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A Recap of the Most Successful Super Bowl Ads



Now that we have taken our first few steps into February, we are just in time for advertisers from all over the world’s favorite time of year: The Super Bowl. What better way to celebrate this year’s biggest game than with a recap of the most successful Super Bowl Ads!


When creating a commercial for the Super Bowl, there are a few things that brands need to keep in mind. The main objective of the ad is to make it memorable. After the game is over, people are going to be talking about their favorite commercials, so it is important that your brand’s ad is in that conversation. Brands also need to determine how they want their ad to appeal to consumers. Do they want to make people laugh? Cry? The most successful ads will impact consumers and leave them feeling some type of way.


A common theme in popular Super Bowl commercials is the use of celebrities. Over the past ten years, a little over a third of all Super Bowl ads have included a celebrity cameo or role. People love celebrities, and this is why brands utilize celebrities to capture the attention of consumers in Super Bowl commercials.


Here’s a recap of the most successful Super Bowl ads.


Early Showers – Coca Cola, 1980

This ad from Coca-Cola is arguably the best Super Bowl commercial of all time. The clip shows a worn-out Mean Joe Greene walking off the field when a kid hands him a bottle of Coca-Cola. After the football legend downs the entire bottle, he thanks the kid by throwing him a towel. Sounds like a simple, boring skit, but this commercial pulled at the heartstrings for many viewers. This commercial has also been remade numerous times with brands trying to repeat the original’s success. One of the many reasons it was successful is because it included an NFL great, Joe Greene, who many people were fascinated with at the time. It’s an interesting choice to use a football player in a commercial shown during the Super Bowl, but it worked. Many brands who decide to use a professional athlete in their ad will choose someone from a different sport. This commercial used a celebrity and emotional appeal, making it the best of all time.


“Where’s the Beef?” – Wendy’s, 1984

This commercial is one that the newer generation may not be familiar with, but it is an all-time classic. This clip shows three elderly women examining a cheeseburger from a competing fast-food chain. The burger has a huge bun and a tiny meat patty with one of the women asking, “Where’s the beef?” In this ad, Wendy’s appealed to comedy and used humor to depict that their burgers are better than their competitors. The slogan “Where’s the beef?” became so popular that it appeared on t-shirts, bumper stickers, hats, signs, and other items that people would buy. So if you ever hear someone use this catchphrase, now you know that it came from a very successful Wendy’s Super Bowl commercial.


“Betty White” – Snickers, 2010

When Betty White is in anything, people will watch. This Snickers’ Super Bowl commercial starring this beloved celebrity is the main reason the ad worked. This clip shows men playing some backyard football with Betty White as one of the receivers. She then gets tackled and her teammate says to her “Mike, you’re playing like Betty White out there” to which Betty responds with “That’s not what your girlfriend says.” Betty White then takes a bite of a Snickers bar and turns into the real Mike and gets back into the game. The ad closes with the famous Snickers’ tagline “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” This commercial is memorable because it was both hilarious and shocking. No one expected to ever see Betty White get tackled or be playing football in the first place. Betty White’s comical remarks are also what makes this commercial successful. This Snickers commercial is a great example of how brands can use well-liked celebrities to make their ads so much better. If the ad featured a random elderly woman, would it be as successful?


“Puppy Love” – Budweiser, 2014

Possibly the best way to catch the attention of consumers is with puppies. This Budweiser commercial features an adorable yellow lab puppy as well as a beautiful horse and focuses on their friendship. The ad shows the puppy sneaking into a horse stable and becoming friends with a horse. After the puppy is returned to its owner, we see the puppy coming back to the horse multiple times. When the puppy is put into a car that starts to drive away towards the kennel, the horse jumps over a fence, followed by more horses, to stop the car. The end of the commercial shows the puppy and horse playing together while the kennel owner and horsekeeper also form a relationship. Besides the cuteness-overload, this Super Bowl commercial stood out because it has an entire plotline, unlike most ads. It contains a story that has nothing to do with the product, which is very strategic considering this commercial is shown during the Super Bowl and people are actually paying attention to commercials.


“Loretta” – Google, 2020

Before watching Google’s “Loretta” Super Bowl commercial, make sure you have a box of tissues nearby. This ad depicts an elderly man speaking to his Google Assistant device and asking it to remember everything he loves about his wife because he is slowly losing his memory. The ad shows pictures and videos of memories of him and his wife through the years. Set with somber background music, this commercial pulled at the heartstrings of everyone watching. When creating a memorable commercial, appealing to people's emotions is one of the best ways to do it. It also had an incredibly powerful message behind it and inspired people to find love as he and his wife did. The commercial made everyone cry, and that is exactly what Google was going for.


“The Force” – Volkswagen, 2011

In this commercial from Volkswagen, we see a different type of approach for a Super Bowl ad. Paired with a cute kid, this ad uses references to Star Wars, which has millions of fans worldwide. The clip shows a little kid dressed in a Darth Vader costume walking around his house trying to turn things on with his “force.” When nothing seems to be working, he hears his dad pull up in a new Volkswagen, and instead of greeting his dad with a hug, he runs to the car and tries to turn it on with his force. His dad notices what his child is trying to do, so he uses the car’s remote to turn it on from inside the house, leaving the boy in shock as he just used his force to turn on the car. This commercial had all the right tools in making a memorable ad. It is both cute and funny, and well-liked by many consumers. Using a Star Wars reference is a great way to capture the attention of many viewers because it has such a huge fanbase of people from every generation. Even if you’ve never seen one Star Wars movie in your life, you have to admit this ad was pretty awesome.


If there is one thing all these Super Bowl ads have in common, it’s how they pull the viewer in and leave a lasting impact whether it’s laughter or sadness. There are so many other commercials that could have been included in this list, but these ones are among the most memorable thus far. The fact that some of these ads are from the 1980s shows the importance of making a memorable Super Bowl commercial because it could be talked about for decades to come.


The Super Bowl gives brands creative freedom to make amazing commercials, but many brands can also participate in the football festivities in other ways. There are a lot of events surrounding the Super Bowl, like pregame parties, viewing parties, and after-parties. Talent Resources, in collaboration with ABG Entertainment will host this year’s Sports Illustrated Super Bowl Party the day before the big game on Saturday, February 12, 2022, at Century Park in Los Angeles, CA. It will kick off at 9 pm and it’s expected to be an unforgettable night thanks to the exciting musical performances by Kygo, Jack Harlow, Frank Walker, David Solomon, and DJ Irie. You wouldn’t want to miss this! For more information and to purchase tickets or tables, visit SITHEPARTY.COM, powered by SI Tix.