The 25 Best Super Bowl Commercials Ever
The 25 Greatest Super Bowl Commercials Ever
Super Bowl XLVIII is now locked and ready to go in two weeks, giving NFL fans the matchup that they’ve been looking forward to and hoping for all season. The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks entered the postseason as the top seeds in their respective conferences and have looked like the league’s top teams for most of the year. Now those two organizations will be hunting for hardware on Feb. 2.
The Super Bowl, especially one featuring a matchup that people have been anticipating since around week one of the regular season, always gets anyone remotely interested in the game of football exciting. You could have watched all 17 weeks of the regular season and all three weeks of the playoffs or you could have gone for a hike every Sunday, but chances are that you’re going to tune in for the Super Bowl.
One of the most interesting developments concerning the Super Bowl, though, is how the commercials attract everyone watching. It doesn’t matter if you’re watching because you’re at a gathering of friends or watching because your blood smells like pigskin, there is a vested interest in the quality of Super Bowl commercials.
Because of the rise in value of these commercials, the pressure to produce a quality spot is higher than ever. People expect that, if a company is going to fork over millions of dollars to have an ad in the Super Bowl, it’s going to be an instant-classic in some way.
The bar at this point has certainly been set quite high. Over the past four decades, quality Super Bowl commercials have been coming out and having us applaud them. With the 2014 crop of commercials set to debut, here are the 25 best commercials ever that have set the standard for this year’s group of ads to live up to.
25. Xerox Monks (1976)
If you have something relatively unexciting to sell like Xerox did back in 1976 (sure the technology is cool, but it’s still a copy machine), you’re going to need to be creative. Having ancient monks needing to make copies certainly fits that bill and makes it one of the most memorable spots ever.
24. Farrah Fawcett and Joe Namath Noxema (1973)
For the shear absurdity of having Farrah Fawcett sensually rubbing shaving cream on Joe Namath’s face and thinking it was a good idea for a commercial, this Noxema ad belongs on this list.
23. Bud Bowl (1989)
Like most Super Bowl parties, this 1989 commercial had beer and it had football. However, Budweiser took it to the next level by having beers play football. If that’s not a stroke of genius, I’m not sure of anything anymore.
22. Doritos Crystal Ball (2009)
Over the past decade or so, Doritos has been cranking out quality commercials, largely due to their fan contests where fans create their own commercials. Back in 2009, this commercial with a twist ending had audiences rolling.
21. Chrysler—Imported From Detroit (2011)
Chrysler got a bit serious on everyone in 2011, but in the best possible way. An ode to the gritty toughness of Detroit and using a little star-power from Detroit rapper Eminem, the car company was right on the mark when they put out this ad.
20. NFL “Crazy” (2003)
The NFL called its own number with this 2003 commercial featuring actor Don Cheadle, but it worked to perfection. What do you give football fans who are watching the biggest game of the football season? More reasons why football is awesome, of course.
19. Pepsi Love Hurts (2011)
To me at least, Pepsi has always been a little hot or cold when it comes to their big promotions and ads. They did it right when this one came out back in 2011, though, giving viewers a heck of a chuckle with a lover’s quarrel.
18. NFL Best Fans Ever (2011)
One of the things that we’ve seen in recent years is commercials giving nods back to the past in a variety of ways in instances. This 2011 spot might be the cream of that crop, though, editing scenes from popular sitcoms over the years and making them about, what else, football.
17. Doritos Ninja (2010)
As a man who loves his Doritos, there’s nothing more terrifying than a Doritos ninja. If this post is just blank from here on out, please remember me for the cheese dust on my keyboard and around my wounds.
16. Bridgestone Reply All (2011)
Everyone has had a moment of panic on the computer where they fear they hit the wrong button and have done something catastrophic. Bridgestone played to that back in 2011, having a guy use their tires to avoid a reply all disaster.
15. Miller High Life One-Second Ad (2009)
In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl in 2009, Miller High Life kept teasing a one-second commercial during the big game. Sure enough, spokesman Windell Middlebrooks showed up on the screen, yelled “High Life!” and that was that. Some of the best marketing we’ll probably ever see.
14. Hare Jordan (1990)
Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan were in a commercial together (pre “Space Jam). That’s pretty much all that needs to be said about this.
13. Monster.com When I Grow Up (1999)
When all else fails, appeal to nostalgia. Monster.com evoked that emotion back in 1999, using young children to say that they basically wanted to settle for mediocre jobs when they grew up, then using the slogan “there’s a better job out there.” Talk about a smart angle to take.
12. Wendy’s Where’s the Beef (1984)
Good strategy for marketing, memorable catchphrase, relatively good product to promote—Wendy’s had it all back in the mid-80s with the famous “Where’s the Beef” ad.
11. Pepsi Cindy Crawford (1991)
When all else fails, go to sex appeal. Cindy Crawford in her prime drinking a cold Pepsi on a hot day is pretty much all about that and not much else.
10. Google Parisian Love (2010)
The people at Google know how to market themselves, how to come up with some of the most creative ideas out there, and how to evoke some sort of emotion. Case-in-point is this 2010 ad that didn’t need a single actor to tell a fantastic love story.
9. Jordan vs. Bird, The Showdown (1993)
One of the things that often gets discussed, especially around NBA All-Star Weekend, is what would happen if NBA players played H-O-R-S-E. Michael Jordan and Larry Bird answered that while playing for the ultimate prize: a Big Mac.
8. Wassup (2001)
The phrase probably still haunts your nightmares and everyone that was over the age of eight in 2001 had a friend that said “wassup!?” for about two years too long. This is the commercial that started it all, though, and any commercial that creates that type of phenomenon is obviously one of the best.
7. Bud-Weis-Er Frogs (1995)
You don’t always have to go big budget to wow audiences. In fact, all you need is three frogs that each only say one syllable. What you can get from that is one of the most iconic commercials of the past 25 years.
6. Reebok Terry Tate Office (2003)
Big laughs were had by most everyone when Reebok debuted this ad starring Terry Tate. After seeing some of those hits Tate lays on the Joe Schmoes in that office, it’s pretty believable that productivity rose soon after.
5. Gatorade 23 vs. 39 (2003)
One of my personal favorite commercials of all time, the thought of pitting MJ with the Wizards against his rookie-self and then having his college-self come out and call next is just an explosion of greatness and awesomeness, all courtesy of Gatorade.
4. Coca-Cola Mean Joe Greene (1980)
Mean Joe Greene showing his softer side to a kid over a Coca Cola is such a classic spot at this point that they even recently tried to reprise it with Troy Polamalu. Polamalu’s wasn’t the same as the original, though, which still tugs at the heart strings.
3. VW The Force (2011)
What person who has ever seen “Star Wars” hasn’t desperately wanted to have control of the force? A kid dressed as Darth Vader got his wish thanks to the best parents ever in this Volkswagen spot from a few years back.
2. Apple 1984 (1984)
It’s not just these days that Apple is trying to spur on creativity and free thinking. Back in 1984 as they introduced the Macintosh computer, they came up with one of the best commercials in history to celebrate its release.
1. 9/11 Budweiser Clydesdale’s Tribute (2002)
In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the nation was still mourning when the Super Bowl rolled around in 2002. Budweiser then used their annual Clydesdales commercial to honor the city of New York and the victims in one of the most touching commercials to ever air, Super Bowl or not.