20 of the most iconic Super Bowl commercials of all time

20 of the most iconic Super Bowl commercials of all time
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20 of the most iconic Super Bowl commercials of all time
Bud Light’s “The Bud Knight” in a crossover ad with HBO’s Game of Thrones.

  • Every year, brands try to outwit each other with their Super Bowl commercials.
  • But some ads leave a more indelible impression than others.
  • From Apple to Amazon, here’s our list of the most unforgettable Super Bowl commercials of all time.

The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers have their eyes set on the Lombardi trophy.

But off the field, brands like Starry and Popeyes will attempt to win the prize for the most memorable Super Bowl commercial.

While we wait to see which ads come out on top, it’s as good a time as any to take a walk down memory lane.

Here are 20 of the Super Bowl ads we thought were the most unforgettable, thanks to their heartwarming, funny, sad, or downright weird concepts.

Coca-Cola: “Mean Joe Greene” (1980)
Joe Greene drinks a bottle of Coca-Cola.
‘Mean’ Joe Greene drinks a bottle of Coca-Cola.

The ad in which the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Joe Greene drinks a little boy’s Coke became so popular that it spurred an NBC TV movie based on the ad and international versions, such as some featuring soccer star Diego Maradona.

Wendy’s: “Where’s the beef?” (1984)
Three people inspect a burger with a very small patty.
Wendy’s wanted to know “Where’s the beef?”

Wendy’s has been taking potshots at McDonald’s since 1984, but this jab was perhaps one of its most successful, helping the fast-food brand boost its revenue by 31% that year, the Associated Press reported in 1987, according to The New York Times.

Apple: “1984” (1984)
Crowd of people watch a screen with a man's face on it.
1984 was the year of Apple’s first viral ad.

Apple’s much-hailed yet very bizarre commercial from 1984 was technically the very first viral ad, making Super Bowl commercials a true phenomenon — Forbes called it “The Ad That Changed The Super Bowl.”

The ad aired only once, but it was replayed on news channels across the world for weeks and contributed to the sale of about $150 million worth of Macintoshes in barely three months.

Talk about a return on investment.

McDonald’s: “The Showdown” (1993)
Larry Bird (L) and Michael Jordan (R).
Larry Bird and Michael Jordan competed for McDonald’s in this ad from 1993.

This 1993 ad — while ludicrous — pitted rivals Larry Bird and Michael Jordan against each other for a Big Mac and became an instant hit.

It not only popularized a basketball saying “nothing but net” during the biggest football game of the year, but also led to many a remake.

Monster.com: “When I Grow Up” (1999)
Young boy sits outside. Text says, "When I Grow Up" Monster.com (1999).
Monster.com reminded us that no child wants to be an unhappy employee when they grow up.

This hard-hitting ad by agency MullenLowe in 1999 featured children sharing the gripes of unhappy employees.

It instantly struck a chord and cemented Monster.com’s position as a job-search player.

E-Trade: “Wasted” (2000)
A monkey in a white shirt stands on a bucket between two men in lawn chairs.
E-Trade said they wasted $2 million on this ad in 2000.

Trading platform E-Trade’s 2010 spot featuring a dancing monkey was a lesson in subversive advertising and ridiculed the insane cost of running a Super Bowl ad … while simultaneously driving home the brand’s premise of helping users make the most of their money.

Doritos: “Live the Flavor” (2007)
Man smiling as he drives while holding a bag of Doritos.
In 2007, Doritos encouraged everyone to “Live the Flavor.”

This 2007 spot was the first ever crowdsourced Super Bowl spot, AdAge reported, and it let Doritos cut costs while engaging some of its most loyal customers.

Snickers: Betty White (2010)
Betty White holds a Snickers bar.
Betty White and Snickers showed everyone “You’re not you when you’re hungry” in 2010.

This 2010 spot featuring a then-88-year-old Betty White was where Snickers’ now-familiar “You’re not you when you’re hungry” tagline was born. 

It became a viral hit. More major stars, like Robin Williams, appeared in later versions.

Volkswagen: “The Force” (2011)
Little boy dressed as Darth Vader tries to use "The Force" to start his father's car.
Volkswagen featured the “all-new 2012 Passat” in this 2011 Super Bowl commercial.

This 2011 endearing spot by Volkswagen features a kid reprising the role of Darth Vader.

It went viral right after being released and has received tens of millions of views since.

Budweiser: “Puppy Love” (2014)
A puppy and a horse lean toward each other.
The stars of Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” ad from 2014.

Always: “#LikeAGirl” (2015)
Young girl standing on set in a tank top and shorts.
Always’ “Like a Girl” campaign for Super Bowl XLIX.

By recasting a phrase often used as an insult as an empowering message, the award-winning Procter and Gamble spot won hearts everywhere. 

Although a continuation of a campaign that began the previous summer, the spot stood out among a sea of hyper-masculine ads and won praise for changing the conversation about what it means to run, throw, and do pretty much anything “like a girl.”

Since then, P&G has continued to take stands on important issues, with its Gillette “We Believe” ad being another example.

Honda: “Yearbooks” (2017)
A young Magic Johnson's yearbook photo.
Young Magic Johnson’s yearbook photo in Honda’s 2017 Super Bowl ad.

In 2017, Honda’s unforgettable ad brought Super Bowl viewers a blast from the past with animated yearbook photos of celebrities like Amy Adams, Missy Elliott, Jimmy Kimmel, and Viola Davis to remind everyone of the value of chasing their dreams and believing in themselves.

Tide: “It’s a Tide Ad” (2018)
David Harbour sits on the couch in a living room with a family around him and a laundry basket with a bottle of Tide detergent in front of them.
David Harbour stars in Tide’s 2018 Super Bowl commercial.

Tide hit a home run in 2018 with a series of Super Bowl ads featuring “Stranger Things” star David Harbour interrupting other memorable ads — like the Old Spice guy — to proclaim that, technically, every ad qualifies as a Tide ad.

Amazon: “Alexa Loses Her Voice” (2018)
Rebel Wilson in a bubble bath with a headset on.
Rebel Wilson makes a cameo as Alexa’s new voice in Amazon’s Super Bowl LII ad.

Amazon’s star-studded 90-second spot in the 2018 Super Bowl had people buzzing days before the big game and was an instant recipe for success.

It featured a host of celebrities, including Rebel Wilson, Gordon Ramsay, Anthony Hopkins, and even Amazon’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos.

HBO’s Game of Thrones X Bud Light: “Joust” (2019)
Bud Light's "The Bud Knight" riding through a crowd on horseback.
Bud Light’s “The Bud Knight” was featured in a crossover ad with HBO’s Game of Thrones.

In what turned out to be one of the biggest Super Bowl surprises ever, HBO hijacked Bud Light’s Super Bowl ad in 2019 to tout the final season of Game of Thrones, giving fans a weird crossover of the hit show and Dilly Dilly.

Fans were caught off guard, social media went crazy, and the two brands clocked one of the biggest Super Bowl successes. 

Cheetos: “Can’t Touch This” (2020)
MC Hammer is in a park with his his signature parachute pants.
MC Hammer in Cheetos’ Super Bowl LIV commercial.

State Farm: “Drake From State Farm” (2021)
Jake from State Farm and Drake wearing State Farm apparel.
Jake from State Farm and Drake in State Farm’s Super Bowl LV commercial.

Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, and Jake from State Farm compared stand-ins in this 2021 spot from State Farm Insurance. The hilarious ad made a pretty convincing case that if Drake ever needs a break from music, returning to his acting roots to star as “Drake from State Farm” could be a great backup option.

Even Hulu had to get in on the action, commenting, “started with khaki bottoms now we’re here” on X (formerly known as Twitter) in reference to Drake’s hit song “Started From the Bottom.”

Bud Light: “Land of Loud Flavors” (2022)
Guy Fieri is getting ready to take off his sunglasses to look at the Bud Light Seltzer Hard Soda in his hand.
Guy Fieri for Bud Light’s Super Bowl LVI commercial.

Guy Fieri teamed up with Bud Light for his first Super Bowl ad appearance to bring viewers to “The Land of Loud Flavors.” The celebrity chef boasted about the taste of Bud Light Seltzer Hard Soda, declaring the drink had “the loudest flavors of all time.”

The Farmer’s Dog: “Forever” (2023)
Little girl with curly hair laying on her bed smiling as she looks at her puppy.
Super Bowl LVII commercial for The Farmer’s Dog.

In 2023, the Farmer’s Dog told the heartwarming story of a girl, Ava, growing up with her dog, Bear. As adult Ava croons “I’m gonna love you forever” from Lee Fields’ song “Forever” to an aging Bear, the company reminds us that “Nothing matters more than more years together.”

The ad resonated with Super Bowl audiences, winning USA Today’s 35th Ad Meter competition. Over 150,000 participants were asked to rate every Super Bowl ad on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest), USA Today reported. The Farmer’s Dog took home the top spot with an average rating of 6.56.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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