Last year 111.5 million people watched the Super Bowl, reported Nielsen. That was more than 53 million homes tuning in. And it wasn’t just for the big game!
For many viewers, the commercials are just as much a reason to watch as the competition itself. After all, with a 30-second spot estimated to cost $4 million, you should be getting the best of the best from brand marketers.
These commercials are particularly interesting for those of us in the content and media industries Which were the winning spots and which commercials flopped? What content produced the most attention on social media? Which left a lasting impression?
As we all wait to see what advertisers will delight us with this year, let’s take a look back at some of the best commercials from Super Bowls of the past. Any you think should be added?
Cute kid, burly football player, a Coke and a sweaty jersey. I wasn’t even alive when this commercial first aired in 1979, but I’ve seen it, and so have many generations. It’s a true icon of evergreen content.
2. Apple 1984
Another throw-back classic is the Apple 1984 commercial introducing Macintosh and the start of the Apple era. Long before likes and tweets, this one made for sizzling talk around the water cooler.
3. Nothing but Net
Appropriately titled “The Showdown,” 1993 brought us Jordan and Bird playing Horse for a Big Mac. By the end they are making baskets off buildings and over expressways, each time getting “nothing but net.”
4. Budweiser Frogs
Budweiser is a Super Bowl commercial powerhouse, producing countless memorable ads, many of them focusing on content and heartstrings rather than hardcore advertising messages. If you were born before 1990, you are sure to remember the Budweiser frogs. So simple and so effective.
5. Man’s Best Friend
Doritos has put out many memorable commercials during the big game, but one of my favorites aired during Super Bowl XLVI. It features a dog that bribes his owner after he is caught burying the family cat.
6. Young Darth
A young Darth relentlessly practices using “the force” to no avail until Dad comes home with his Volkswagen and he suddenly succeeds at turning on the car. Adorable!
7. FedEx Dedication
He was trapped on a desert island for 5 years and finally was able to deliver a package only to find out that it contained a satellite phone, GPS locator, water purifier and more.
8. When I Grow Up
In just 30 seconds, Monster.com makes us take a step back and think about why so many people settle at their jobs. “When I grow up, I want to file all day,” says the first youngster.
9. Budweiser Donkey
This commercial follows an optimistic young donkey as he pursues his big dream to become a legendary Clydesdale – and succeeds.
10. Ram trucks farmer
Radio broadcaster Paul Harvey’s famous “God Made a Farmer” speech is paired with all-American images for a touching result that has been shared 1.89 million times on social media.
Bonus: Clydesdale’s 9/11 tribute
Budweiser proves it’s not all about laughs or being clever in what is one of my personal favorites of all time. It was a beautiful tribute to 9/11 and only aired once, so as not to financially benefit the company. It’s estimated to have been shared 3.34 million times on social networks and blogs.