Why do brands, year after year, spend upwards of $3.5 million on a 30-second Super Bowl spot? Because with those 30 seconds in the spotlight comes media coverage, instant social media buzz – sometimes positive, sometimes negative – and weeks of viral chatter. And for the brands that really do it right, those weeks can turn into years. So which spots have remained ingrained in our minds and hearts?
We polled our team. What was their favorite Super Bowl ad of all time? Most were different, but each was quickly recalled and ardently defended. Despite a legion of Apple devotees no one picked 1984. We have a number of sports-themed spots but our coke drinkers ignored Mean Joe Greene. Or even the iconic Bud Bowl, created by our own Grant Pace. Here’s what they said:
Google’s “Parisian Love” The storytelling completely captured me. At the end, my two other roommates and myself all let out a simultaneous “Awwww.” –Jenna
FedEx Caveman A balance between simplicity and complexity, comedic folly and best intentions, a cliché play but totally original. –Daniel
Reebok’s Terry Tate “Official Linebaker” Still kills me every time I see it. It’s a relatively light touch on branding, geared towards driving views to episodes at reebok.com. It was memorable and infinitely quotable, plus there was a thematic tie-in to the big game. –Steve
It’s hilarious. And extremely well written. –Jeff
It simply made me laugh hysterically. When I first saw this commercial I thought to myself, “Our office could totally use an Office Linebacker!” –Will
FedEx Kinkos I love this one. It shows a great way to do smart comedy through parody. –Jack
Volkswagen Beetle It was unique, visually so fun, and cute! Also loved how they integrated digital and extended the life of the campaign by showing outtakes, additional clips, how it was made, etc., on YouTube. –Laura
Pepsi: Refresh Anthem It’s an interesting, never before produced idea and I love the historical aspects. A lot of kids watch the Super Bowl with their parents, so it seems like a good way to bridge the gap between the two generations. –Abby
Doritos Pug Attack It’s not the Super Bowl without funny ads. I’ve done a lot of comedy writing/performing, so this is a classic case of “set-up and pay-off,” only the pay-off is not quite what you’d expect. Plus, who doesn’t love a dog video? –Abby (she picked two)
NFL “Best Fans Ever” It’s hard to rival – pop culture icons from 19 shows, spanning over 40 years, all speaking passionately about the product, all in 60 seconds. It combines unexpected content in such a unique way to entertain, deliver for the brand and leave the viewer wanting more. –Kelly
Coca Cola’s polar bear ads This year’s ads look preeeetty awesome. –Alan
“When I Grow Up” Monster Super Bowl ads don’t normally hit the trifecta: entertain, brand and sell. Most people can’t even recall the product in most Super Bowl spots. This was advertising at its most brilliant. –Brian
Betty White Snickers The best ads are simple, funny and memorable. You spend 20 seconds wondering where they are going with Betty White playing tackle football in the mud. I laughed out loud when Abe Vigoda gets sacked. That’s good casting and good writing. –Mark B.
Because I absolutely adore her! Perfectly cast, and hilarious. –Jacque
Not only did this ad reinvigorate 88-year-old Betty White’s career, but it positioned Snickers as a company that could have a little fun. –Courtney
The 2002 Tribute to the victims of Sept. 11. Timely, emotional, memorable. Forever a reminder of how our lives changed that day. –Fred
Coca Cola It’s Mine Taking something as classic as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and Coca Cola to tell the story. And who doesn’t want Charlie to win? –Selena
We’re Going to Disney World It has cemented the Disney theme park brand as THE place where the most famous, happening people want to go on vacation. –Mark F.
VW The Force Like this little Darth Vader, I too pretend that I have the force (especially when I go through automatic doors). The subtle reactions the little kid had and the imperial march music, added a sentimental value that brought a smile to my face. –Andrew
E*Trade “Enzo the Tailor” Who doesn’t love a witty talking toddler? Actually, I think a lot of people find these ads annoying but they crack me up every time. Plus, the use of humor to communicate portfolio management effectively presents E*Trade as an approachable solution. –Alex
McDonald’s: the Showdown Golden age of NBA. Jordan & Bird. Quoted on playgrounds everywhere. “Off the expressway, over the river, off the billboard, through the window, off the wall – nothin’ but net.” –Todd