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40. Doritos Casket
Joining the Audi “Green Police” and the Old Spice “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” promotions from Super Bowl XLIV, the Doritos “Casket” commercial is one of our favorites just for the sheer absurdity of it all. Some of the most creative people in the world are advertisers, and that is evidenced by the concept behind this funny spot. We join mourners at a funeral, one of whom is an attractive young lady who states, “At least he got his dying wish.” The deceased’s buddies, however, know the truth. Inside the casket, we see a man covered head-to-foot in Doritos while watching the game and chowing down. “He should be off from work for at least a week.” The payoff is the funniest part.
39. Doritos Pug Attack
Another one from Super Bowl XLV – Packers win. First off let’s just say good luck getting much cuter than an adorable Chinese Pug. Doritos tapped in to that using the jackass boyfriend, who wants to play a cruel joke on poor pug-dog by tricking him to run toward the chip, unaware there’s a glass door separating him from the prize. Luckily, pug-dog’s enthusiasm wins out in the end. Every time we see this one, it busts us up.
38. Doritos Ninja
Hmm, the Dorito as throwing star. We would have never thought it possible until laying eyes on this priceless commercial from the 2010 Super Bowl. Doritos was on a bit of a roll that year. While Drew Brees was taking it to the Colts defense, Doritos was piling on the laughs with this as well as the Doritos “Casket” piece, also featured on this list. In “Ninja,” a couple of the guys at the gym are talking. One is eating a bag of Doritos. He offers a chip to the other guy, but things take a comically frightening turn for the duo when the truth is revealed about where the bag of cheesy chips come from.
37. Atari 5200 Super-System
When this ad aired during the Washington Redskins-Miami Dolphins contest at Super Bowl XVII (the ‘Skins won), there wasn’t a child nor “Judy”-dating adult in the nation that didn’t want to jump on the joystick. While the graphics today don’t offer much to a nation of kids and young adults spoiled to Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops, they were cutting edge in those days, and this spot offers a direct window into the joy this “new” system brought with it. Featuring a nice variety of titles, a swinging early ‘80s apartment, and a reminder not to forsake the personal relationships in one’s life for the love of the game, this nostalgic package celebrates the fun of gaming in a way that makes us want to go out and find an old 5200 system. P.S. Good luck with that.
36. Doritos Mouse Trap
It may be a tad creepy and violent, but we can’t help liking the Doritos Mouse Trap commercial from Super Bowl XLII. As football fans will remember this was when the underdog New York Giants dethroned the New England Patriots from their unbeaten status in the closing moments of the contest. In keeping with that underdog motif, Doritos crafted an idea they would revisit with the Pug-Dog commercial – also on this list. A guy is out to catch a mouse in his apartment. He uses a Dorito chip instead of the usual hunk of cheese. He waits for a time before getting an unexpected and painful surprise.
35. GoDaddy.com Wardrobe Malfunction
Former WWE wrestler Candice Michelle lived a double-life in 2005 as the company’s GoDaddy Girl. She debuted at Super Bowl XXXIX – Patriots win – taking a break from her duties inside the squared circle to pimp the Internet brand. As GoDaddy Girl, Candice had a real problem keeping her clothes on, and it resulted in one of the most controversial commercials the Super Bowl ever hosted. But it also cemented the company’s name as a go-to source for website hosting, and the GoDaddy Girl phenomena has since incorporated fitness trainer Jillian Michaels and race car driver Danica Patrick into the mix. What makes this ad work so well is that GoDaddy promised a “too hot for TV” version over at their website. Few Super Bowl commercials are able to effectively squeeze in the call-to-action. We can’t think of any better way than to do it in front of 86 million viewers, the majority of whom are men.
34. United Way Madden Looks Back
At Super Bowl XVIII (1984), the Raiders celebrated their recent move to Los Angeles with a dominant win over the Washington Redskins. On the advertising side, there was the ahead-of-its-time Apple 1984 commercial and there was this more straight forward spot that is no less effective. It features former Raiders coach John Madden giving a history lesson on the league’s involvement with the United Way and also shows snippets of past commercials that we’d completely forgotten about – ROCKY! The fascinating history includes the first ever United Way/NFL partnership commercial featuring Roger Staubach. The biggest draw, however, is in how genuine each player and coach seems in their interactions with the kids, particularly Madden at the end. It’s as if he forgets the camera is there and shows a side of himself that he never did when chasing referees along the sidelines during his career. This commercial was an important step in turning Madden from fierce coach to cuddly TV commentator.
33. IBM The Assistant Series
Getting all your ducks in a row has never been easier than with the IBM Assistant Series. Okay, so maybe it’s much easier these days than it was then. Nevertheless, this product featured in an ad during the 1985 Super Bowl – a 38-16 victory for the San Francisco 49ers over the Miami Dolphins – was a huge step forward in helping business and home computing grow more user friendly. The ad makes great use of archive footage featuring Charlie Chaplin and a flock of ducks as the Little Tramp tries to guide the pond-floaters in and out of a series of boxes that represent all the functions of the IBM Assistant Series (writing, graphing, filing, planning and reporting).
32. Budweiser Frogs
Bud. Weis. Er. With three simple words – just don’t try “Weis” on your Words with Friends opponents – Anheuser-Busch scored another memorable classic in the days before Internet memes. Cartoonist Steve Myerholtz did the initial rendering. Mark Choate, Michael Smith and David Swaine of DMB&B/St. Louis signed off on it, and then the frogs were translated to CGI and directed by Gore Verbinski of Pirates of the Caribbean fame. The commercial featured frogs Bud, Weis, and Er, chilling on the water as they stare up at the neon Budweiser sign. The little guys were a welcome distraction from what was otherwise a forgettable 49-26 victory for Joe Montana replacement Steve Young and the San Francisco 49ers over the San Diego Chargers.
31. Budweiser Whassup!?
The Budweiser “Whassup!?” campaign debuted in late 1999, but took pop culture by storm when it was seen in between plays at Super Bowl XXXIV – a St. Louis Rams victory for those of you keeping score – in early 2000. Featuring writer and director Charles Stone III and a number of his childhood friends greeting each other with the catchphrase, the original still manages to elicit laughter even 12 years removed from its first airing. It’s also one of the most decorated promotional campaigns of all time having won the Grand Clio Award and capturing the Cannes Grand Prix prize. In 2006, it entered the CLIO Hall of Fame and in 2008, it made a comeback with “Whassup 2008,” which took Favorite User Generated Video at the 35th Annual People’s Choice Awards.
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30. Master Lock Shot Lock
The Master Lock Shot Lock commercial came in the early days of Super Bowl broadcasts, a part of the 1975 matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Minnesota Vikings. The game was a defensive struggle wherein the Steel Curtain Defense had provided Pittsburgh with the only points – a safety – through the first two quarters of play. Those who liked a lot of high-powered offense with their football were disappointed, but still had to admit the demonstration in this 30-second spot was hard to forget. It doesn’t use the humor that has defined greatness for so many Super Bowl commercials, but it illustrates the effectiveness of a product better than anything we’ve seen. Functional advertising works – who’d’ve thunk it!? (Excuse the poor video quality. Nobody’s lining up to remaster these things.)
29. Pepsi Magnetic Attraction
It’s easy to see how the Pepsi Magnetic Attraction ad during the 2008 Super Bowl could be overshadowed by the game itself. That was the year the New England Patriots had won all 18 of their regular and post-season games. They stood at the precipice of doing something no other team in the 16-game schedule configuration had managed to do: finish unbeaten. Unfortunately for Tom Brady fans, Eli Manning and the New York Giants had other ideas. Manning pulled off the upset thanks to an amazing catch – the legendary “helmet grab” by receiver David Tyree – followed by a 13-yard TD reception by Plaxico Burress with (again) 35 seconds left on the clock. If you were watching at home – whether sad or disappointed by the game result – you couldn’t help but admire Justin Timberlake’s performance and physical comedy prowess in this 60-second spot as he gets pulled toward a beautiful Pepsi drinker. At 21 seconds, note a cross-dressing fella, who looks suspiciously like SNL’s Andy Samberg.
28. McDonalds The Showdown
The appearance of Air Jordan and the Bird-Man in this 1993 Super Bowl commercial was not unlike a Kobe vs. LeBron teaming would be today. Actually, it’s bigger since even people who never cared for the sport of basketball were instantly able to recognize these two icons. Aside from the star-power, McDonalds’ ad delivers with a charming little concept that made you like these guys even more. Just who would win one-on-one between Larry Bird and Michael Jordan, arguably the two greatest all-around NBA stars of all time? The answer’s not that easy when a Big Mac is involved. Thankfully, this spot was able to take our minds off the 52-17 drubbing the Dallas Cowboys gave to the Buffalo Bills that year.
27. Xerox Brother Dominic
It’s no big mystery that in the days before the printing press, monks were a huge reason why there were copies of the Bible available. They did it all by hand, and that laborious action lent itself well to this Xerox spot. The ad was one of the more memorable Super Bowl commercials, which played in 1977 during the 32-14 beatdown that John Madden’s Oakland Raiders gave to the Minnesota Vikings that year. Xerox’s copier, the 9200, could churn out pages at an “astounding” two pages per second. Pretty crappy by today’s standards, but a godsend for Brother Dom, who is tasked with replicating 500 copies of his remarkable penmanship. The result: an absolute miracle (for the time).
26. Noxzema Wants to Cream Your Face
It was one of the first and most memorable Super Bowl commercials. It featured star-power, catchy music, and some much-needed sexy playfulness, which was woefully lacking at the time, especially in the world of advertising. The year was 1973. The Miami Dolphins were 16-0 and in the process of closing out a perfect season with a victory over the Washington Redskins 14-7 at Super Bowl VII. New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath took a step back from the gridiron to star alongside Farrah Fawcett in this provocative 30-seconder from Noxzema. The setup is that he’s Joe Namath and you don’t need a setup. Good looking blondes come up to him all the time and cream him up really nice. “Let Noxzema cream your face” – so, many, jokes! It had to be the easiest money ol’ Joe ever made.
25. Nissan G.I. Joe Steals Barbie
With the controversy over Nissan’s Ridley Scott ad in 1990, the company decided to go with something more humorous for its offering five years later in hopes of a smoother reception. Well, the spirit was willing, but unfortunately, Mattel didn’t see the humor in the G.I. Joe Steals Barbie ad. The toy manufacturer sued Nissan for the parody and came out on top. Those who found the commercial funny – us included – have a tendency to say, “Ah, lighten up,” to such actions, but who knows? Maybe if we owned the properties it would be different. Right or wrong, legal or illegal, it’s still a very fun commercial set to Van Halen’s cover of “You Really Got Me.”
24. Pepsi Bears
As dominant as the Tom Brady era New England Patriots have seemed, they’ve also been known for blowing their share of opportunities – Giants games, anyone? – but with Super Bowl XXXVIII that was not the case. However, Brady and Company didn’t exactly run away with their 32-29 victory over the Carolina Panthers that year. While it made for one of the more thrilling games in Super Bowl history, fans with no dogs in the hunt could take joy in Pepsi’s advertising contribution. That contribution came in the form of the Pepsi Bears, a furry duo, who ransack an empty cabin only to find there is no Pepsi to go with their meal. Not to be deterred, they come up with a creative solution, to say the least.
23. Old Spice The Man Your Man Could Smell Like
Another classic from the 2010 Super Bowl, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” is an intimate address between the Old Spice Man (Isaiah Mustafa) and the wives and girlfriends of every pot-bellied stallion who was too busy wrapped up in the Saints-Colts game to notice. The premise of the commercial is simple. Old Spice Man is directing female viewers to look at him, then look at their men, and make the obvious comparison. All hope is not lost, however. While “your man” can’t look like Mustafa, he can smell like him. With this commercial, Mustafa, no stranger to the NFL as a practice squad man for Oakland, Cleveland, Seattle, and Tennessess, as well as player for the NFL Europe franchise Barcelona Dragons, made his biggest splash at the NFL’s biggest game—just not as a player.
22. Heineken Walk-In Fridge
In late December 2008, Heineken dropped this commercial online for the 2009 Super Bowl. That was the game where Ben Roethlisberger hit Santonio Holmes in the end zone for a game-winning touchdown pass with 35 seconds left on the clock. The play gave the Pittsburgh Steelers organization its record-setting sixth Super Bowl championship. If you were one of the long-suffering Arizona Cardinals fans, you could at least take comfort in the loss due to the contributions of this hilarious commercial. We start with a group of lovely women at a party. The leader of the group is taking her friends on a tour of the house and stops outside a walk-in closet. When she opens the double-doors, the ladies are so excited they start to cheer. But their enthusiasm cannot compare to what’s going on with the guys on the other side of the house.
21. Wendy’s Where’s the Beef?
In the world of 1980’s TV commercials, it doesn’t get much more memorable than this 1984 Super Bowl spot featuring the late great Clara Peller, an adorable old lady who was quite miffed at the cost-cutting measures of many burger joints during the Reagan Era. Picking up the top of an oversized bun to find a pitiful excuse for a burger patty lying underneath elicited a response which would be heard round the world. Conceived for Wendy’s restaurants by Dancer Fitzgerald Sample advertising agency out of New York, the “Where’s the Beef?” campaign resonated with viewers and beat out its rather dull gridiron competition that year – the Los Angeles Raiders mauled the Washington Redskins 38-9. Wendy’s revived the campaign in 2011, long after Peller’s death in 1987, finally answering the question, “Here’s the beef!”
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20. McDonald’s New Kid
There is something touching and a little sad about McDonald’s 1987 Super Bowl commercial. The inclusive aim of the spot is somewhat Rocky Balboa-esque. Point being, you don’t need to step aside in life until you’re good and ready. The ad delivers this point effectively, and that is what makes it a great ad. Unfortunately, the sad part comes with the idea that this cute old man is working at a fast food restaurant. We prefer to think he’s doing it by choice because he still wants to feel useful. Nevertheless, yours truly worked at a Sonic Drive-In for 10 months in high school, and if I ever have to go back to a job like that, I pray that one of you will have the decency to shoot me.
19. Pepsi vs. Coke – Diner
The Cola Wars heated up the same year that San Francisco cruised to its fifth Super Bowl victory, this time against the San Diego Chargers in 1995. While quarterback Steve Young was shedding the shadow of Joe Montana, a Pepsi driver and a Coke driver were escaping the cold inside of a roadside diner. After some small talk, the two really hit it off, sharing pictures of their families to the tune of The Youngbloods’ “Get Together.” But things take a dark (and funny) turn when they decide each to try out the other’s product. Pepsi Guy takes a sip and slides his can back to Coke Guy. Coke Guy then tries the Pepsi. All hell breaks loose. Pepsi would later revisit the ad in 2010 with dueling products Pepsi Max and Coke Zero. Director Joe Pytka helmed both and prefers the ending of the second in which the drivers instead of a chair burst through the window, but we choose the original.
18. Bud Light Skydivers
Once again the New England Patriots escape with their lives in a hard-fought 24-21 victory against the always-the-bridesmaid-never-the-bride Philadelphia Eagles. The win marked the Pats’ fifth Super Bowl appearance overall and their third Lombardi – and third by a three-point margin of victory no less. But what had us cheering was this spot from Bud Light. A plane filled with skydivers is up thousands of feet in the air. One guy jumps out no questions asked. The one behind him – scared to death. But when a six-pack of Bud Lights get brought into the mix – well, then things get really funny. The reluctant skydiver scenario captured the top spot from USA Today for Best Super Bowl ad. It also garnered a No. 2 ranking from ADBOWL.
17. Lipton Brisk Babe Ruth
Oh how we miss the Lipton Brisk Iced Tea claymation commercials. While the Rocky version was great, it’s hard to beat this salute to the Yankees, Major League Baseball aficionados, and maybe even a few Seinfeld fans. The setup is this: Babe Ruth, who is somehow playing on a team with Reggie Jackson, managed by Billy Martin, is on the verge of striking out. His distraught nature is illustrated by beads of sweat trickling down his face, to which George Steinbrenner comes out of nowhere and states to Martin: “Why’s he sweating? I’m not sweating and I’m wearing a turtle neck. You’re fired!” Luckily, Jackson saves the day with a can of Lipton Brisk, and the rest is (not really) history. Excellent addition to 1998’s Super Bowl XXXII lineup, which featured an aging John Elway capturing his first of two Super Bowl championships after 15 seasons. The 31-24 win was a narrow one over Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers.
16. Bud Bowl I – Second Half Action
While Bud Bowl I was not quite as memorable as Super Bowl XXIII, a down-to-the-wire battle between the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals – no, newbie NFL fans, “the Cincinnati Bengals” is not a misprint – it was still a welcome addendum. The Bud Bowl itself was a stop-motion animated football game between Budweiser and Bud Light beer bottles. Fashioned by the creative team of David Henke and Bill Oakley (D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles), it incorporated 3D animation and lots of football puns for four quarters of punishing action to determine once and for all which was more true of Anheuser-Busch’s products – tastes great or less filling? What made this first Bud Bowl the best was the classic “Heidi ending” in which a hand reaches down out of the sky and pulls two key “beer players” from the fridge before a final outcome could be determined. This inclusion was a reference to the unfortunate real-life event when in 1968 NBC cut away to the Shirley Temple film Heidi, thus preventing millions of Americans from seeing the thrilling come-from-behind conclusion of the Nov. 17, 1968, contest between the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets. All four quarters of the Bud Bowl are classic television – and easy to digest in a five-minute YouTube sitdown – but the ending is unbeatable. Plus, if you hated the ending, you could always take comfort in the conclusion of Super Bowl XXIII. Joe Montana led a 92-yard drive in the final three minutes of action to steal the Lombardi from the Boomer Esiason-helmed Bengals. The Bud Bowl would return in 1990 through 1995, and then one final time in 1997. Do we miss? What do you think?
15. FedEx Castaway
Football fans probably remember Super Bowl XXXVII for it being the one and only time that you would ever see a perennial doormat like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers put it all together and pull out a Lombardi. But aside from the Bucs’ 48-21 shellacking of the Oakland Raiders, there was also the memorable FedEx Castaway commercial, which capitalized on the popularity of the 2000 Tom Hanks drama. In the commercial, an island castaway (and FedEx employee) goes through Hell and High Water to deliver a package to its destination. Once he completes the mission, he can’t help asking what was in the package. It’s the response that sets this one apart from its competition.
14. Chrysler It’s Halftime in America
One of the longer Super Bowl spots, this addition to Super Bowl XLVI in 2012 – New York Giants vs. New England Patriots – ran two minutes in length. But behind the stirring voice of one of Hollywood’s greatest stars and with a message that Americans from all economic and political backgrounds desperately needed to hear, it really didn’t seem that long. Celebrating the renewal of the auto industry, which, like most Americans, had taken the 2008 Recession quite hard, Chrysler scored with an uplifting promo featuring Mr. Clint Eastwood himself and reminding Americans of their country’s greatness. The $3.5 million ad, directed by David Gordon Green (Eastbound & Down, Pineapple Express) and written by poet Matthew Dickman, was aimed wisely at the most-watched sports event in the country. Close to 167 million Americans – more than half the U.S. – tuned in for the event and were greeted with this message: times are tough, we’ve taken our licks, but it’s time to suit up and charge back out for the second half. In other words, it’s a whole new ballgame.
13. Cracker Jack Really Big Bag
John Elway ended his illustrious 16-year career as quarterback of the Denver Broncos in a way that guys like Brett Favre could learn a lesson from. After capturing the Lombardi in Super Bowl XXXII – his only NFL championship up to that point in his career – Elway gave it one last go and won a back-to-back ring, this time against the Atlanta Falcons 34-19 while earning the Super Bowl MVP for 1999. Also that year, Cracker Jack released its best promo in the Really Big Bag. While rolling out the new “snack-sized” bag, the company also decided to give the much larger version a tryout. The results aren’t quite the same, and neither are the prizes. Very witty and funny spot that successfully lampooned our nation’s “super-size me” mindset of the time.
12. Anheuser-Busch Applause
If you have any respect for the military whatsoever, then it remains difficult to sit through this spot from 2005 without shedding a tear. As someone who has covered a reunion of war-weary troops and their families, I know how emotional and poignant these things can be. Anheuser-Busch captured that sensation perfectly in just 60 seconds. There are no words. Only the effective imagery of troops walking through an airport and being greeted by a host of cheering citizens from all walks of life. For a company to stand the test of time, it must produce more than just a great product. It must also establish an emotional connection to its audience. This creates brand loyalty, and “Applause” from Super Bowl XXXIX manages the responsibility to perfection.
11. Budweiser Clydesdale Respect
Super Bowl XXXVI was a classic between the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams. The Pats came out on top 20-17 in that contest, and while the nation was very much tuned in, most were still reeling from the Sept. 11 attacks which cost the lives of thousands of Americans. Budweiser did a fine job of capturing national sentiment using its iconic Clydesdale horses as a means of conveying respect and support to the victims of 9/11. The commercial features a very somber score as the horses make their trek across Brooklyn Bridge to the site of Ground Zero. Once there, they bow to the empty skyline. It’s a moving piece, and Super Bowl XXXVI was the commercial’s only TV airing. The company did keep it available on its website for one year, but it being 2002, online video streaming capabilities were not what they are today. In case you missed it then, here’s your chance.
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10. Pepsi Can with Cindy Crawford
Just one look. That’s all it took. In 1992 while the Buffalo Bills were hoping that maybe their third time straight in the big game would be the charm, the boys in this Pepsi commercial were charmed completely by Cindy Crawford. Or so it seemed. This commercial captures all the innocence of childhood with the classic 1963 version of the song from R&B singer Doris Troy. Crawford never looked better than she does in cutoff shorts and tank-top. The production value makes what is now a 20-year old commercial seem as fresh and original today as it was back then. And that Pepsi can – it’s beyooooootiful. The only losers in this paragraph were the Bills themselves, who would drop this contest to the Washington Redskins and go on to lose one more Super Bowl in 1993 before fading into obscurity, presumably forever.
9. Volkswagen: The Dog Strikes Back
Another entry in the memorable 2012 Super Bowl rematch between the New York Giants and New England Patriots – sorry on both counts, Patriots fans – this was one of the more hilarious commercials of the last few years. The spot featured an overweight canine, who decides it’s time to do something about his condition. No more table scraps. Dragging dumbbells through the house. Running on the treadmill. All in a day’s work for a very Rocky-esque montage, all with the goal that one day maybe good ol’ Spot can squeeze his girth through the doggie door. And that’s just the first half. Wait till you see who walks in at the end. A wonderful companion piece, by the way, to our No. 3 selection.
8. Apple 1984
The same year Clara Peller was asking Wendys’ competition, “Where’s the beef?” Apple was going with something a tad more heady. Playing on the fact that it was a New Year AND said New Year’s number lined up with a certain George Orwell novel, the folks at Apple unleashed this stunning ad for the Macintosh, directed by Ridley Scott, that juxtaposed a woman in a track suit running from a group of Orwellian stormtroopers. In an auditorium, a sea of mindless drones are listening to Big Brother. When the woman reaches the auditorium, she flings the hammer at the Big Brother Screen smashing it into a wash of light. The message is pretty powerful symbolism for 60 seconds of football advertising, but as many Mac owners will agree, quite true to this day.
7. Snickers Football
Gotta love Betty White – at least you have to in this hilarious commercial from Super Bowl XLIV. The Golden Girls actress’s agreement to jump out on the muddy football field and play tackle-no pads football with the big boys won her a new generation of fans and launched an innovative, “You’re not yourself when you’re hungry” campaign that the company still puts to use from time to time. White looks funny enough “running” her post pattern, but when she, while actually playing a guy named Mike, lowers the boom on a teammate for telling her/him, “You’re playing like Betty White out there,” hilarity ensues.
6. Careerbuilder Parking Lot Monkeys
The chimps of Yeknom Industries returned from a five-year hiatus to the glory and grandeur of the 2011 Super Bowl. While the Packers were putting away the Steelers, we were just thrilled that our old primate friends had returned. This particular spot for CareerBuilder.com depicted the horrid monotony of arriving early in the morning to a job you can’t stand, but it did so while packing in a healthy dose of humor. As our human protagonist slides in to his spot, he is blocked in on the driver’s side by a carload of apelike knuckleheads. No problem. There’s always the passenger side, right? Wrong. While the monkeys may be hard to work with, they’ve been a gold mine for the CareerBuilder brand, which has seen, according to Forbes.com, an 18% year-over-year traffic boost from the 2011 spot alone. When they debuted in 2005, the jump in traffic was 43%. No argument that these chimps have put the job-hunting website on the map.
5. Diet Pepsi You Got the Right One Baby
It was the commercial that launched a decade’s worth of memorable advertising. Presented as part of Super Bowl XXV – the New York Giants dropped the Buffalo Bills that year 20-19 – this 60-second spot featured perhaps the greatest R&B performer of all time in Ray Charles doing what he does best. Charles had the type of arresting delivery that made you stop what you were doing to focus on him. Add that amazing quality to a slate of jaw-dropping models and a general atmosphere of celebration, and you’ve got a Super Bowl commercial for the ages. But what really made it work is Charles’ voice and its closing delivery of those six little words, which Americans would catch themselves humming in their sleep for the next ten years or so. Our only complaint: we wish we knew who those models were!
4. Volkswagen: The Force
This adorable ad aired during the Feb. 6, 2011, game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers. The Pack controlled most of the contest, though the second half did see their lead narrow before finishing at a rail-thin 31-25 margin of victory. But long before things got interesting on the gridiron, viewers had already seen this gem, which advertises for the 2012 Volkswagen Passat with a little help from Darth Vader. Or is that a LOT of help from a LITTLE Darth Vader? Who among you doesn’t have some precocious youngster like this in the family? Leave it to dear ol’ Dad to feed those fantasies.
3. Coca-Cola “Hey Kid, Catch!”
Super Bowl XIV was pretty sweet for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Not only did they cruise to a 31-19 victory over the Los Angeles Rams, but they also accepted a fourth Super Bowl trophy in less than ten seasons. Not bad for a club that spent much of the Sixties as perennial doormats. But as sweet as it was for the organization, it was even sweeter for the meanest man on the team. “Mean” Joe Greene, a defensive tackle for the black-and-yellow, was an integral part of the “Steel Curtain” D and had been around for each one of those Super Bowl victories. Additionally, he starred in one of the most well-known and loved Super Bowl commercials during this 1980 contest. The “Hey Kid, Catch!” promotion consisted of a battered Greene showing his softer side to an adoring child fan. No one was used to seeing the Mean One in such a heartwarming situation, and as a result, the spot captured a Clio Award as the year’s best advertisement and was even expanded into a TV movie, The Steeler and the Pittsburgh Kid, starring Greene and Henry Thomas (E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial). In 2009, the Steelers’ strong safety Troy Polamalu starred in a remake commercial for Coke Zero (with the Mean One’s blessing, of course).
2. Google Parisian Love
This ad made its first appearance on Feb. 7, 2010, at Super Bowl XLIV, and while it didn’t receive most of the press attention because it wasn’t funny, didn’t feature a big-name celebrity and didn’t go in for millions of dollars in production value, we think it’s one of the best Super Bowl commercials of all time. Give it a spin, and you’ll see what we’re talking about. Google uses its search engine to walk us through the major cycles of life. Earning an education, expanding your research, using search terms to familiarize yourself with new customs and locations, falling in love and having children. The searches combine with a moving instrumental to tell a story that resonates with us while prominently displaying the product itself and its undeniable impact on our world. You don’t always have to be funny or stupid to make an impact. As with running a business, Google shows us how to do it right.
1. Reebok Terry Tate: Office Linebacker
By far one of the funniest ad campaigns in Super Bowl history, Reebok’s Terry Tate: Office Linebacker may not have done a really great job of advertising the product – very little mention of Reebok is even made in the promo – but it tickles the funny bone and encourages repeat viewings. This was another Super Bowl XXXVII entry – Bucs win, Bucs win, Bucs win – which featured Lester Speight, a former college and USFL football player, as Tate, a former football linebacker, who can’t seem to separate his old job from his new one in the office world. With Tate, you’d better recycle your cans, refill the coffee and watch where you’re going with that mail cart. One screwup could mean “the pain train’s comin’” because when it’s game time, “it’s pain time.” And if you ever felt the wrath of Tate in the office – didn’t matter if you were male or female – then it would come as no surprise to get left with a bone-crunching tackle.
Well, those are our picks. Now let’s see if you agree. Share your thoughts with us below, and Happy Super Bowl!