The Super Bowl XLIX is just around the corner, and NFL fans are eagerly awaiting the match-up between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots. Let’s be clear, though – the Super Bowl is in no way just a football game like any other. It’s an event.
Many people who watch the Super Bowl have some interest in football, whether they’re die-hard fans or not. However, there’s a reason that more people watch the Super Bowl than regular season games and it’s not just that the stakes are higher (though that certainly doesn’t hurt). Simply put, it’s all the extras – the Super Bowl is a spectacle of epic proportions, both for the amazing athletic feats and for the equally amazing entertainment.
There are some individuals who only watch the Super Bowl for the half-time show, eager to see Beyonce stomping down a stage surrounded by pyrotechnics, or to see a beloved classic rock band jamming out once more to the delight of music fans worldwide.
And then, there are people who are more interested in what happens during commercial breaks than in the program itself. Super Bowl commercials are a big deal – since so many people watch the big game, companies shell out millions of dollars for 15 or 30 second commercials. There are several iconic Super Bowl commercials that no one will forget – Terry Tate’s office linebacker, Cindy Crawford with the Pepsi can, Adriana Lima with the football. Whether it’s because the commercial is funny, quirky, or stars a gorgeous supermodel, there are some commercials that just did everything right and captured everyone’s attention.
And then there are the ones that no one will forget for all the wrong reasons. Here is a list of 15 of the worst Super Bowl commercials of all time.
15 Chevrolet Apocalypse
Marketing guy from Chevrolet: "You know what would be funny? If there was a massive apocalypse devastating the entire human population. Wait, wait, no, it gets funny I swear - there'll be a guy who drives a Chevy Silverado, and he'll meet up with a few others who also drive the same vehicle. Get it? They're the only survivors! It'll show how durable and tough the Silverado is! We can include a few twinkies too - really milk this apocalypse thing. What - no, Dave, it really is funny. Everyone else will think so."
14 Fred Astaire Dirt Devil
Fred Astaire is a beloved movie star who is known for his unforgettable dance scenes. He was a national treasure and no one danced like Fred and Ginger. It's one thing for a company like Dirt Devil to take his star power and dance skills and make some kind of link – he moves smoothly like our vacuums, he's as good on the dance floor as our new product is on your living room floor, that kind of thing. But to take a scene from one of his movies that his many fans loved and have him vacuum during it – the ceiling dance scene is iconic! – just seems demeaning to this slick dancer.
13 Budweiser Black Crown
Stereotypes abound in this awful commercial. Only goths could enjoy something with a black label, of course. Here's to 'our type' of beer. Obviously, if you're dressed in all black, you can only drink beer that comes out of black cans. If on that night, you decided to wear blue, you're forbidden to drink Budweiser Black Crown for the entire night. Overall, it was just a boring commercial that does little to sell the interesting components of the beer.
12 Dorito Felon
Regardless of what product they're advertising, commercials send a certain message – buying this will make you happier, more intelligent, more beautiful, etc. It's basically the whole point of a commercial. Doritos decided to go with the message of "eating our product will maybe make you a felon." Doesn't really seem like the best choice. At least they show the felon getting hit by a bus at the end, so actions do have consequences.
11 Doritos Berlin Wall
The chip company strikes again! Many of the worst commercials are awful because they're fairly offensive. So why not trivialize a historic issue that literally, physically divided a nation for years and caused pain and oppression for a cheesy snack? Why not? Seems like a good idea. Whoever was in charge at Doritos advertising in 1990 should have thought this one through a little more. Also, Jay Leno with brown hair is moderately unsettling.
10 LeBron James and Dwight Howard, Basketball Fools
This is a commercial that could have gone so right - it's endearing in its very concept. LeBron James and Dwight Howard, two of basketball's biggest superstars, in a casual one-on-one game over a bag of fries. Basically taking two superstars who make multi-million dollar contracts and bringing them back to the days scrapping on courts and challenging each other over lunch. It's adorable. And then they don't recognize Larry Bird, one of the most famous basketball players of all time, someone all serious basketball players must know. There's suspension of disbelief, but that’s just too much.
9 Jason Alexander Sells Weird Burgers
Pros: a young Jason Alexander, pre-Seinfeld fame. Strangely endearing. Cons – the awful song that takes up nearly the entirety of the commercial rather than a quick, bearably short jingle. Cons – that 80s fashion. Cons – the strange, strange concept of a hamburger that’s separated . Is there anyone on the face of the planet that cares quite so much about keeping their cool, cool lettuce so chilled? Is it not just making an extra step for the customer, having to assemble their burger, at which point the vegetables would get warm anyway? It just makes no sense.
8 Go Daddy's Sexist Marketing Department
Sure, one can see the point of Go Daddy's commercial – trying to tap into the red blooded American male that makes up a large portion of sports watching demographics. And yes, sexism is basically at the core of every Go Daddy commercial, so it's somewhat expected. Still doesn't help sell the concept of sticking a group of scantily clad women in the marketing department, hosing them down, and calling it 'funny.' How else would you sell things? Intelligence? Wit? Not at Go Daddy.
7 Sobe Strangeness
The point of a commercial is to sell something, so when a commercial is so baffling that no one can figure out what's really being sold, it obviously fails. This commercial isn't offensive, it just really doesn't make any sense. Why the white walls? Why not do a better job incorporating the Sobe lizard? And those poor, poor NFL players, being suckered into it. Why do they have to ballet dance? There are just so many questions, and none of them lead to 'Sobe looks like an appealing drink, we should buy some.'
6 Holiday Inn Transvestite
Sure, there are a lot of risqué beer commercials during the Super Bowl, but many companies are aware it's almost a family event. While the odd bikini clad woman selling liquor is fine, most advertising companies try to keep things at least moderately PG. Apparently, Holiday Inn decided to go in an entirely different direction and didn't concern themselves with audiences. Not only is it not particularly funny , not only is it offensive, it just doesn't even make sense. Is a potential hotel chain renovation anything like a sex change operation?
5 Hyundai's Angry Bosses
First of all, no big executive would really get that angry about another company winning car of the year, they're not evil villains in a cheesy movie. They would assess their product and see how they could improve. Second, the swearing in German and Japanese, respectively, is just silly and borderline stereotypically offensive. And finally, their brilliant final line – the way to sell an item that costs thousands of dollars is clearly to liken it to a frozen treat. Hyundai, like sundae. Awful.
4 Budweiser Creepy Clown
First of all, clowns are not funny, they are creepy. Second of all, they're still creepy. Third, the looks of the bar patrons basically says it all - they're not amused by the clown that has entered the bar and is humorously trying to drink with his feet. They're flat out terrified. As they should be. This commercial makes no one want to drink beer - it makes them want to run far, far away from anywhere that might serve anything this clown is drinking.
3 Macintosh 1985
The 80s were a strange time in the world of advertising. This Super Bowl commercial was designed to promote the launch of Apple's Macintosh Office. It was a big technological innovation and they could have gone so many ways with the commercial. Instead, they went the direction of super, super creepy. A haunting clip of businessmen and businesswomen jumping off a cliff. Who wouldn't want to buy a tech product after that chilling commercial? Answer - absolutely nobody. It's a miracle that Apple didn't go under based on that commercial alone.
2 GM's Suicidal Robot
Cars are machines, robots are machines. We're trying to sell machines. So let's make a commercial that stars a robot who becomes suicidal and flings himself off a bridge. That's the best way to sell our product. Suicide. This commercial is horrendous.
The one thing that advertisers need to remember when trying to sell something is that suicide makes people sad. Sade people won't buy your product.
1 The Sales Genie Pandas
There's offensive, and then there's this commercial. Sales Genie decided it would be a genius idea to create a commercial that consists almost entirely of offensive stereotypes, from the bamboo hut to the pandas to the awful, awful accent. There's just no understanding what was going on in the minds of the people who created this commercial.
It's hard to imagine how the board room thought this was a good idea. It's as if they were thinking: "let's offend a huge chunk of the world and hope they'll use our product."