We’re less than a month out from the annual Super Bowl. Bringing a star-studded line-up of half-time acts, guests and more importantly NFL players to the world stage, 2021 will see the highly-anticipated event held in Tampa, Florida. While millions of fans will be glued to the screen on Sunday to watch the best-of-the-best in football, that is not all that lures people into the event.
Other than the half-time show – this year featuring The Weeknd – it is the epic Super Bowl advertising that creates headlines of its own. In the US alone, 100 million people are expected to watch the game, meaning big brands will cash in with high-production commercials.
Featuring A-lister cameos and genius scripts, it is not uncommon to witness the weird, wonderful and plain masterful. With teasers from advertiser slowly being shared as we gear up for 2021, we though we’d look back at the 10 most iconic Super Bowl ads of all-time.
ALEXA LOOSES HER VOICE – 2018
Starting with the most recent, the Amazon ‘Alexa Looses Her Voice’ commercial is a perfect example of what lengths corporations will go to for great advertising. Clever, humorous and relatable to users of the voice-activated assistant, the commercial features cameos from the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Rebel Wilson, Cardi B, Sir Anthony Hopkins and even CEO Jeff Bezos, and quite frankly, I’m ready to watch it again.
old spice – 2010
Eight years on and I can still recall the entire script. While selling body wash is no easy task, Old Spice hit the nail on the head in a short 30 second commercial. Just add in a charming, buff guy, some clever production and you’ve got yourself an advertisement that would continue to air on television across the globe – and still work.
Snickers x Betty White – 2010
Also premiered in the same year, Betty White’s cameo in a Snickers ad ultimately sparked a major comeback for the humble chocolate bar. Giving birth to the, “You’re not you when you’re hungry” slogan, the format is still used to this day, with appearances from the likes of Mr Bean and Willem Dafoe.
REEBOK: TERRY TATE OFFICE LINEBACKER – 2003
Based on a short film pilot created in 2000, Reebok commissioned former American football player Lester Speight to play Office Linebacker, “Terry Tate”. Hired by an office firm to call out slack workers, it is the unexpected commercial everyone was after. The original is almost four minutes long, and is guaranteed to make you laugh.
BUDWEISER “WASSUP” – 1999
Budweiser without a doubt produces some of the best Super Bowl commercials, but this would have to be the most iconic. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the “Wassup” commercial made the catchphrase and its tone famous.
MCDONALD’S “THE SHOWDOWN” – 1993
What do you get when you match basketball icons Michael Jordan and Larry Bird on the same court? Other than legendary sport, the greatest McDonald’s commercial of all time. Facing off in a shoot out, the winner will score Jordan’s Big Mac. We still don’t know who won and suddenly, I’m craving one.
nike: michael jordan x bugs bunny – 1992
Once again, Michael Jordan features in another great ad. Before the birth of Space Jam in 1996, was this Super Bowl commercial and funnily enough was the pinnacle of technological advancement in television at the time, combining animation and live-action. Teaming two icons in their own fields, the commercial was used to promote the collaboration between Nike and Jordan which has continued to be a coveted sneaker.
pepsi: cindy crawford – 1992
Pepsi commercials have always turned heads and this classic 1992 rendition is one that sees adaptions to this day. Starring a young Cindy Crawford, the lighthearted ad not only promotes the beloved new-look soft drink but also perceives the innocence of young boys. Wait for the tag line.
apple mackintosh – 1984
It is hard to believe that the first Apple computer was its clunky 1984 Mackintosh. Entering the technology sphere for the first time, it was important for Apple to come in with a bang – and so they did. Bringing on award-winning director Ridley Scott to conceive the advert, “1984” is based upon George Orwell’s dystopian novel and reassures viewers that Apple’s new technology would be used for freedom, not control. Who would have thought that the company would become as powerful as it has in 2019.
coca-cola: mean joe greene – 1979
Last but not least, Mean Joe Greene’s appearance in the 1979 Super Bowl commercial for Coca-Cola is one to go down in history. Simple but incredibly influential, the ad depicts a young fan as he hands a coke to the notoriously mean player who in turn changes his tune, playing on its old-school tag line “Have a Coke and Smile”.