh, or cry, or even some combination of both. Looking back over the years, we’ve had a number of great Super Bowls ads, but none have been as memorable as these.
20. Reebok Terry Tate, Office Linebacker
Terry Tate is an office linebacker, running through his office tackling random coworkers. The ad spawned a lot of imitators, and was one of the most popular videos on the still-young Internet. It was downloaded over 7 million times from Reebok.com. The commercials went on to become a series.
19. Wendy’s Where’s the Beef?
This ad spawned one of the most iconic catch-phrases of all time, “Where’s the beef?” and is probably one of the memorable commercials in history. The ad with 91-year-old Clara Pelletier even inspired a music single.
18. Monster.com When I Grow Up
Serious-faced kids talk about wanting to grow, speaking about “climbing their way to middle-management” and “being a brown nose.” It’s an ad that makes you think about the realities of work, and what you dreamed of when you were younger.
17. Budweiser Frogs
The first Budweiser frogs ad aired in 1995, and featured the frogs each ribbiting a portion of the word “Budweiser.” It may be annoying, but it’s highly memorable. Bud-weis-er. See, it’s in your head even now, isn’t it?
16. Diet Pepsi You Got the Right One Baby
The jingle in this 1991 commercial would stuck in your head for days, and even years. Ray Charles sings “You Got the Right One Baby,” meaning you’ve got the right soda.
15. Esurance Sorta Pharmacy
Playing on the words “sorta covered,” to describe car insurance, Esurance uses the idea of a sorta pharmacy with your friendly pharmacist played by Walter White, aka Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad.
14. Doritos Crystal Ball
This million-dollar winning commercials was made by two amateur videographers. The ad won the Doritos Super Bowl ad contest, and features office workers throwing a crystal ball into a snack machine.
13. eTrade La Cucharacha
Silly and memorable, this Super Bowl ad features two men and a monkey dancing to “La Cucharacha.” The screen then features text with “Well, we just wasted two million bucks.”
12. McDonald’s Showdown with Michael Jordan and Larry Bird
In 1993, this advertisement featured basketball superstars Larry Bird and Michael Jordan squaring off in a game of H-O-R-S-E, with the prize being a Big Mac. An ad with the Looney Tunes and Jordan also ran during the Super Bowl that year and would go on to inspire the movie Space Jam.
11. eTrade Baby
The first eTrade baby ad aired in 2001, and was the first of a very successful series. The ads used an adult voiceover on a baby who discusses his finances and success with eTrade. The ad series continued until 2014.
10. Budweiser Puppy Love
There’s been a long list of Budweiser ads, each with their own charm, but one of the best ones that struck a chord in viewers’ hearts was the lost puppy ad. The ad features a lovable Golden Retriever puppy who is friends with a pack of Clydesdales, but gets seperated from them and his owner. The Clydesdales end up saving the puppy after he is approached by a wolf. The whole thing is set to a cover of the song “500 Miles.”
9. Budweiser Whassup
It was annoying as anything, but it certainly made an impression. The 2000 Budweiser Whassup ad features grown men calling each other, stick out their tongues and saying “Whasssup.” That’s about it.
8. Old Spice Smell Like a Man
A spot that launched numerous followups, the Old Spice ad of “Smell like a Man” features a handsome man showing you all of the things his Old Spice inspires him to do, and why women should “look at their man.”
7. Cat Herders
This hilarious commercial features cowboys herding not cattle, but cats, and helped EDS make a splash on the market, and achieve household recognition. The company now is known as HP Enterprise Systems.
Snickers did a series of “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” ads, but the best one has to be the one featuring Betty White. The 2010 ad has Betty White in the middle of a football game, and getting tackled to the ground by another player. The reveal is that when hungry, the player basically turns into Betty White as far as skill and athletics.
5. Volkswagon The Force
The Force is an ad that speaks to the childlike wonder that Star Wars inspires. The ad features a child dressed as Darth Vader trying to “use the Force.” The parents remote-start the VW as part of him “using the Force.”
4. Budweiser 9/11
After 9/11, ads tended towards the patriotic, but the ad team behind Budweiser pulled off one of the best ads of 2011, as a 10 year tribute to the attacks. The ad features the horses voyaging across the country then passing famous NYC landmarks including the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, and then finally bowing to the NYC skyline. This ad has barely aired 5 times.
3. Pepsi with Cindy Crawford
In the 1990’s, Cindy Crawford was one of the most beautiful women in the world, and a high-paid supermodel. She still is, but this ad was done in the height of her career. The Pepsi ad features her driving a red Lamborghini and getting a refreshing Pepsi from a vending machine. 2002 saw the ad recreated, and Crawford looked just the same!
2. Apple’s 1984
Thought by some to be pretentious, this 1984-inspired ad helped Apple make its mark for all time. The ad, which was directed by Ridley Scott, uses an athlete to shatter the veil of comfority and save the enslaved masses with a new revolution: Macintosh. The name of the ad is taken from its inspiration, the George Orwell novel, 1984, and the theme of a televised Big Brother. Oh, and the year of the ad? 1983. One year off from the future of the novel.
1. Coke’s Mean Joe Green
This iconic ad premiered several months before its Super Bowl airing, but it’s etched in our memories as one of the best Super Bowls. Premiering in 1980, the ad features Mean Joe Green turning into a total softie after a child shares his Coke.