The 7 most iconic Super Bowl commercials of all time

January 18, 2016

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest sporting events in the world and is continuously getting even bigger with each passing year. It is ranked third in the annual most watched lists of events and tops television ratings with each new edition. Over a hundred million people tune into watch the big game and as a result, the day of the event is now the second largest for food consumption in the country. There is so much more to the Super Bowl than just the game itself now. Apart from all the celebrities dotted around the stadium and the spectacular halftime show, there is another aspect that has become an essential part of the whole spectacle; the Super Bowl commercials.

Being one of the highest rated televised events every other year, it wasn’t long before advertisers realized that the Super Bowl could be a great opportunity to promote products and services. They realized that just by airing their commercial during the big game, they would ensure its exposure to millions of people around the country.

However it didn’t take too long for the NFL to catch on to this relative gold mine either. Back in Super Bowl one, the average price for a thirty second spot cost thirty seven thousand and five hundred dollars. The number went up to just over two million in 2000 and is set to reach four and a half million dollars this year. With so much money on the line, it became imperative that every commercial was of the highest quality, which in turn led to some of the most memorable advertisement campaigns in history.

Today some sources estimate that almost fifty percent of all the people watching the Super Bowl will be doing so just to watch the commercials. This is a testament to the remarkable advertisements that have been part of the Super Bowl experience over the years. Here we will try to list seven of the most iconic Super Bowl commercials of all time.


1- Mean Joe Green- Coca-Cola 1979

In 1979, Joe Green was the defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers and his aggressive style of play had earned him the nickname ‘Mean Joe.’ However that all changed when he appeared in Coca Cola’s commercial that year. It showcased a dejected and limping Green walking back to his locker room after a game. He is however stopped by a little kid who offers him a bottle of coke. This in turn prompts ‘Mean’ Joe to toss him his jersey and say the memorable lines “hey kid, catch!”


2- 1984-Apple

This is considered one of the greatest commercial ever made and a turning point for digital advertisement. After a long wait, Apple’s personal computer the Macintosh was all set to come out in 1984l. The producers decided to use George Orwell’s famous novel ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ as inspiration. The commercial had a dark setting, showing the dystopian future of Orwell’s world. People are shown, sitting in a line, listening to man’s speech on a large screen. We then see a woman, wearing a white tank top, with a picture of Apple’s new computer, and red shorts running from the ‘thought police.’ She goes on to break the large screen as a representation of Apple breaking humanity from conformity.


3- The Showdown- McDonald’s 1993

Larry Bird and Michael Jordan are among the greatest basketball players of all time. They were prominent members of the 1992 Olympic Gold medal winning USA ‘Dream Team’ and headlined some amazing games against each other in the NBA. So when McDonalds aired ‘the showdown’ commercial in 1993, fans went crazy to see these two heavyweights facing each other, one on one. The commercial starts with Jordan getting ready to eat a McDonald’s meal before Bird challenges him to a pickup game, with the winner getting to eat the food. As their contest goes on, their shots and tricks become increasingly impossible and result in a fun advertisement that people remember to this day.


4- Crash the Super Bowl 2011- DORITOS

The Crash the Super Bowl campaign is one started by the Frito-Lay Company for its product called Doritos. It gives amateur filmmakers a chance to make a commercial for the product, with the best entry being aired during the Super Bowl. Ever since its start in 2006, the campaign has yielded some amazing ads, however one of the most memorable came in 2011. A man incites a dog sitting a little distance away with a Dorito. As the dog starts running towards him, the man closes a glass door so that the pup runs into it. However, the pull of the Doritos is such that the dog breaks down the door right on top of the man in what was a clever, funny and unexpected end to an excellent commercial.


5- The Force- Volkswagen 2011

Of all the recent Super Bowl commercials, this is one that has had the highest amount of success. After its debut in 2011, it became an online hit and went viral. It features a little kid wearing a Darth Vader helmet from the popular franchise Star Wars. Like the character from the movies, the boy tries to move objects using his mind and the ‘force’ however it doesn’t seem to work, leaving him dejected. As his father pulls into the driveway, the boy runs outside and instead of greeting his dad, he instead tries to use his powers on the car. At this point his father presses a button on the key ring, making the car make a noise and startling the child, who thinks his mind tricks have finally worked. The sweet ending and the kid’s body language throughout the ad was universally acclaimed and made it one of the most unforgettable commercials in history.


6- The big game-Samsung 2013

In 2013, Samsung got actors Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd and Bob Odenkirk to promote their new mobile phone. In it the company approaches Rogen and Rudd to make an advertisement to be played during the Super Bowl. However, in a meeting with the Samsung executive, played by Odenkirk, these two actors realize that it won’t be as easy as it sounds. This hilarious spoof made fun of the NFL’s Super Bowl trademark, making it impossible to take the name during the commercial. The chemistry between the stars and their increasingly funny alternate ideas make this an ad for the ages.


7- Puppy Love- Budweiser 2014

Perhaps one of the most tears inducing and heartfelt advertisements ever to have aired, this commercial is considered among the best of all time. It follows the story of a cute puppy living on a farm. He accidentally wanders off and gets lost. As he makes his way back to the farm, he goes through various adventures while his owner and horse friends feel the loss of their furry little friend. As the  puppy gets near the farm, he is accosted by a wolf. However, before anything can happen, the horses come out of their stalls and ride down to help. The story of the resilient little puppy and his friendship with the horses touched the hearts of millions around the world and made the puppy a star in his own right.


There you have it folks. These are the seven commercials we feel can stand the test of time and will be remembered for years to come because of their creativity and the range of emotions they bring out in people. If you think, we have missed out on a commercial that deserved to be on the list, do let us know.


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