The Super Bowl isn’t just the pinnacle of American football; it’s also the grand stage for advertising excellence. Each year, millions eagerly await the creative spectacle of Super Bowl commercials.
In this blog post, we’ll delve into the archives of Super Bowl history to uncover the top 10 commercials of all time. These ads are more than just marketing; they’re iconic moments in pop culture.
These commercials have left an indelible mark on our hearts and minds, from Apple’s legendary “1984” to the unforgettable humor of Budweiser’s Clydesdales.
We’ll explore the qualities that make them stand out, from creativity to cultural impact, and why they’ve continued to resonate with audiences.
Join us on a journey through advertising history and discover the timeless brilliance of the top Super Bowl commercials ever aired.
Top 10 Super Bowl Commercials of All Time
Here are the ten most popular Super Bowl Commercials of all time. Please check out the year and the notable commercial slogan right below:
1. Old Spice
- Year: 2010
- Slogan: “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”
Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” Super Bowl commercial in 2010 is an iconic example of clever marketing.
The ad features the charming and shirtless Isaiah Mustafa, who delivers a suave monologue while effortlessly transitioning between various extravagant scenes.
The commercial begins in a shower, with Mustafa asserting that anything is possible when a man uses Old Spice. The clever use of humorous visual effects and impeccable timing adds to the appeal of this advertisement.
This ad immediately went viral and became a cultural sensation, largely thanks to its memorable catchphrase, “I’m on a horse,” and the humorous and unpredictable narrative.
It successfully rejuvenated Old Spice’s brand image, making it a household name with a younger, more hip audience.
“The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” is not just a Super Bowl commercial; it’s a pop culture phenomenon that continues to be celebrated for its wit and innovation.
- Year: 2010
- Slogan: “Keep Your Hands Off My Doritos”
Doritos has a history of delivering creative and entertaining Super Bowl commercials, and “Keep Your Hands Off My Doritos” from 2010 is no exception.
In this ad, a man sits down in a park to enjoy his bag of Doritos when a bold seagull snatches one from him.
What follows is a hilarious battle of wits as the man and the seagull engage in a showdown, with each trying to outsmart the other for the Doritos.
The commercial is a perfect example of the brand’s “Crash the Super Bowl” contest, which allowed fans to create Doritos ads for the Super Bowl.
“Keep Your Hands Off My Doritos” was one of the winning entries, and it’s a testament to the creative potential of consumer-generated content.
The ad combines humor, suspense, and relatability in a short and memorable format, making it a fan favorite.
- Year: 2010
- Slogan: “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry”
Snickers’ 2010 Super Bowl commercial featuring Betty White is a classic example of the brand’s “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign.
The ad begins with a group of friends playing football, and Betty White is in the role of a young man. As the game unfolds, it becomes apparent that Betty White’s character is not himself due to hunger.
This witty and memorable commercial showcases the transformation that occurs when someone is hungry and emphasizes the idea that Snickers can satisfy that hunger and return you to your normal self.
The humorous and relatable concept, combined with Betty White’s comedic timing and charm, made this commercial an instant hit.
- Year: 1979
- Slogan: Hey Kid, Catch!
Coca-Cola’s 1979 Super Bowl commercial, commonly called “Hey Kid, Catch!” or “Mean Joe Greene,” is a timeless classic that has left a lasting impact on Super Bowl advertising history.
The commercial centers around Joe Greene, the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive tackle, who limps off the field after a tough game.
A young fan offers Greene his Coca-Cola, and in return, the gruff athlete tosses the boy his jersey.
This heartwarming ad exemplifies the idea of a simple act of kindness and the power of a refreshing Coca-Cola to bridge gaps and bring people together.
It is a classic illustration of how a Super Bowl commercial can resonate emotionally, leaving a lasting impression on the audience.
While this commercial lacks a specific slogan, its message of goodwill and connection remains remembered and cherished, making it one of the top Super Bowl commercials ever.
- Year: 1993
- Slogan: “Have You Had Your Break Today?”
In 1993, McDonald’s aired “The Showdown,” a classic Super Bowl commercial that featured two basketball legends, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.
The duo engages in an epic game of H-O-R-S-E, showcasing their incredible skills while competing for a Big Mac.
This iconic commercial highlighted the competitive spirit and became a cultural phenomenon, resonating with sports fans and McDonald’s enthusiasts alike.
The humorous and skillful nature of the ad made it an unforgettable moment in Super Bowl advertising history.
- Year: 2011
- Slogan: “Das Auto.”
Volkswagen’s “The Force” from 2011 is a heartwarming and humorous commercial that follows a young boy attempting to use “the Force” on various objects around his house.
The twist at the end reveals a surprising source of his newfound powers—the Volkswagen Passat.
This ad brilliantly combined nostalgia, humor, and product integration, making it one of the most beloved Super Bowl commercials ever.
- Year: 2003
- Slogan: “I’m Free, Stain-Free.”
Reebok’s “Terry Tate, Office Linebacker” series debuted during the 2003 Super Bowl. This unconventional campaign featured a fictional character, Terry Tate, who enforced office rules with tackles and humor.
The commercials were a hit, providing a fresh, entertaining take on workplace dynamics.
“Terry Tate, Office Linebacker” remains a memorable and innovative approach to Super Bowl advertising, showcasing Reebok’s ability to think outside the box and connect with audiences through humor and creativity.
- Year: 1984
- Slogan: “Where’s the Beef?”
Wendy’s iconic “Where’s the Beef?” commercial aired during Super Bowl XVIII in 1984, featuring an elderly woman examining a competitor’s hamburger with a comically oversized bun.
Her famous catchphrase sparked a cultural phenomenon, symbolizing the importance of substance over style.
This commercial became a catchphrase and boosted Wendy’s sales significantly, showcasing the power of memorable advertising during the Super Bowl.
- Year: 2003
- Slogan: “23 vs. 39”
Gatorade’s 2003 Super Bowl commercial, “23 vs. 39,” depicted Michael Jordan challenging his younger self to a basketball game.
This nostalgic and visually impressive ad emphasized Gatorade’s role in sustaining athletic performance over the years.
By cleverly blending sports history and entertainment, Gatorade created a commercial that resonated with audiences and reinforced its brand as a symbol of enduring excellence in sports.
- Year: 1999
- Slogan: “Whassup?”
Budweiser’s “Whassup?” commercial from 1999 became a cultural phenomenon, featuring friends casually greeting each other with a comically exaggerated “Whassup?”
This simple and infectious catchphrase permeated popular culture, making the ad a global sensation.
The commercial’s success demonstrated the effectiveness of humor and relatable content in creating memorable Super Bowl moments, solidifying Budweiser’s presence in the hearts and minds of consumers.
Impact of Commercials on Super Bowl
Super Bowl commercials are highly anticipated and significantly impact both the audience and the advertisers. Here are some key aspects of their impact:
- Massive Reach: The Super Bowl is one of the most-watched television events in the United States, with millions of viewers. Advertisers see it as an opportunity to reach a vast and diverse audience.
- Cultural Phenomenon: Super Bowl commercials have become a cultural phenomenon, with people actively discussing and sharing their favorite ads. This engagement extends beyond the game itself, with pre-game and post-game discussions.
Creativity and Innovation
- High Production Value: Advertisers often invest heavily in producing Super Bowl commercials. The high cost of ad slots during the game encourages companies to create visually stunning and memorable ads.
- Innovative Concepts: The competitive nature of the Super Bowl commercial space drives advertisers to come up with unique and innovative concepts to stand out from the crowd.
Brand Awareness and Recall
- Increased Visibility: Super Bowl commercials provide a platform for advertisers to gain immediate and widespread visibility. The exposure can significantly contribute to brand awareness.
- Memorability: The most successful Super Bowl commercials are those that leave a lasting impression. Viewers are more likely to remember and talk about entertaining, emotional, or thought-provoking ads.
Social Media Impact
- Online Sharing: Super Bowl commercials often go viral on social media platforms. Viewers share their favorite ads, and advertisers leverage this organic sharing to extend the reach of their campaigns.
- Extended Lifespan: The impact of Super Bowl commercials extends beyond the broadcast. Advertisers can capitalize on the longevity of the content by promoting it on various online platforms.
- High Costs: Super Bowl ad slots are among the most expensive in the world. Advertisers pay millions for a brief spot during the game.
This high financial investment underscores the importance of potential returns regarding brand recognition and customer engagement.
Brand Association with the Event
- Prestige and Tradition: Being part of the Super Bowl advertising lineup is seen as prestigious. It aligns brands with a major cultural event and taps into the tradition and excitement associated with the game.
Super Bowl commercials are not just about selling products; they are about creating memorable experiences, connecting with audiences on an emotional level, and leaving a lasting impact on the cultural landscape.
What makes a Super Bowl commercial considered among the top 10 of all time?
Top Super Bowl commercials stand out for their creativity, impact, and memorability.
They often feature iconic moments and compelling storytelling, and resonate with audiences on a cultural level, leaving a lasting impression beyond the game.
Which Super Bowl commercial is widely regarded as the best ever?
Apple’s “1984” is often hailed as the best Super Bowl commercial.
Aired during Super Bowl XVIII, it introduced the Macintosh computer with groundbreaking cinematic flair, symbolizing innovation and challenging the status quo in advertising.
Are humorous commercials more successful in the list of top Super Bowl ads?
While humor is a common theme, the top Super Bowl ads vary in style. Some leverage emotional storytelling; others use wit and humor.
Regardless of style, the key is creating a memorable and engaging experience that resonates with viewers.
How do Super Bowl commercials impact the brands involved?
Super Bowl commercials provide immense brand exposure to a massive audience. Successful ads boost brand awareness, create positive associations, and can lead to increased sales.
They are a powerful platform for companies to make a lasting impression on consumers.
Do older Super Bowl commercials still hold up against modern ones?
Yes, some older Super Bowl commercials remain timeless classics. While production styles and trends evolve, the most iconic ads transcend time, continuing to captivate audiences.
Regardless of era, the best commercials share qualities like creativity, storytelling, and cultural relevance.
As we reflect on the top 10 Super Bowl commercials of all time, it’s clear that these advertising masterpieces transcend mere promotion; they’ve become cultural touchstones.
These commercials have shaped the advertising landscape from groundbreaking moments that challenged norms to the timeless humor that evokes laughter across decades.
They are about selling products and crafting narratives that resonate with the collective consciousness.
In the ever-evolving marketing world, these gems serve as guiding lights, reminding us that creativity can leave an indelible mark in the brief span of a commercial break.
The legacy of these commercials lives on, a testament to the enduring power of storytelling and innovation in the dynamic realm of Super Bowl advertising.
As we eagerly await future Super Bowls, we anticipate new entries that may join this prestigious list, further enriching the tapestry of advertising excellence.