The Super Bowl is more than a sporting event. It’s a celebration of American pop culture. And for better or worse, consumerism is a big part of that.
On the first Sunday of every February, everyone and their mother (literally) sits down and watches the Super Bowl. Whether or not you’re a football fan or bet on sports in America, the game is a big social event.
• The 1980 Mean Joe Green ad is one of Coca Cola’s most popular
• Old Spice transformed their company with a 2010 ad
• Cindy Crawford starred in a Pepsi ad in 1992
It’s about stuffing your face with triumphant amounts of fattening foods, bantering with your friends and family until you’re blue in the face, and waking up the next day with a booze/food hangover and the depressing knowledge that the NFL season is over.
The Super Bowl is about watching some of the most physically impressive men on Earth put their bodies on the line playing one of world’s greatest sports. And of course, it’s about watching great commercials.
Some funny, some sexy, and some just weird, these are the best Super Bowl commercials in history:
#1: The Sexiest: Cindy Crawford for Pepsi, 1992
Pepsi tastes like fermented cat urine with a dash of Worcestershire, but when Cindy Crawford pushed a product, people bought it. Combine Cindy in her prime with a cool car and clever joke (the boys are ogling the new Pepsi can design, not the gorgeous supermodel drinking it!), and you’ve got a classic Super Bowl ad.
#2: Crude satire: Terry Tate Office Linebacker, 2003
The Terry Tate ads for Reebok were just plain weird, featuring a musclebound linebacker hired to maintain discipline around the office for the fictional company “Felcher and Sons.”
While Terry was a brilliant character in his own right, this ad was great because it parodied both the NFL and the stultifying atmosphere of corporate America. We could see our fantasy world (the NFL) collide with real life in a hilarious way.
#3: Poking fun at old ladies: Betty White for Snickers, 2010
Let’s face it. We all get a laugh out of seeing elderly women in awkward and unexpected situations, and this Snickers ad gave it to us. “You aren’t you when you’re hungry,” the slogan goes. Apparently, you’re Betty White of the hit TV series Golden Girls.
#4: The start of something big: Old Spice, 2010
Old Spice used to be a run-of-the-mill deodorant mostly popular with men from the World War II generation. That all changed in 2010 with the launch of “The man your man could smell like,” a hilarious ad designed to capture the female audience.
The ad was one of the first to go viral, gaining so much popularity that Old Spice launched an entire series of related ads, including several featuring popular comedian and former NFL player Terry Crews. Old Spice is now the most popular deodorant with men under 30, and it’s due to brilliant marketing.
#5: Cute kid+Star Wars=Winner: Volkswagen, 2014
“The Force” was voted the best ad of 2014 by several media outlets, and it’s not hard to see why. We saw an adorable kid dressed up in a Darth Vader costume, going around the house…What’s that? We had you at “Darth Vader”?
This ad was great because it appealed to everyone; parents, Star Wars geeks, kids, and anyone with a sense of humor whatsoever.
#6: Unsettlingly memorable: Monster, 1999
Monster’s 1999 ad “When I Grow Up” caught a lot of people off guard. Coming out while the internet was still growing and mobile betting was a few years away, most viewers didn’t know what an internet job board was at the time.
The ad featured a bunch of creepy-looking kids telling us what they wanted to do when they grew up: “be replaced on a whim,” “be a yes man,” “have a brown nose.”
Amplifying the ads gloominess was the fact that it was done in black and white. Well, hopefully Monster has saved a lot of people from such a fate.
#7: Just plain awesome: MJ and Larry Bird for McDonald’s, 1993
Basketball superstars Michael Jordan and Larry Bird teamed up with McDonald’s to inspire the next generation of obese children in America. All cheekiness aside, the ad was brilliant. Larry is honing his skills when Michael shows up clutching a McDonald’s bag.
“I’ll play you for it,” says Larry. And “The Showdown” is on. The first player to miss gets to watch the other eat, which of course never happens. Maybe that Big Mac was eaten eventually.
#8: The Classic: “Mean Joe Green” for Coca Cola, 1980
Mean Joe was a fearsome defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 1970s and 1980s, but he had loads of charm off the football field.
An injured Joe limped off the field, where a young Steelers fan offers him his coke. Joe gulps it down in one go, then gives the kid his jersey as a thank you. This ad has warmed peoples’ hearts for more than three decades.