Super Bowl Sunday is that magical day during the football season when sports fans and media nuts join forces for an evening of advertising heaven and often it’s the Super Bowl commercials that are better remembered than the games themselves. After all, you might not remember who won the 1995 Super Bowl, but you probably can recall a certain commercial with three frogs uttering the iconic syllables “Bud,” “Weis,” and “Er.”
Whether they’re funny, emotional, or simply just bizarre, watching Super Bowl ads has become almost as popular of a pastime as the game itself and many reputable filmmakers have used an amazing Super Bowl ad as a career launching pad. And this year, NYFA is getting in the game with two entries amongst the ten finalists of Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” contest; tune in this weekend to see if their ads get chosen!
So in honor of Super Bowl XLIX taking place between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks this weekend, we decided to take a look at those Super Bowl commercials that are still impossible to forget. And let us know in the comments what your favorite Super Bowl commercials are!
Apple – “1984”
One of the most ambitious and successful Super Bowl ads of all time, this Ridley Scott-directed commercial from 1984 took George Orwell’s 1984 novel as its inspiration for announcing the new Macintosh computer. While most Super Bowl ads go for goofiness over gravitas, Scott’s miniature epic shows just how powerful an ad can be when all the elements come together perfectly.
Pepsi – “Cindy Crawford”
Though employing beautiful women to sell products has been a hallmark of the advertising industry seemingly forever, Pepsi managed to capture the 90s supermodel zeitgeist with this 1992 commercial showing a pair of young boys ogling legendary model Cindy Crawford. Pepsi offered up the commercial’s counterpoint a couple years later with their equally famous commercial featuring women admiring a shirtless construction worker.
McDonald’s – “The Showdown”
Who would have thought one of the most popular Super Bowl ads ever would be about basketball? However, when football fans saw NBA’s top stars Michael Jordan and Larry Bird taking their “rivalry” to the court in the most epic game of “HORSE” ever, advertising history was made.
Coca Cola – “Mean Joe Greene”
A commercial that helped pave the way for future athletes to poke fun at themselves via advertising, Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive tackle Greene starred in this heartwarming short in which his icy exterior is melted by a bottle of coke, offered up by a young fan, who he rewards with a jersey with the timeless line “Hey kid, catch!”
Budweiser – “Bud” “Weis” “Er”
While Budweiser has essentially “won” countless Super Bowl commercial breaks with their many iconic ads, this out-of-left-field spot showcases a trio of frogs harmonizing together to complete the company’s name. If you were able to get out of the mid-90s without hearing some random stranger utter this famous catchphrase, well, you probably didn’t live in the 90s.
Reebok – “Terry Tate”
While you can be forgiven for forgetting that this was in fact a Reebok commercial, the company was able to create a truly viral ad featuring the tough love dished out by “Terry Tate, Office Linebacker” who kept wayward office employees in line, no matter how brutally.
Volkswagen – “The Force”
Sometimes all you need is to evoke a solid “Awwww” to make your mark on the annals of Super Bowl ads and this 2011 commercial. Showcasing the foiled attempts of a toddler-sized Darth Vader attempting to use “the force” to move objects, by the time the commercial reaches its HaHa/Aw Shucks moment, you’ll have a hard time suppressing a genuine smile.
Old Spice – “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”
Signaling the mainstream acceptance of advertising’s “odd” age as commercials started to siphon the surreal humor of internet videos as Old Spice created a new advertising star by lampooning the traditional machismo of men’s scent ads…and don’t forget there’s a horse!
Doritos – “Goat 4 Sale”
Continuing Super Bowl commercials’ penchant for the peculiar, this 2013 Doritos ad is arguably the best of the bunch as a man inexplicably purchases a goat who develops a very serious Doritos addiction.
Wendy’s – “Where’s the Beef?”
Hard to believe as it may be, 1984 featured not just one but two of the most memorable commercials of all time with this goofy ode to beef that features three extremely funny older women repeatedly saying the still-classic line, “Where’s the Beef?”