1. TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users. Ask a question and give support. Join the community here.
    TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users.
    Ask a question and give support.
    Join the community here, it only takes a minute.
    Dismiss Notice

Looking back at 10 legendary Super Bowl commercials

By Julio Franco ยท 9 replies
Feb 5, 2017
Post New Reply
  1. If you're a fan of the Atlanta Falcons or New England Patriots, you're psyched your team made it to the Super Bowl and will lose your mind with joy if your side wins. But even if it doesn't, the Super Bowl is about the party, the trash-talking with friends and family, and — of course — the commercials.

    Advertisers know there is no bigger spotlight for their product or service than the Super Bowl; it's frequently the most-watched television broadcast each year. Nearly $5 billion has been spent on advertising in the first 51 years of the game, according to Ad Age. Last year, more than 111 million people watched the game, and advertisers spent about $4.8 million per 30-second commercial.

    Read on for 10 of the most successful Super Bowl commercials of all time, and a discussion of whether these ads actually get you to buy stuff.

    "Where's the Beef?"

    The Wendy's ad from the 1980s with the little old ladies inspired everybody to start asking that question — and not just when referring to fast food.


    Who doesn't remember when Apple introduced the Macintosh computer at the Super Bowl in 1984. The theme of the commercial came straight out of the George Orwell novel 1984. Not only did it introduce a new concept for the home computer, the one minute mini-movie — directed by big-name director Ridley Scott — broke new ground for Super Bowl commercials.

    Volkswagen's "The Force" commercial became the most-shared Super Bowl ad ever.

    "The Force"

    Volkswagen's "The Force" commercial aired on YouTube days prior to the game in 2011. It featured the heartwarming story of a young boy, a would-be Darth Vader, who couldn't quite get the hang of using "the Force." But with persistence, the help of a Volkswagen, and his dad, the boy claims victory. The ad became the most-shared Super Bowl commercial ever.

    "Hey Kid, Catch!"

    Then there was this 1979 Clio-Award-winning Coca-Cola ad. "Hey Kid, Catch!" starred the Steelers' "Mean" Joe Greene and the adorable kid who gave him a Coke.

    "The Showdown"

    One ad that had everybody talking was the "The Showdown," with basketball legends Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. The 1993 ad showed the two having an epic basketball battle for a McDonald's lunch.

    These 5 long-running ad campaigns

    Then there have been the continuing commercials. For a time, it was the Budweiser Frogs, the Bud Bowl, the Clydesdales, Spuds MacKenzie (the dog you loved or hated), and Doritos' Crash the Super Bowl competition, among others.

    Do Super Bowl ads actually get you to buy things?

    The ads are a much-observed meter for what's hot at the moment, and sometimes achieve iconic status. But at nearly $5 million a pop -- just to purchase the airtime, not counting production costs -- are they actually worth the investment?

    "When you consider the total benefit across a brand's paid, earned, and owned media, the numbers work," says Scott R. Hamula, associate professor, department chair, and director of the Integrated Marketing Communications Program at the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College.

    'How many of those Super Bowl ads are so overproduced that they forget to actually sell something or tell you why you should buy it?' Furthermore, he says the quality of the audience is exceptional — they are very attentive to the commercials. "One study shows that more than half of the audience watches the Super Bowl more for the ads than the game itself."

    Hamula also notes that buying a Super Bowl ad means days of speculation and attention leading up to the event, and increased traffic as companies post the ads on their own websites and social media channels. But does all this translate to sales? "Advertisers keep this type of information close to the vest, so we don't know how many Snickers candy bars or bags of Doritos were sold as a direct result of their Super Bowl advertising," Hamula says.

    Robert Barrows, president of R.M. Barrows, Inc. Advertising & Public Relations, expresses concerns about some ads' effectiveness. "If you're going to spend $5 million the ads better sell something!" he says. "Yet, how many of those Super Bowl ads are so overproduced that they forget to actually sell something or tell you why you should buy it?"

    But there are clearly many success stories. "Just look at Sonos," says Gene Keenan, a co-founder of Decibel Advertising. "They doubled their sales the year they did a single TV spot during the Super Bowl — proving that massive reach tools work very well. "The Super Bowl is one of the last true mass reach media vehicles left in a buyer's toolbox," he adds.

    Sheryl Nance-Nash is a contributing writer at dealnews. Republished with permission.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Lurker101

    Lurker101 TS Evangelist Posts: 850   +386

    Slow tech news day?
    EClyde likes this.
  3. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    It's the weekend and tech is taking a little break. Weekends were invented and designed for sports, one of humankind's better ideas. Not that I know anything about this adaptation of the proper game of rugby which is a wonderful sport enjoyed by millions of people all across the globe. One thing for sure though, if was an American brought up in America, I too would have the fever and be going crazy for this event because I would understand the game and follow it, like I do with most sports played on this side of the Atlantic... and with a measure of tech thrown in as well.
    P.S. I think the purpose of the article was to get us to look at the commercials.
  4. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,460   +1,034

  5. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,833   +678

    Words that mean nothing: legendary, iconic and aging (this, that and the other thing).
    Kibaruk likes this.
  6. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing - click on the rock below.. Posts: 4,067   +1,190

    Yet still a celebration.
  7. USAvenger

    USAvenger TS Booster Posts: 89   +90

    I'm just here enjoying my nice, cold glass of Failcons Choke.
    EClyde likes this.
  8. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,966   +1,230

    This is another reason I stopped watching the Super Bowl. It's not about the game anymore.
    It's more about the pre/post "celeb" parties, the commercials, the halftime show. Professional
    sports isn't sports...it's just a business.
    EClyde likes this.
  9. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,833   +678

    I am not sure why I stopped. It could be that the announcers are just SO bad...WHAT A (fill in the blank) and they are political as well. What I have done for the past several years is tune in late in case there is going to be a hero or a goat. I watched the 4th quarter last night via DVR. Very happy Brady shoved it up all their arses
    p51d007 likes this.
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,972   +4,009

    All those Superbowl commercials simply couldn't hold a match to this:

    (You'll get that opening line in a few short seconds).


Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...