Most guys watch the Super Bowl for the game. Two teams battle through playoff rounds to reach the final in hopes of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy—they deserve our undivided attention. Definitely. But game (and buffalo wings) aside, the commercials are hands down the second best part about the Super Bowl. Truth is, scoring airtime for advertising during a Super Bowl isn’t cheap (roughly 3 million for a 30 second ad) so they have to be hilarious and memorable. If not, advertisers might as well flush their money down the toilet. In honor of 2013’s upcoming game, we’re looked back in NFL history from ’79 and on to bring you our list of the best 13 Super Bowl commercials ever. (Plus, links so you can watch ’em all. Enjoy.)
1979 – Coke: Mean Joe Greene
Burly defensive tackle Mean Joe Greene, limps towards the locker room and a kid stops him and offers him his Coke. The meanest man in football turns into silly putty and takes the Coke and in return offers the kid his jersey. The commercial became an instant classic, giving generations goose bumps. Who wouldn’t want a sweaty jersey from Mean Joe?
1984 – Apple: Sledgehammer
In a very apocalyptic scene, a jogger (representing Apple) knocks down Big Brother (IBM) with a sledgehammer. This was perhaps the most talked about commercials of them all as it was the beginning of the Apple era. The Macintosh never really took off, but judging by the fact that we all have ipads/phones/pods; it looks like Apple is in full effect.
1993 – McDonald’s: H-O-R-S-E
Two of the Greatest NBA players of All-Time, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan both of whom can afford to buy a Big Mac for everyone in the world, play a game of H-O-R-S-E for the privilege of chowing down on a Big Mac and fries in this classic Check out Jordan’s gear. Nothing but net.
1995 – Budweiser: Frogs
Budweiser is a mainstay during the Super Bowl, usually with very humorous ads using dogs and horses, but in 1995 they brought the frogs out. This ad even managed to bring a little sex appeal to the swamp. Ribbit, ribbit.
1996 – Pepsi: Coke Guy Takes a Pepsi
Coke or Pepsi? The age old question is like which came first. Coke guy tries to sneak a Pepsi from the fridge, and the hilarity ensues. The best part is that the scene is captured from the security camera point of view. He slinks away which adds to the fun. Beware of Big Brother, he is always watching.
1998 – Tabasco: Mosquito
No music, no dialogue, and only two characters. What happens when a mosquito takes blood from a guy who likes little spice on his pizza? This commercial will have you burning with laughter. Pesky little creatures may have finally met their match.
1998 – Doritos: 3D Doritos
Doritos did it again. Two guys sit in a laundromat trying the new 3D Doritos and in saunters a very sexy lady. They try to get her attention by using trick shots to consume the chips—and look like fools doing it. She shows them up by using an array of flips and even splits to catch the chips in her mouth (as they are being shot out of a dryer). Needless to say, the two guys are impressed and she makes her point.
1999 – Monster.com: When I Grow Up
Children always bring smiles to people’s faces, and the pros can also deliver lines with a straight face. When these kids hurl lines like “I want to claw my way up to middle management”, it’s time to sit up and pay attention. They may be your boss tomorrow, if they are not already.
2000 – E-Trade: Monkey
Animals and advertising go hand-in-hand. Take a monkey and two idiots tapping their feet to music in a garage and you have yourself an instant classic. The tagline will have you paying attention. It seems that monkeys plus commercial equals hit. This commercial would have cost 3 Million this year.
2003 – Budweiser: Clydesdales
We had bottles playing football in the eighties (a la the Bud Bowl), but in 2003 we have a battle of Clydesdales playing some football out on the range. You can’t play football without a referee, played brilliantly by a zebra. If they could have had one of the horses pull a Lucy on Charlie Brown gag on the field goal attempt that would make this the best ever.
2003 – Reebok: Terry Tate Office Linebacker
The boss hires a linebacker to ‘shake’ things up at the office. When you get up from your desk and walk to get coffee and only to be blindsided by a linebacker running at you full speed, it’s only funny to those who get to watch. Terry Tate launches hit after hit on his office mates, sometimes yelling “Break was over 15 minutes ago.” This will keep you on your toes at work!”
2010 – Snickers: Betty White
The commercial thrust her back into the national spotlight and who knew that she could even play tackle football. Nothing spells laughter like Betty White getting tackled into the mud or trading ‘girlfriend’ insults with her boys. All she needs is a candy bar to get her energy back up. Why doesn’t Abe Vigoda get some candy because Snickers really satisfies?
2011 – Volkswagen: The Force
Talk about the power of persuasion. In this modern classic commercial, a cute little kid dressed as Star Wars’ Darth Vadar tries to use The Force on his dog and on his sister’s doll, to no avail. He then turns his powers to the family Passat. Success. He starts the car with his hands (thanks to Dad and his remote engine starter). The kid looks startled and amazed by his newfound powers. All we can say? The Force was definitely with VW when it created this ad—it had over 2 million hits just one day after it aired.