The Super Bowl is one of the world’s biggest sporting and television events—yet loads of people only watch it for the ads. Yes, the commercials have become as significant a part of the experience as the game itself, becoming a showcase for brands to strut their stuff while utilising the most expensive real estate in advertising.
The year’s renewal sees the Rams and Bengals square off in SoFi Stadium—but if you’re more concerned with the sales pitches than the scoreboard, then there’s only one way to get warmed up. We’ve taken a look back at some of our favourite Super Bowl commercials of all time…
Alexa Loses Her Voice – Amazon Super Bowl LII Commercial
Supposedly the most expensive Super Bowl commercial ever created, this 2018 Amazon offering presents a scenario in which their famous assistant suddenly comes up hoarse—and is replaced by a number of stand-ins including Gordon Ramsay, Rebel Wilson, Cardi B and Sir Anthony Hopkins. It’s clever, over-the-top, and reminds us of the iconic status of Alexa as a ubiquitous part of modern life.
Volkswagen’s The Force
This 2011 commercial features a child going around his house dressed as Star Wars’ Darth Vader, attempting to channel the powers of the dark side on everything from the family dog to the new Volkswagen Passat. Why does it make our list? Because it’s funny, original and unlike your stereotypical car ad—while still placing the product in the starring role.
Budweiser: Super Bowl XLVIII Puppy Love
The beer has a long and decorated history of nailing their Super Bowl spots; this one might stand out as the finest of all. Telling the story of a young puppy that creates a bond with the Clydesdales synonymous with the brand, it proves that when your branding and tone of voice are strong enough, no product placement or celebrity cameos are necessary to deliver a memorable moment.
Apple: 1984 – Super Bowl XVIII
Charged with introducing the Apple Macintosh to the world, the big guns were called in for what might remain the most famous ad for a computer, ever. Helmed by Alien and Blade Runner director Ridley Scott, the advertisement cost an estimated $1.6 million to produce—and, as though to illustrate the power of a strong first impression, was aired only once…
Clash of the Clans: Revenge
Whether it’s zeitgeisty zingers or classic callbacks, Super Bowl spots are the ideal spot for the perpetual power of pop culture to shine. Our own Liam Neeson showed as much in this 2015 commercial, channeling his instantly recognisable Taken character as he lusts for revenge via a mobile game. If you happen to play it, make sure to avoid AngryNeeson5 at all costs…
M&M’S – “Come Together”
Last year’s M&M’s campaign featured a series of light-hearted situations in which people make amends by sharing a pack of M&M’s. Relying on a smart script with currency to the fore, it’s completely in keeping with the brand’s whimsical tone; it also hit the mark during a mid-pandemic period where big parties (and big budgets) were less of a focus than before.
Snickers – Betty White
Snickers’ highly successful series hinging on the “You’re not you when you’re hungry” hook began with this gem—starring the late great Golden Girls actress. The longevity of the premise speaks to the fact that it’s an exceptional tagline, and their casting of a beloved family fave was the ideal choice.
We can’t wait to see what commercials are rolled out this weekend, and which brands will score the biggest touchdown with consumers!