Top 50: Best Super Bowl Commercials (of All-Time)

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40. Doritos Casket

Joining the Audi “Green Police” and the Old Spice “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” promotions from Super Bowl XLIV, the Doritos “Casket” commercial is one of our favorites just for the sheer absurdity of it all. Some of the most creative people in the world are advertisers, and that is evidenced by the concept behind this funny spot. We join mourners at a funeral, one of whom is an attractive young lady who states, “At least he got his dying wish.” The deceased’s buddies, however, know the truth. Inside the casket, we see a man covered head-to-foot in Doritos while watching the game and chowing down. “He should be off from work for at least a week.” The payoff is the funniest part.

39. Doritos Pug Attack

Another one from Super Bowl XLV – Packers win. First off let’s just say good luck getting much cuter than an adorable Chinese Pug. Doritos tapped in to that using the jackass boyfriend, who wants to play a cruel joke on poor pug-dog by tricking him to run toward the chip, unaware there’s a glass door separating him from the prize. Luckily, pug-dog’s enthusiasm wins out in the end. Every time we see this one, it busts us up.

38. Doritos Ninja

Hmm, the Dorito as throwing star. We would have never thought it possible until laying eyes on this priceless commercial from the 2010 Super Bowl. Doritos was on a bit of a roll that year. While Drew Brees was taking it to the Colts defense, Doritos was piling on the laughs with this as well as the Doritos “Casket” piece, also featured on this list. In “Ninja,” a couple of the guys at the gym are talking. One is eating a bag of Doritos. He offers a chip to the other guy, but things take a comically frightening turn for the duo when the truth is revealed about where the bag of cheesy chips come from.

37. Atari 5200 Super-System

When this ad aired during the Washington Redskins-Miami Dolphins contest at Super Bowl XVII (the ‘Skins won), there wasn’t a child nor “Judy”-dating adult in the nation that didn’t want to jump on the joystick. While the graphics today don’t offer much to a nation of kids and young adults spoiled to Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops, they were cutting edge in those days, and this spot offers a direct window into the joy this “new” system brought with it. Featuring a nice variety of titles, a swinging early ‘80s apartment, and a reminder not to forsake the personal relationships in one’s life for the love of the game, this nostalgic package celebrates the fun of gaming in a way that makes us want to go out and find an old 5200 system. P.S. Good luck with that.

36. Doritos Mouse Trap

It may be a tad creepy and violent, but we can’t help liking the Doritos Mouse Trap commercial from Super Bowl XLII. As football fans will remember this was when the underdog New York Giants dethroned the New England Patriots from their unbeaten status in the closing moments of the contest. In keeping with that underdog motif, Doritos crafted an idea they would revisit with the Pug-Dog commercial – also on this list. A guy is out to catch a mouse in his apartment. He uses a Dorito chip instead of the usual hunk of cheese. He waits for a time before getting an unexpected and painful surprise.

35. GoDaddy.com Wardrobe Malfunction

Former WWE wrestler Candice Michelle lived a double-life in 2005 as the company’s GoDaddy Girl. She debuted at Super Bowl XXXIX – Patriots win – taking a break from her duties inside the squared circle to pimp the Internet brand. As GoDaddy Girl, Candice had a real problem keeping her clothes on, and it resulted in one of the most controversial commercials the Super Bowl ever hosted. But it also cemented the company’s name as a go-to source for website hosting, and the GoDaddy Girl phenomena has since incorporated fitness trainer Jillian Michaels and race car driver Danica Patrick into the mix. What makes this ad work so well is that GoDaddy promised a “too hot for TV” version over at their website. Few Super Bowl commercials are able to effectively squeeze in the call-to-action. We can’t think of any better way than to do it in front of 86 million viewers, the majority of whom are men.

34. United Way Madden Looks Back

At Super Bowl XVIII (1984), the Raiders celebrated their recent move to Los Angeles with a dominant win over the Washington Redskins. On the advertising side, there was the ahead-of-its-time Apple 1984 commercial and there was this more straight forward spot that is no less effective. It features former Raiders coach John Madden giving a history lesson on the league’s involvement with the United Way and also shows snippets of past commercials that we’d completely forgotten about – ROCKY! The fascinating history includes the first ever United Way/NFL partnership commercial featuring Roger Staubach. The biggest draw, however, is in how genuine each player and coach seems in their interactions with the kids, particularly Madden at the end. It’s as if he forgets the camera is there and shows a side of himself that he never did when chasing referees along the sidelines during his career. This commercial was an important step in turning Madden from fierce coach to cuddly TV commentator.

33. IBM The Assistant Series

Getting all your ducks in a row has never been easier than with the IBM Assistant Series. Okay, so maybe it’s much easier these days than it was then. Nevertheless, this product featured in an ad during the 1985 Super Bowl – a 38-16 victory for the San Francisco 49ers over the Miami Dolphins – was a huge step forward in helping business and home computing grow more user friendly. The ad makes great use of archive footage featuring Charlie Chaplin and a flock of ducks as the Little Tramp tries to guide the pond-floaters in and out of a series of boxes that represent all the functions of the IBM Assistant Series (writing, graphing, filing, planning and reporting).

32. Budweiser Frogs

Bud. Weis. Er. With three simple words – just don’t try “Weis” on your Words with Friends opponents – Anheuser-Busch scored another memorable classic in the days before Internet memes. Cartoonist Steve Myerholtz did the initial rendering. Mark Choate, Michael Smith and David Swaine of DMB&B/St. Louis signed off on it, and then the frogs were translated to CGI and directed by Gore Verbinski of Pirates of the Caribbean fame. The commercial featured frogs Bud, Weis, and Er, chilling on the water as they stare up at the neon Budweiser sign. The little guys were a welcome distraction from what was otherwise a forgettable 49-26 victory for Joe Montana replacement Steve Young and the San Francisco 49ers over the San Diego Chargers.

31. Budweiser Whassup!?

The Budweiser “Whassup!?” campaign debuted in late 1999, but took pop culture by storm when it was seen in between plays at Super Bowl XXXIV – a St. Louis Rams victory for those of you keeping score – in early 2000. Featuring writer and director Charles Stone III and a number of his childhood friends greeting each other with the catchphrase, the original still manages to elicit laughter even 12 years removed from its first airing. It’s also one of the most decorated promotional campaigns of all time having won the Grand Clio Award and capturing the Cannes Grand Prix prize. In 2006, it entered the CLIO Hall of Fame and in 2008, it made a comeback with “Whassup 2008,” which took Favorite User Generated Video at the 35th Annual People’s Choice Awards.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aric MitchellMore from this Author

Aric Mitchell has dropped his rat pellets of knowledge all across the Internet. As a journalist, an educator, a businessman and an author, he has written about everything from city bored meetings (and he does mean bored) to horror stories, which share more in common than one might think. At any time of the day, Aric could be waxing philosophic about movies, books, Shark Tank, MMA and other men’s interests, or he could be working on his next horror novel.

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