After the New Year celebrations have ended, Americans set their sights on the nation’s penultimate sporting event of the year: the Super Bowl. While the game takes center stage, the time-honored tradition of watching the infamous “commercials” has become a sport in itself. Through the years, Super Bowl advertising has evolved into a cultural sensation, keeping the country’s top marketing and advertising juggernauts vying for the top campaigns.
Some of the most memorable ads have come from companies like Doritos and Budweiser. Both companies continue to debut new commercials during the game’s telecast. But just as well, advertising has also spurned controversy –such as the ad by Focus on the Family featuring Tim Tebow and his mother Pam, or Coca-Cola’s “It’s Beautiful” campaign which debuted just last year. Controversial or not, the broadcast attracts potential ads from a spectrum of companies at million dollar price tags.
Super Bowl XLIX will surely have its own roster of spots that will feature everything from the funny to the “wow” factor, the serious to the controversial. There will surely be something for everyone.
Of the plethora of commercials that have made their way to the Super Bowl “stage” through the years, which ones have made your list of favorites? Being the consummate consumer that I am (not to mention a working member of the marketing world), here are my personal top 5 Super Bowl commercials of all time:
- “The Force” by Volkswagen
(From vw.com’s YouTube page)
I may not be a die-hard Star Wars fan, but the movie has been imbedded in my mind since I was a kid. Similarly, Volkswagen has made a name for itself in part by their memorable ad spots on television (Think Da Da Da…). The Force is one witty commercial, and it instantly became a highly talked-about campaign. More importantly, though, it tugged at the heartstrings of parents everywhere.
- “Make Love, Not War” by Axe Peace
(From Axe’s YouTube page)
So –I’m not usually moved by Axe’s hyper-sexualized commercials, which tend to border ridiculousness more than anything else. But this commercial from 2014 was a cinematic feat. They took a simple message, and turned it into a moving piece.
- “Castaway Delivery Man” by FedEx
(From The Ad Show’s YouTube page)
This hilarious commercial rode the coattails of the film Castaway, which starred Tom Hanks. Enough said.
- “Mean Joe Green” by Coca-Cola
(From stiggerpao’s YouTube page)
I clearly don’t remember when this commercial originally aired in ’79, but it was re-played during subsequent telecasts. It’s classic theme of a kid being wowed by his idol has such a feel-good sense to it. And at the most basic level, it reminds me of my childhood. (Totally dating myself here.)
- “America is Beautiful” by Coca-Cola
(From Coca-Cola’s YouTube page)
This one was a more serious ad from last year’s game, and it surprisingly came with much controversy. Controversy aside, it resonated well with me for obvious reasons: I am an American born from immigrant parents. Coca-Cola’s #AmericaIsBeautiful campaign aimed to highlight the beauty in diversity of the people who call America “home.”
It’s plain to see that I am one that teeters between ads that tug at my heart-strings, and those that make me laugh… probably no different than most. As I mentioned earlier, there is an ad for everyone. Let’s see what Super Bowl XLIX has up its sleeve. Let the advertising game begin!