The Super Bowl is one of the largest televised sporting events in the world. In 2015, a record-breaking 114 million viewers tuned in to watch the New England Patriots defeat the Seattle Seahawks.
The colossal exposure of the Super Bowl generates millions of dollars in ad revenue for the NFL. Companies spent a staggering $377 million on ads in 2016, according to Ad Age Datacentre estimates.
Over 300 Million in Ad Spend Each Year
An average 30-second ad-spot doesn’t come cheap. Brands looking to score a spot during the Super Bowl can expect to pay around $4.5 million dollars for a mere 30-seconds of air time.
Despite the steep costs, the results of a great Super Bowl ad speak for themselves.
In 2016, American insurance company, Esurance, struck gold with a pregame commercial encouraging viewers to tweet #Esurancesweepstakes for the chance to win $1 million.
The spot generated a mighty 9000 tweets per minute immediately after it aired, resulting in 375,000 tweets in the first quarter, according to Spredfast. By Monday morning, hashtag use had already hit two million.
In anticipation of the 51st Super Bowl, Expert Market has created a list of the most iconic Super Bowl commercials of all time.
1. Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” (2010)
Old Spice’s iconic commercial starring bare-chested stud Isaiah Amir Mustafa [a former NFL wide receiver] was an immediate sensation.
Amazingly, the ad was shot in one take using only practical effects.
2. Apple’s “Introducing Macintosh” (1984)
To reveal the Macintosh computer, Apple had acclaimed director Ridley Scott create this epic one-minute commercial.
Apple’s visually splendid take on George Orwell’s dystopian 1984 is said to have been a direct dig at computer giant IBM, who were cast as the corporate antagonists in Job’s new world.
3. Volkswagen’s “The Force” 2011
The star of this adorable Super Bowl commercial is a tiny Darth Vader struggling to find the force. But with perseverance, a Volkswagen and a little help from dad, the boy’s dream comes true.
This beloved ad remains the most shared Super Bowl commercial of all-time and the second most shared TV ad ever.
4. Coca-Cola’s “Mean Joe Greene” (1979)
This Super Bowl classic features NFL hall-of-famer ‘Mean’ Joe Greene, one of the best defensive tacklers in football history.
Watching a kid claiming to be one of Greene’s biggest fans give the star a bottle of Coke made viewers smile nationwide.
5. Wix.com’s “It’s That Easy” (2015)
Laden with sparkling wit, creativity and a few of our all-time favourite NFL greats, Wix managed to convince viewers that web design really is #ThatEasy.
Keep your eyes peeled for British hardman Jason Statham, who’s taking a break from Hollywood to star in their 2017 commercial.
6. McDonald’s “The Showdown” (1993)
Watching NBA mega-stars Michael Jordan and Larry Bird duke it out for a Big Mac and fries was a highlight of the 1993 Super Bowl.
Hardcore NBA fans know that Larry Bird would have won the free throw challenge thanks to his impressive free throw record, but Jordan’s flawless sweater game awards him a perfect score in our eyes in the fashion stakes.
7. Budweiser’s "Puppy Love" (2014)
The Budweiser clydesdales have melted hearts nationwide since they first tromped through the snow in the 1986 Budweiser Super Bowl ad which coined the iconic phrase: “When you say Bud you’ve said it all.”
The beer giant’s place as a Super Bowl heartwarmer was cemented by the 2014 addition of an adorable golden retriever puppy longing not to be separated from his clydesdale buddy.
This commercial's success surely proves that there’s nothing that can’t be improved by adding cute dogs into the mix.
8. Pepsi’s “Your Cheating Heart” (1996)
There are two types of people in the world: Pepsi drinkers and Coke drinkers.
In this beloved commercial, a Coca-Cola delivery driver grabs a nice, cold Pepsi out of the fridge when he thinks no one is looking. Little does he know that millions of viewers are watching at home.
Maybe ‘Around the world, it isn’t Coke after all.
9. Budweiser’s "Frogs" (1995)
Budweiser makes the list again with its famous 1995 “Frogs” commercial.
This clever commercial features three frogs who rhythmically croak throughout the commercial. As the camera slowly pans out it is revealed that instead of making indiscernible sounds the frogs are croaking the name of their beer Bud-wei-ser.
Against the backdrop of 1995’s lacklustre Super Bowl in which the 49ers steamrolled the Chargers 49-26, this ad was a bright spot for bored viewers and soon became a pop culture phenomenon.
10. Snickers featuring Betty White (2010)
Today, Snickers is well known for its series of commercials that riff off of the phrase, “you’re not you when you’re hungry.”
Younger viewers may not remember that it was Betty White who helped make the tagline famous back in 2010 with this hilarious commercial in which she transforms into a hangry football star.
Think we got it wrong? If there’s a commercial that you think should have made the list then reach out to us on Twitter at @ExpertMarketUS.