Ah, the Super Bowl. Come for the football; stay for the ads that companies pay ridiculous amounts of money to air. The best Super Bowl commercials are a genre unto themselves. As one of the biggest sporting events of the year in the US, advertising companies scramble to squeeze their ads into expensive time slots during the game.
Just for reference, according to CBS, a 30-second ad spot cost as much as U.S$ 6.5 million in 2022. Reportedly, that was bumped up to $7 million in 2023.
To stand out, Super Bowl commercials often rope in the use of Hollywood stars, super-sized budgets and entertaining premises. Many dream of reaching memorable Super Bowl fame, so which are the ads we’ll remember forever?
11 of the best Super Bowl commercials of all time
Timothée Chalamet for Cadillac
Timothée Chalamet revived the Edward Scissorhands character for this iconic ad promoting Cadillac in 2021. Safe to say it stuck in most people’s minds.
Lil Nas X and Sam Elliott for Doritos
Doritos is another one of those brands that has a reputation for bringing out epic Super Bowl commercials. This cowboy off between Lil Nas X and Sam Elliott was a particularly fun one.
John Krasinski, Chris Evans, and Rachel Dratch for Hyundai Smart Park
Famous Boston accents promote Hyundai Smaht Pahk. Excellent.
Game of Thrones x Bud Light
Bud Light is known for its Super Bowl ads each year but the collaboration between beer and HBO’s Game of Thrones was a double-hitter. HBO set out to promote the final season of its hit TV show while Bud Light eagerly joined in with the iconic ‘hold my beer’ campaign. It’s a rare occasion to see a dragon in a beer ad, but that’s the Super Bowl for you.
Pepsi is another regular advertiser at the Super Bowl. One of the ads that gained the most attention was the 1992 commercial starring Cindy Crawford drinking a Pepsi. 26 years later, Pepsi brought Crawford back for its 2018 Super Bowl spot because crowds love their nostalgia.
The Milk Mustache campaign has had many a famous ad over the years. The campaign was started by the California Milk Processor Board to encourage the public to drink more milk. But its 2013 commercial literally brought out the big guns with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in the lead.
Old Spice x Tide
Tide launched a series of ads to promote its detergent products by inserting Stranger Things star David Harbour into the scene of famous commercials. The best of which had to be Harbour joining the iconic ‘Old Spice Man‘ for a spoof.
Everyone knows by now that if you’re hangry or having an off day, Snickers makes everything right. Snickers roped Betty White into this 2010 ad for the Super Bowl and even had the audacity to tackle her in the mud. Worth it for that Snickers bar right?
With her passing, this one feels especially special now.
Apple’s strange 1984 Super Bowl ad which riffed off George Orwell’s 1984 was one of the first instances of an ad going viral for the big game. It’s definitely a strange look at retro advertising.
VW bought into Star Wars territory for its 2011 Super Bowl commercial which follows a very small Sith Lord as they try to use the force around the house. It’s adorable and should particularly speak to Star Wars fans big and small.
One more to tug at your heartstrings. Budweiser put out an ad in 2014 for the Super Bowl highlighting the friendship between a way too cute puppy and its neighbour, the Clydesdale. It’s a story worthy of a Pixar film and we deserve more ads like this one.
This article has been updated since its original publish date.
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