Super Bowl Commercials: Top 20 Ads to Have Ever Aired

The best ever!
The best ever!

When it comes to the NFL Super Bowl, the championship game in itself is not the entire package. When you have close to a 100 million viewers watching the game, there's an immense opportunity to grab a few eyeballs and send a message if you are a brand.

This is something that corporations realized years back, and put the best of their creative minds to work to come up with the most genius, witty and impactful commercials that the world has ever witnessed. As a result, the Super Bowl ads have now become a part of the show.

As per Bloomberg, a 30-second ad-slot for Super Bowl LIII is set to cost around a whopping $5.2 million. With so much money associated with the Super Bowl commercials, you can rest assured that enterprises will serve us all another round of wildly creative ads.

While we wait for that to happen, here's a look at the top 20 super bowl commercials to have ever aired:

Honorable mention - Apple: Macintosh announcement (1984)


When Apple announced their first ever Macintosh, they changed the computing world as we knew it then, forever. This is something that the company predicted through its campaign during the 1984 Super Bowl. Interestingly enough, this campaign was run only during one ad-spot to make the message more hitting.

#20 Amazon: Alexa loses her voice (2018)


We start off this list with this commercial for Amazon's voice assistant Alexa which aired during Super Bowl LII. When Alexa loses her voice, a bunch of experts take her place only for the users to realize that even some of the best individuals in the world in their respective fields are not that great at helping you out.

Featuring the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Cardi B, the ad tries to put across the message that not all voice assistants are as good at their job as Amazon's Alexa. Message received indeed!

#19 Wendy's: Where's the beef? (1984)


Wendy's making the use of three old ladies to put across a simple message worked wonders for them back in 1984. The motto was simple- don't be fooled by fast food companies promising you larger burgers but go minimal where it matters the most - the beef patty.

The commercial also goes ahead to state on record that Wendy's Single has more beef than the 'Whopper' or the 'Big Mac' sold by rival companies Burger King and McDonald's, again laying emphasis on the fact that simple is better.

#18 Doritos Blaze vs Mountain Dew Ice (2018)


This Super Bowl ad featuring two rather cult figures in Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman rapping to the tunes of Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliott respectively has one way too popular modern-day connotation for you to miss out on.

The reference? The notion of pitting fire against ice. And with Tyrion Lannister (aka Dinklage) putting up a show in this one-minute commercial, it's hard to ignore the Game of Thrones link.

#17 Snickers: Marv Levy (1996)


The Buffalo Bills lost four straight Super Bowls from 1991 to 1994. And in 1996, Snickers decided to take a slight joke at the same and so did the organization.

In the commercial, the head coach of the Bills, Marv Levy, is seen telling the players that they're not going anywhere till they find a solution as to the Bills losing the finals each time. Since this is obviously a task that will take time, here's where Snickers comes to the aid of the Bills' players, by keeping hunger at bay. Delicious indeed!

#16 Pepsi: Innertube (1995)


This commercial sees a boy at the beach sipping on a bottle of Pepsi. The kid continues sipping and sipping even after he's done savoring the last drop of the soft drink and ends up getting squeezed into the bottle itself.

The message? That Pepsi is so good that you're left wanting for more. The advert ends with the boy's sister screaming "Mom, he's done it again" implying the fact that every time you have Pepsi, you'll be left craving for more.

#15 Doritos: Crystal Ball (2009)


Doritos takes a dig at superstitious folks in this campaign where an office employee uses a crystal ball to look into the future, asking whether he will get free Doritos in the office that day. Then he throws the same crystal ball at the vending machine whose glass breaks and voila! Free Doritos for everyone.

Falling for this trick, a colleague of this aforementioned employee ponders about a big promotion and throws the crystal ball but it lands on his boss err...right where it hurts the most. Guess who's not getting a raise?

#14 Skittles: Romance (2017)


In this Super Bowl ad from 2017, a young lover is waiting outside his girlfriend's house and calling for her by way of throwing Skittles. As it turns out, the entire family is taking turns to devour the candy as and when our man on the outside is throwing them.

What can you say? Sometimes romance does take a back seat when it comes to Skittles!

#13 Doritos: Dog bribes cat owner (2012)


In yet another hilarious Super Bowl advert by Doritos, a cat owner sees a dog burying his missing cat. The dog immediately bribes the man with a pack of Doritos to keep him quiet and well, our guy accepts.

Later on in the commercial, the man's wife asks him about their cat and the dog again makes an appearance with yet another pack of Doritos. While this campaign most definitely riled up some cat lovers, it did try to convey that a pack of Doritos was worth it.

#12 E-Trade Baby Commercial (2008)


E-Trade has come up with a lot of Super Bowl ads over the years but none as effective as this one from 2008. The campaign shows a baby with a man's voice talking about how easily even him, a baby, can buy stocks using E-Trade.

The message that E-Trade wanted to send was that it didn't matter how inexperienced you were, you could safely invest in stocks through E-Trade. And what better way to do that than through a cute toddler!

#11 Volkswagen: Darth Vader (2011)


Continuing on the trend of kids in ad campaigns is this commercial from 2011 where we see a junior Darth Vader trying to control several appliances in his home by using The Force only for him to fail each time.

The kid's dad finally makes his efforts come to life with the help of the Volkswagen Passat. We all love Star Wars. And as I've already implied, we all love kids. So this combination was an instant hit with the viewers.

#10 Reebok: Terry Tate Office Linebacker (2003)


One of the most iconic Super Bowl ads of all time features Lester Speight portraying Terry Tate the Linebacker who punishes office employees who are inefficient by tackling them. As a result, the staff becomes way more productive at what they do.

This campaign does not promote any particular Reebok product. Instead, it puts Reebok itself in the spotlight by associating the brand with some extremely aggressive work ethic.

#9 Snickers: You're not you when you're hungry (2010)


This Super Bowl commercial from Snickers was where it all started for the "You're not you when you're hungry" slogan that the brand is known for today. In the video, a group of friends are playing football but one of them is behaving like an old and senile Betty White.

The cause? Hunger. The solution? A bar of Snickers. After having the chocolate, Betty White turns into a young man who seems alright now. The message? Whenever you're hungry, grab a bar of Snickers to sort yourself out.

#8 Bud Light: Dogs fetch Bud Light (2004)


In order to promote its trending beverage Bud Light, Anheuser-Busch launched a campaign where two dog owners meet and boast about their respective pets based on their ability to fetch a Bud Light.

While the first owner's dog fetches the drink from a nearby ice-box, the other owner's dog also does fetch a Bud Light, but not in the way you would expect him to. See the video above and find out for yourself.

#7 Tide: Old Spice Spin-off (2018)


In what was a spin-off to the classic Old Spice ad (more on that later) which went viral, Isaiah Mustafa is seen riding a horse and he is apparently about to speak those cliched words from the classic Old Spice campaign when he realizes he's in a Tide Ad.

The frame then zooms out to show Mustafa wearing white pants accompanied by a lad who's also rocking white pants besides a white t-shirt with both of them sitting on a white horse. Let's just say that Tide wanted to make it completely clear that this was a Tide Ad.

#6 Pepsi: Chimp experiment (1994)


In this advert, Pepsi decided to run an experiment using two chimps. While one would only be fed Coke, the other would only be fed Pepsi. The chimp who drank only Coca-Cola would go on to develop useful skills while the chimp who drank only Pepsi would escape and vanish.

It would be later revealed that the latter was chilling by the beaches having a lot of fun. Both Pepsi and Coca-Cola would associate the experiences of fun and happiness with their beverage at the time. With this campaign, Pepsi would try to explain that their product would bring consumers more joy than Coca-Cola.

#5 FedEx: Caveman (2006)


To showcase that they are the best in the logistics department, FedEx take us back to the Jurassic Age where a caveman tries to deliver a package with the help of a Pteranodon (flying dinosaur for dummies). But the poor chap is gobbled alive by a larger counterpart mid-flight.

The caveman returns to the cave to inform his boss that the package didn't make it who in turn asks our guy whether he used FedEx. The former argues that FedEx hasn't been invented yet but the latter doesn't care. Moral of the story? Always use FedEx to ensure safe delivery of your packages.

#4 Monster: When I grow up (1999)


Brands have used kids to send a hard-hitting message several times over the years. The same was the case this time as well.

One of the biggest job portals in the world at the time, explained to viewers that the platform can always help individual find jobs as per their preferences with the underlying message to not stay put in jobs that they did not like. The use of monochrome in the advert also added to the lasting impact of this brilliant campaign.

#3 Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (2010)


Back in the late 2000s, most men's grooming products would be appeals to men as to how attractive they could look if they would use a particular product. Old Spice changed the game completely when they used former wide receiver Isaiah Mustafa to appeal to the ladies as to how their partners could smell and look as good and confident as Mustafa if they used Old Spice bodywashes.

The advert was one the most viral ever in Super Bowl history and has over 55 million views just on YouTube. As per Nielsen, it did increase sales by 11% so that's a win-win for all!

#2 Coca-cola: 'Mean' Joe Greene (1980)


This campaign from Coca-Cola features the now-retired defensive tackle Joe Greene of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Known as 'Mean' Joe Greene for his hard-hitting tackles, the advert sees the defensive lineman hobbling to the locker room after he seems to have picked up an injury.

A boy tries to cheer him up on his way and offers Greene his coke. While Greene originally refuses, he gives in to the pleas of the kid and gulps down the bottle of Coca-Cola. As the boy exits the frame, Greene stops him and gives him his jersey while sporting a smile.

The advert conveys the message that a bottle of Coca-Cola made the day better for even Mean Greene, thereby highlighting the notions of fun and happiness that Coke associates its beverages with.

#1 Budweiser: Whassup? (1999)


Surely the most iconic Super Bowl commercial ever, the Whassup campaign from Budweiser shows two friends asking each other what they were doing. This slowly turns into a whole group blurting 'Whassup?' with their tongues out.

The advert, targeted mostly at young adults, earmarked the notions of fun and camaraderie among friends, something that the Budweiser brand in itself stands for. No wonder this telephonic exchange among a few pals soon became a pop culture phenomenon.

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Edited by Sripad