The Super Bowl 2015 is this Sunday (Feb 1st), it is one of the most watched American TV broadcasts every year with over 100 million viewers. The half time acts are always the biggest music stars of the moment; this year Katy Perry is set to rock the audience at the Phoenix Stadium, Arizona. She will be joined by Lenny Kravitz while the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks take a well earned break. One of the major financiers is of course the advertising and to get a spot there is some seriously fierce competition (not to mention that the average slot costs a mere $4 million). Budweiser, Coca Cola, Doritos, McDonalds and Pepsi are just a few of the big names that fight for a place within the Super Bowl’s many ad breaks and every year they have to come up with something innovative, unique and clever. Over the years the advertisements during the airing of the Super Bowl have become notorious for their comedy, celebrity cameos and unpredictability and have become a phenomenon in their own right with many people tuning in solely to see what the advertisers will come up with.
These are our top ten most iconic, quirkiest, kookiest, funniest, genius and memorable ads ever to be aired during the Super Bowl.
1. Coca Cola 1980 – This is one of the earlier ads to be aired during the Super Bowl and has become an iconic one due to the star of the show being the defensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Joe Greene. Also known as “Mean Joe”, the star player is on his way to the dressing room injured as a young fan offers him his Coca Cola, in an act of gratitude he in turn gives the fan his game jersey. This earned Joe his most famous role and there were even spin off ads made from this by Proctor and Gamble where the jersey stinks and the fan rejects it.
2. Apple 1984 – This has been considered to be one of the best Super Bowl ads of all time for its influence and assistance in launching the Mac into the personal computer market. It was directed by the famous Ridley Scott and inspired by the novel 1984 by George Orwell. The setting is futuristic looking with an army of prisoners sat watching a propaganda-like speaker on a large screen. A woman wearing athlete’s attire with a Macintosh branded T-Shirt comes running through the audience and hurls a hammer at the screen. The message that comes across is “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce the Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984.’”
3. Pepsi 1992 – This has been considered the best Pepsi ad of all time as well as being a classic Super Bowl commercial. It is typical nineties, with one of the biggest supermodels of the time wearing high-waisted tiny denim shorts and a white vest showing off the curves that she was so famous for. Cindy Crawford stars as this thirsty girl who pulls up in her red sports car at a roadside stop to drink a can of Pepsi from a vending machine. Two young boys watch on in awe, amusingly the first boy eventually says “Is that a great new Pepsi can, or what?”. The ad became so iconic they even recreated it ten years later with Cindy this time opting for a Diet Pepsi!
4. Budweiser 1995 –This was the first in a series of adverts by Budweiser featuring three frogs, each of which simply deliver a syllable “Bud”, “Weis” and “Er”. Launched during the ’95 Super Bowl the frogs touched the hearts of America and the world and became one of their most popular campaigns. Budweiser have been a major player in the Super Bowl ad stakes and have had many famous mascots arise from their commercials. Such as the Clydesdale horses, Dalmatian dogs and puppies assisting in making them the most successful advertiser thirteen times in the Super Bowl Ad Meter.
5. Budweiser 1999 – This ad was based on an award winning short film True written and directed by Charles Stone III. It just features a bunch of friends talking to each other on the phone saying “what’s up” or “Whasssuuuuup” in a funny way and sticking their tongues out whilst all drinking a Budweiser. It seemed so trivial and silly at the time but every school kid and even adults latched on to the phrase and it could be heard being used all over the world. It was used in the spoof horror movie Scary Movie, and reemerged six years later involving criticism of George Bush and promotion of Obama.
6. Reebok 2003 – It’s not only one of the funniest ads ever to air, but it set an incredibly high standard for future Super Bowl spots that few have been able to top. Terry Tate, played by actor/athlete Lester Speight, is hired by a big corporation to keep their office drones from goofing off or keeping up office protocol when they’re at work. Tate achieves this not through corporate retreats or mission statements, but by tackling the hell out of anyone who steps out of line.
7. Doritos – Back in 2006 Doritos had the genius idea to launch a competition where the viewers were given the opportunity to film and enter their own commercials with the premise being the winner would air their ad at the Super Bowl. The Crash the Super Bowl promotion is still to this day a massively popular competition with millions of entries having to be scoured through to find the winner. It became even bigger when, in 2009, Doritos added a million dollar prize should any entry be allocated the number one on the Super Bowl Ad Meter Poll. This is one that made it…entitled Free Doritos by Joe and Dave Herbert from Illinois won the grand prize at the Super Bowl XLIII. An office worker uses a crystal ball to see whether he will get the desired Doritos, he then launches it at the vending machine and smashes the window thus freeing all the crisps! Genius.
8. Old Spice 2010 – This is a very amusing tongue in cheek effort to convince men (or their women) that they need to smell like the Old Spice man in order to be a real man, look like he does and live like he does. It’s funny, it’s exaggerated, its sexist and ridiculous and…a massive success in the ad world. There have been many follow ups since the original along the same line of thinking but this one stars a half naked Terry Crews as the protagonist and the reason why people started wearing Old Spice again – it must be working, with almost 50 million views on YouTube!
9. Volkswagen 2011 – This became one of the top viral ads ever to have been aired at the Super Bowl. Since its first airing in 2011 this ad received an incredible response having now over 60 million views on You Tube. The mother of the child actor was said to be utterly overwhelmed by the public’s reaction. The advert, for the new Volkswagen Passat, depicted a young boy dressed head to toe as Star Wars character Darth Vader. The boy attempts to use “the force” on inanimate objects around the house but none of his efforts seem to work. About to give up, he tries out his force on the new car and amazingly the engine starts…Dad is then pictured in the kitchen with the remote control, showing that the new Passat can be started remotely. More importantly the ad delivers a sense of humour and reality amongst families, plus the iconic visual of Star Wars and childhood dreams and fantasies. It’s a winner!
10. McDonalds 1993 – This ad, known as The Showdown, features Michael Jordan and Larry Bird in a hoop shooting contest of seriously exaggerated standards. Jordan and his contender Bird are seen bouncing the basketball off walls, the scoreboard, through windows, etc. in attempt to outdo each others’ skills on the court; the prize being the McDonalds Big Mac and Fries that are on offer. This has become another of the most iconic, all American Super Bowl ads of all time.
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