Top 10 Super Bowl Commercials of All Time
With Super Bowl XLV all set for 6:00 p.m. Sunday, February 6, 2011, the collective focus of the media and NFL fans everywhere is on every little move and quote made by members of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers, from star quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers to the water boys. Many see the matchup as a potential classic: two old school, hard-nosed, blue-collar franchises, with venerable records in big games, a litany of Hall of Fame legends and perhaps the most loyal and passionate fans in all of professional sports. What more can you ask for?
Dallas Cowboys Stadium, host of Super Bowl XLV – Photo credit
How about some top-of-the-line commercials, for one? While the understandable focus for many (football fans mostly) will be the actual game at Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, for others, the big water cooler conversation the next day will not hinge on the defensive exploits of Troy Polamalu or Clay Matthews or the touchdown antics of Hines Ward or Greg Jennings but on the ads (and, undoubtedly, terrible halftime show). Super Bowl commercials are a massive business and now garner more than USD $2.6 million for a mere 30 seconds of television time. Such is the case when your audience is in the 90 million viewer range.
With that in mind, here is a list of our fave Super Bowl commercials of all time. While hotels in Dallas cater to football fans, corporate sponsors and NFL executives in town for the big game, the rest of us will secretly hope for ads as timeless as this top 10.
10. Snickers – “Betty White” (2010)
Mars, Inc. took full advantage of Betty White’s uncanny resurgence in popularity to make her the star of the most hilarious ad from the 2010 Super Bowl.
9. Budweiser – “Respect” (2002)
In the wake of 9/11, Budweiser took a wise and sober approach in 2002 and had the famous company Clydesdales “take a knee” in front of the Manhattan skyline. The commercial ran once.
8. Master Lock – â€œShot Lockâ€ (1974)
Master Lock’s “Shot Lock” commercial may be the most effective money spent in Super Bowl ad history. The company ran the ad year after year and stuck to the same “Tough Under Fire” theme in subsequent Super Bowl ads.
7. Diet Pepsi – “Just One Look” (1992)
1992-era Cindy Crawford in a tank top and jean shorts. Nice. But what made this famous Diet Pepsi ad so memorable was less the eye candy and more the sweet little boys who ogle the can of soda … and not the supermodel.
6. Reebok – “Terry Tate” (2003)
For sheer laugh-out-loud hilarity, few Super Bowl ads top Reebok’s “Terry Tate: Office Manager” campaign from 2003. The comedy shorts did little to increase Reebok’s brand recognition or market share, however.
5. Noxzema – “Joe Namath” (1973)
Celebrity and star athlete pitchmen dominate ads today but back in 1973, a simpler time, the tandem of New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath and pre-Charlie’s Angels Farrah Fawcett in a Noxzema commercial was a novelty.
4. Bud Bowl
The Bud Bowl ads – bottles of Budweiser versus bottles of Bud Light in a Super Bowl-like showdown for beer supremacy – ran from 1989 until 1997. A quintessential Super Bowl staple, the commercials often featured more competitive football action than the actual game itself.
3. Apple â€” â€œ1984â€ (1984)
The “Best Director of a Super Bowl Ad” award has to go to Ridley Scott for his incomparable “1984″ masterpiece for Apple computers.
2. McDonald’s â€” â€œThe Showdownâ€ (1993)
Michael Jordan and Larry Bird in a spectacular game of “HORSE” for a McDonald’s Big Mac? A pure classic with subsequent riffs over the years. Bird’s “No rim” line in his conspicuous Indiana drawl is still awesome today.
1. Coke â€” â€œMean Joe Greeneâ€ (1979)
What else? The sentimental jersey toss by Steelers Hall of Famer “Mean Joe” Greene to a star-struck young boy wins hands-down. “Hey, kid. Catch!” … the line still chokes us up. Who cares if the official debut of the ad did not coincide with the Super Bowl telecast?