For 364 days out of the year, we’re frustrated with commercials getting in the way of suspenseful plot lines. But for the biggest TV event of the year, the focus is as much on the big game as the ads.
Many brands have found clever ways to make use of the expensive ad spots, often focusing on gaining buzz instead of selling products. The Monday morning after the Super Bowl, if coworkers are chatting about that McDonald’s commercial at the water cooler, then the money paying for the NBA stars was worth it.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the ten most memorable Super Bowl commercials of all time.
Once Budweiser’s instantaneously viral ad aired in 1999, screams of enthusiastic “Wassssssup” were heard everywhere in school hallways and workplaces. People couldn’t help it. It was silly, fun and ever so catchy.
9. Google’s Parisian Love Story
You think of search engines as a way to get information, but Google showed its core product can also tell a love story — one of an American falling in love in Paris. You move through the couple’s life stages with each query until you get to the end of the ad, which aired in 2010: “how to assemble a crib.”
8. The Old Spice Guy
Manliness was redefined in 2010 when a guy in a towel charmed women everywhere with the power of Old Spice. This Super Bowl spot was what launched this icon to meme status.
7. Apple’s 1984
What a way to make a statement. In 1984, Apple aired an ad of a woman throwing a sledgehammer through a wall representing Orwellian “1984″ society. The symbolism declared the birth of the Macintosh.
6. Bridgestone’s Reply to All Ancident
What can you do in a reply-all mishap? The normal route would require an apology followed by office politics. Or if you’ve got Bridgestone tires, you can take off at a moment’s notice and steal computers and smartphones before your coworkers ever notice the message.
5. Snickers’s Betty White Ad
Betty White won America’s hearts when she poked fun at her little old lady self. Turns out, she can play rough. The attention brought new fire to her career, which later landed her a gig hosting “Saturday Night Live” thanks to popular (Facebook) demand.
4. The Budweiser Frogs
Has it been that long since the Budweiser Frogs were first on air? The 1995 Super Bowl commercial created an irresistibly catchy jingle where each frog belted out a syllable — buuud, weiiis, errrr — with the sound of crickets serenading in the background.
3. The E*Trade Monkey
E*Trade cut to the chase with its 1999 Super Bowl ad. A monkey dances around for a while until the phrase “Well, we just wasted 2 million bucks” pops up on screen. That was followed by “What are you doing with your money?” That’s a way to get your message across.
2. Volkswagon’s Darth Vader Ad
A favorite of last year’s Super Bowl, Volkwagon’s ad showed a young boy dressed in a Darth Vader costume trying his hand at the force. Nothing seems to respond, until he faces Dad’s Volkswagon. The car roars (with Dad controlling it via remote in the kitchen), lighting up the child’s imagination.
1. Matthew Broderick’s Day Off
Since this year’s Super Bowl ads have already leaked online, this one from Honda is poised to be one of the most talked-about. The auto maker resurrects an old favorite by having Matthew Broderick reprise his role as Ferris Bueller, the high school slacker who skips school and lives an extraordinary day. This time though, Broderick skips out on a day of shooting and cruises around town on his Honda CR-V crossover.
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