Every year, over 100 million people tune in to watch the Super Bowl. Landing advertising space during the three to four hours is both expensive (up to $5 million for 30-second slots) and rewarding. Many people who aren’t football fans tune in just to watch the ads, so companies need to make sure their ads are both entertaining and memorable. Every year, there are articles dedicated to Super Bowl advertisements alone; some more political, some funnier, and others are just plain stupid. Here is a compiled list of some of the funniest, memorable, and overall “best” ads that have made their way to Super Bowl Sunday.
10. Super Bowl XXVIII (1994): Apple ‘1984’
Of course, Apple’s “Super Bowl ad, titled “1984” had to make this list. Whenever people are talking about iconic ads, this one takes the cake. Inspired by their rivalry and directed by professional, Ridley Scott, this ad was deemed controversial for its time. It was a play on George Orwell’s novel 1984, with Big Brother telling everyone to get a new Apple Macintosh.
9. Super Bowl XXXIII (1999): Budweiser ‘Wassup’
Budweiser’s 1999 “Wassup” ad started the trend that lasted years of people greeting each other “Wasssssuuuuuppp.” It may not have been one of the funniest, but it left an impression on viewers for years to come. This ad may go down as being one of the most annoying, but it definitely is one of the most memorable and started a whole fad.
8. Super Bowl XLIII (2008): E-Trade ‘Baby Trading Stock’
In 2008, E-Trade came out with an ad featuring a baby who’s into stock trading. The point was that using E-Trade was so easy, it didn’t need an adult to buy. Not only is the baby himself adorable, but the adult voice-over adds humor and an ad that won’t be forgotten as easily. After the first baby ad, they came out with a series of other ads featuring the same baby and adding new characters.
7. Super Bowl XLVIII (2014): Budweiser ‘Dog And Clydesdale’
In 2014, Budweiser had another ad that made top lists, but this time for cuteness. This tearjerker showed a strong friendship between a dog and a horse that didn’t want to leave each other. In the very end, the new owner of the dog was packed up to move, but the dog rolled the window down and the horse escaped. The dog barked as the horse led a whole group of horses to be with the puppy. The puppy jumped out of the window and ran back to the farm with the original owner who picked him up and ended by cracking a Budweiser. One title it’s been referred to as is “the power of friendship.” It’s a deeply moving ad.
6. Super Bowl XXVI (1992): Diet Pepsi ‘Cindy Crawford’
In 1992, Pepsi used humor mixed with sex appeal to advertise a new look to their can. Model Cindy Crawford got out of a vehicle and walked to a vending machine while a “sexy” song played in the background. She was being watched closely by two little boys as she drank a Diet Pepsi. In the end, though, the boys spoke and seemed to be admiring the can… not her.
5. Super Bowl LI (2017): Kia Eco Hybrid ‘Melissa McCarthy’
In 2017, Kia used activist and comedian Melissa McCarthy to advertise their Eco Hybrid. In it, she’s driving a Hybrid and they keep telling her where to go. She goes to help the whales, trees, ice burgs, and lastly, the rhinos. Each time she tries saving something, she gets flung around and falls in a hilarious way. At the end of the commercial, a voice comes over the screen and says “It’s hard being an eco-warrior but it’s easy to drive like one,” and introduces the Eco Hybrid.
4. Super Bowl XLV (2011): Volkswagen ‘The Force’
In 2011, Volkswagen used a cute kid running around in a Darth Vader costume attempting to use “the Force.”
In the end, dad came home in his Volkswagen and the child ran out in front of the car. The dad went inside and watched as his child tried to make some magic happen to the car with their hands. When nothing happened, the dad started the car using his remote-control starter from the kitchen window. It was both a little heartwarming and funny. It has also made every single top 10 list found, including being listed as one of the top shared Super Bowl ads of all time.
3. Super Bowl XIV (1980): Coke ‘Mean Joe Greene’
In 1980, Coke came out with an ad with a starstruck boy meeting “Mean Joe Greene.” Joe acted rudely until the boy handed him his Coke. He chugged it down and as he walked off, he turned around and tossed the fan his jersey. That scene from the ad has inspired scenes in TV shows and movies long after.
2. Super Bowl XLVI (2012): Bud Light ‘Wego’
In 2012, Bud Light had an ad featuring the adorable “Wego.” A dog that when you called him (“Here, Wego!”), would grab a Budlight and bring it to anyone around. It showed the man who adopted him showing the trick off to his two friends, but later on at a party when a couple was getting ready to leave, the woman said “Here we go,” and the dog adorably came running. By the end, the fluffy pup was at a pool party trying to deliver a keg.
1. Super Bowl XXV (1991): Diet Pepsi ‘Ray Charles’
Ray Charles is also listed as one of the most “iconic” Pepsi ads of all time in 1991. It was just a 30-second segment with no humor involved, but the liveliness of Ray and his singers made up for it.
This list is by no means exclusive, there are so many other ads to choose from, but the ads listed have gone down in history as being some of the most remembered. Super Bowl advertising is so effective for a mere 30-second slot, but many brands will spend the majority of their advertising budget for that single day.
Every year the ads get more memorable and brands compete to win the attention of their customers since 50% of viewers tune in.