Well, friends, it’s that time of year again and while plenty of people are looking forward to the Super Bowl, it’s between a dynasty franchise frequently accused of cheating and a shouting, crotch-grabbing couple of egomaniacs. Both teams have had some controversy surround them, but each team deserves to be there.
The Seahawks boast one of the greatest defenses the league has ever seen, while the Patriots have been dominant for over ten years, but have had a recent stretch of bad luck in the Super Bowl. Tom Brady and Russell Wilson will face off, a pocket passer in his late thirties versus a 26 year old scrambler on the verge of a huge raise (whether he wins or not).
No matter how good the matchup is however, plenty of people hate both teams and as is the story every year, millions will tune in as excited for the commercials as they are for the game. The Super Bowl is that rare yearly occasion when fans aren’t repulsed by ads but are actually drawn to them. This is the reason paying $4.5 million for 30 seconds is still seen as a decent investment for companies.
In 2015’s lineup of products willing to chuck money includes more of the usual, as BMW, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Doritos, brewers, insurance companies, other auto manufacturers, a couple of tech related companies, and even Avocados from south of the border have thrown down for ad time. Weight Watchers has too, which is interesting. Overall, the ads seem to be saying: “drive a car everywhere, drink some soda, eat some junk food, wash that down with some beer, spend some money on tech, insure all the crap you just bought and make sure you sit on the couch and keep watching. After all this you’ll look like a walrus, but don’t worry, there’s a company for that too.”
The last several years have produced some solid commercials, but since the late 70’s, the Super Bowl’s monumental hype has produced some of the most memorable commercials in television history. Here is our list of the most memorable Super Bowl ads of all time.
The Budweiser ad “Wassup” gets an honorable mention and while it is memorable, it is memorable for being the most God-awful irritating thing about 1999-2000.
10 Betty White: Snickers - 2010
Betty White is one of those entertainers who is never irritating. The vast majority of celebrities cannot pull this off, but whatever the former Golden Girl does, she is delightful. In this Snickers commercial from 2010, she starts off playing a game of pick-up football with some young men in their 20's or 30's. She runs a decent route but gets completely blown out (hopefully a body double) before eating a piece of a Snickers bar and becoming a young man again. This is a clever ad with the Snickers' catchphrase: "you're not you when you're hungry." Having Betty White smack-talking in the huddle is a great scene and one that makes this a great start to our list.
9 Apple: 1984 - 1984
For those who are not into "that whole book thing," 1984 is a book by a brilliant writer named George Orwell. He wrote, decades prior to year 1984, of a dystopian time in which media is heavily controlled by a "big brother" and society is essentially a well-calculated lie. It's a bit like The Matrix meets V For Vendetta (but the book is actually better than both movies).
During the 1984 Super Bowl, Apple computers ran this ad, with a group of homogeneous people in front of a screen (essentially being brainwashed, by what is supposed to be Big Brother) while a woman runs through and destroys the screen. In essence, this commercial had the goal of making people further consider what the personal computer could bring to their lives. Some have called it the greatest commercial of all-time. But for our purposes, as a Super Bowl ad, it is number nine. Any Steve Jobs fans who think this should be number one can submit their most eloquent hatred in the comments section.
8 Tim Tebow: Focus on the Family - 2010
This ad actually isn't entertaining or all that controversial. Seeing Tim Tebow fake tackle his mother is kind of silly, but ultimately this is just a fairly innocent ad by a Christian group, directing people to their website. Pam Tebow very vaguely details how Tim had some difficulties while in the womb but made it into the world anyway. The words "abortion" and "Christian" didn't make it into the commercial, but plenty of people still threw hissy fits, claiming that such a politically charged ad should not have been allowed to air. Tell people to drink alcohol, and eat junk food all you want, but suggest that people not have abortions?! How dare you!
7 Wendy’s: Where’s the Beef? - 1984
The catch phrase of this commercial became a common comment in popular culture for years after the ad first aired back in 1984. "Where's the beef?" is basically a way to question something's significance. If someone is telling you a long-winded story, there was a time when it was fashionable to ask "where's the beef?" instead of something like "what's the point?" The three senior citizens in the car, streaking through the city, shouting at drive-through windows is a hilarious concept and is the main reason for the success and cultural significance of this ad.
6 The Bud Bowl - 1989-1997
The Bud Bowl commercials were a series of ads that featured different teams of beer playing a game against each other. The ad is as ridiculous as it seems, with beer bottles wearing helmets, juking and tackling each other while beer bottles with microphones comment on the play. The "cans" going wild is one of the better moments too. Maybe one has to be a beer drinker to appreciate such an ad, but the brilliance really lies in the absurdity with this one, as with many beer commercials.
The Bud Bowl series continued until 1997, and changed somewhat year to year, spawning a great segment on The Simpsons, where Moe the bartender, while serving drinks for Homer while watching the Super Bowl, exclaims after the "Duff Bowl" that Duff Dry "just wanted it more."
5 The E-Trade Baby’s Debut - 2008
This commercial was the start of something big for E-Trade, a company that specializes in online stock trading and investing products. The advertising goal was to indicate that their website were so easy to use, a baby could operate it. They got a camera, a baby, and a computer, and dubbed a few words in while the baby looked around and spit up on itself. And with that, television history was made.
4 Budweiser: Frogs - 1995
This, much like the "Bud Bowl," is an example of how simple beer advertising can be. The "Bud Bowl" showed beer bottles in football gear, but this ad was even stupider, though it is still recognized as one of the most memorable ads ever. This is conclusive proof that to build a successful career in advertising, all one actually needs is to consistently come up with ideas of things drunk males will repeat over and over again at the bar.
3 Coca Cola: Mean Joe Greene - 1979
Mean Joe comes off the field after a rough day and while he is in no mood for conversation, one kid is star struck and offers him a coke. He denies the offer at first but eventually accepts, and turns from tough guy to nice guy in a matter of seconds, giving the young lad his game jersey.
There was a similar ad made decades later, with Troy Polamalu in a similar role, but had him tackling two suits after they took the kid's Coke Zero. It was funny, but nowhere near as memorable as Mean Joe's.
2 Budweiser: The Clydesdale Series
At #2, we have another ongoing Super Bowl ad series from the good people at Budweiser (Anheuser Busch). They have had these horses as part of their public image since the 1930's and have used them in ad campaigns for years. Probably the most memorable one was the ad that was aired during the 2002 Super Bowl, just a few months after 9/11. In the ad, the horses trot to New York, before taking a bow in tribute to those killed in the terrorist attacks.
It may seem repetitive to have three Budweiser ads in on this list, and if you disagree, let it be known in the comments section. Unfortunately, one cannot deny the fact that some creative, catchy, and truly iconic ads have come from the people at Bud.
1 Reebok: "Terrible" Terry Tate - 2003
We couldn't end on anything other than one of the funniest sports-related commercials ever to make it on to television. "Terrible" Terry Tate is actually Lester Speight, a professional football player and wrestler, prior to his acting career. Terry Tate, the office linebacker is hired by fictional company Felcher and Sons to enforce office regulations. He does so by tackling, throwing, and intimidating employees. It is one of the funniest ads ever created and is a definite shoe-in as number one for our list. If you disagree, don't say anything, because the pain train might come after you. Be careful at work friends.
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