The Super Bowl is coming, but if there's anything bigger than the "Big Game," it's the commercials. There have been some truly memorable ones over the years, and this year looks to be no different. So which ones are the best? What got you talking the next day at the water cooler? What stands the test of time? Today, we're going to take a look at 10 of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials.
It seems like brands will go all-out when it comes to the Super Bowl. With over 100 million viewers, plenty of advertisers are willing to pay the steep price tag for 30 seconds. Some are funny, some are serious, some have a message that needs to get out, some are heartwarming, and some are just entertaining.
Picking the 10 best over a span of 50 years is a tall task, so we’ve compiled some of the most memorable from the past and present:
1. Mean Joe Green: “Hey kid, catch!” A member of Pittsburgh’s infamous “Steel Curtain” in the 1970s, Mean Joe Green was part of what was considered the first blockbuster commercial in 1980. This iconic Coca-Cola commercial was later parodied in 2005 with Troy Polamalu, another all-pro defensive player for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
2. Apple Macintosh: A dystopian society, mindless drones, and a glimmer of hope for the future. That’s what Apple wanted to convey with this 1984 ad inspired by George Orwell’s novel “1984.” Interesting to note, this commercial only aired once on a national level, and that was during the Super Bowl.
3. The Force: Pop culture? German engineering? The most adorable Sith Lord in the galaxy? All of this came together for Volkswagen’s 2011 ad featuring a pint-sized Darth Vader trying to use the Force around the house. To date, this is the most shared commercial of all time at 5.3 million.
4. The Showdown: You have two of the greatest basketball players in history, so what are you going to do? Put them in a one-on-one shootout competition for the ultimate prize: a Big Mac and fries (where the loser watches the winner eat). Michael Jordan and Larry Bird starred in this commercial from 1993. Much like the aforementioned Coca-Cola ad, this was parodied 17 years later before kickoff in the 2010 Super Bowl with LeBron James and Dwight Howard, and a special cameo at the end.
5. You’re Not You When You’re Hungry: Who was the bigger winner in 2010? It was Snickers and Betty White. Widely considered the most popular ad that year, the Golden Girls star was depicted playing football, because let’s face it, you’re not you when you’re hungry.
6. Crash the Super Bowl: Frito-Lay’s annual contest has inspired creativity, humor, and some of the most memorable ads since 2006. “Crash the Super Bowl” gives fans the chance to create their own 30-second commercials, with a $1 million pay out.
Picking one commercial out of all of them is no small order. So here’s last year’s winner featuring a man and an empty seat next to him on an airplane.
7. Cindy Crawford Pepsi: How do you introduce a new look for Pepsi? You bring in one of the hottest supermodels of the time for 30 seconds during the 1992 Super Bowl. Yes, there’s a bit of sex appeal involved up to the big reveal at the end, but you can’t argue its impact.
8. Where’s the Beef?: Wendy’s did more than create a clever catchphrase in 1984. They also created a pop culture phenomenon. Actress Clara Peller’s famous line – used to help sell the fast food chain’s burgers – has since become something used by not just advertisers (including Wendy’s again in 2011), but also something used to describe situations in marketing, politics, and more.
9. #LikeAGirl: “Like a girl” is commonly used as a put-down, but not anymore. Always’ 2015 ad sought to change the conversation, and redefine what it means to do something #LikeAGirl. How effective was the commercial? It was ranked the top digital campaign of last year’s Super Bowl.
10. Budweiser Frogs: Anheuser-Busch has been responsible for many memorable commercials over the years (sometimes throughout the broadcast). It’s a toss-up for which one we should pick, but we decided on the original Budweiser Frogs ad from 1995.
What commercials store for this year’s Super Bowl? Find out next Monday when we run through the top 10 best from the 2016 game.