Super Bowl Ads: All-Time Classic COmmercials From Years Past

Audrey Guskey | 5 min read

Feb 4, 2021 | Trending | 0 comments

Is it worth $5.6 million for 30 seconds to advertise in the Super Bowl?  ABSOLUTELY!  Over 120 million viewers in the U.S. and 1 billion worldwide are expected to be watching. That’s over $168,333 per second – about 4 cents to reach each viewer.  In the 55 years of Super Bowl ads, over $5.4 billion has been spent!  So what are the all-time classic Super Bowl ads?

1984: Apple Macintosh

The Super Bowl advertising hype all began in 1984, when Apple Computer launched its Macintosh computer with the commercial “1984”.  This commercial is considered to be one of the most powerful and effective ads of all time.  The ad featured a woman throwing a sledgehammer through a screen on which a Big Brother-like figure preaches about the unification of thought.  This brought in a new era for Apple, consumer technology, and advertising.  The ad was only shown once and was over a minute long, but after the ad ran, Apple sold $3.5 million worth of Macintoshes.  Now that’s a successful Super Bowl ad.!

1980: Hey Kid! Catch! Coke

The nation’s all-time favorite is Pittsburgh Steeler’s defensive tackle Mean Joe Green chugging Coke and throwing his jersey to the kid.    The commercial was aired during Super Bowl XIV in 1980. The 60-second commercial won a Clio Award for being one of the best television commercials of 1979.  It was part of the “Have a Coke and smile!” campaign.  After Mean Joe gulps the Coke, he not only gives the fellow his game jersey, but he gives America a smile. See the commercial on YouTube.

1995 Budweiser Croaking Frogs  

And what about the Budweiser Frogs named “Bud”, “Weis”, and “Er”, who began appearing for Budweiser beer during Super Bowl in 1995?  Adweek called it one of the “most iconic alcohol campaigns in advertising history.” The scene was in a swamp at night, and Bud the frog rhythmically croaked his name. Then his buddies Weis and Er join in croaking randomly then in sequence, thus forming the Budweiser name. See the classic commercial here. Sadly for the first time in 37 years, there will be no frogs, dogs or Clydesdale horses in Super Bowl LV – no Bud beer commercials. 

1992 Diet Pepsi Introduces New Can. 

In 1992 Cindy Crawford brought sex to Super Bowl ads with the famous Diet Pepsi.  Cindy, driving a Lamborghini, pulls up to a gas station in a tank top and cutoff jean shorts. She buys a Diet Pepsi from a vending machine as two young boys longingly watch from the other side of a fence, allegedly mesmerized by the soda’s beautiful new can design.  Just one look – it’s beautiful! See the commercial here.

1993 McDonald’s The Showdown. 

You gotta love The McDonald’s The Showdown Super Bowl ad from 1993 where Larry Bird challenges Michael Jordan to a friendly shooting contest for a Big Mac, but the basketball hall-of-famers keep raising the stakes. Off the wall, off the floor, off the rafters, nothing but net…..  Off the expressway, over the river, through the window, nothing but net. See the commercial here.

What’s it Take for a Super Bowl Ad to Become a Classic?  Will this year’s Super Bowl ads have the magic of the past?  We will just have to wait and see.  Here are my 7 C’s of Classic Super Bowl Commercials:  they need to feature Clever twists, include Celebrities, show stylish Cars, highlight Cute babies, sponsor Contests, parade Critters, and shock with Controversy

Let the game (the ad game that is) begin! 

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