Ben Steffler
Top 10 Super Bowl Ads of All-Time

Dc here,

So here we are, the time of year when football and advertising collide. Ads for the Super Bowl sold at $4.5 million for 30 seconds last year. For us marketers, these stories are inspiration GOLD. We thought we’d recap one of the most impressive annual expositions of marketing to Amurica known to man. Take it away Ben.

First awarded on Jan. 15, 1967, the Super Bowl has become the go to spot for advertisers to flaunt in front of the largest TV audience in history. America’s hottest companies flocked to the Super Bowl, and we’ve watched intently. From a content marketing perspective, the Super Bowl is THE go-to for innovation in advertising.

Homer Simpson running in cirlces.
Marketer’s reaction to 114.4 million Super Bowl viewers.

What happens when marketers get the largest canvas for reaching potential customers? A competitive spirit-showing compassion, creativity, and humour to make even the most cynical anti-consumerist crack a smile (or shed a tear).

10. Pepsi – Cindy Crawford (1992)

If you got it, flaunt it. That’s just what Pepsi did when they unveiled their new for ‘92 can design with the help of Cindy Crawford.

9. Snickers – You’re Not You When You’re Hungry (2010)

People tend to get a bit … out of character when hunger strikes.

8. Budweiser – Clydesdale Respect (2002)

The Clydesdale have long been a symbol of patriotism for Budweiser.  This ad, released in 2002, paid homage to those lost in the 9/11 attacks.

7. Google – Parisian Love (2010)

Leave it to Google to create an ad that teaches consumers the power of Google Search while telling a love story at the same time.

6. – When I grow up (1999)

In this ad, gets children to state their aspirations to work dead-end jobs. The implication: using can help overcome a harsh reality that many children will face as adults.

5. Reebok – Terry Tate: Office Linebacker (2003)

This is a personal fave. Talk about content marketing; Reebok did an entire mini-series of Terry Tate videos and saved the best ones for Super Bowl XXXVI. “The pain train’s comin’ baby! Woo-woo!”

4. E*Trade – Baby (2008)

Marketing investment banking IT to consumers requires real outside the box thinking. Cute and funny talking baby demonstrating ease of use? Genius.

3. EDS – Cat Herding (2000)

Herding cats is no easy feat – and neither is differentiating yourself as a tech company during the dot-com boom. EDS manages to do both in this hilarious commercial from 2000.

2. Old Spice – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (2010)

The targeting, directing, and execution of this ad was phenomenal. How can a men’s body wash ad, targeted at women, be genius you ask? This ad was online-only during the Super Bowl to target the less football-focused female demographic, while the guys gathered around the TV. Old Spice speaks to the female viewer with visual tricks and hilarity. The result? A blockbuster ad campaign. Guys want the body wash girls like best.

1. Apple –1984 (1984)

Possibly the greatest ad of all time. Apple uses the Orwellian classic to symbolize the launch of the first Macintosh. Apple is the runner, the Mac is the hammer, and dystopian figure on screen is IBM. This ad was a turning point in advertising history.


The final 30

It all began as an opportunity to reach a large audience 50 years ago. Since then, Super Bowl ads have evolved into the biggest showcase of marketing muscle in the world. The above is just a glimpse of the hundreds of ads, often ahead of their time, that make up an impressive portfolio of innovation in advertising.

Scattered list, wha? The mindset held by Super Bowl advertisers – innovative, customer-centric, fun – is one we share here at Dc. We draw inspiration from content like this. Like what you see? Get in touch and we’ll turn your next big thing into hotline bling.

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