13 of the Best Classic Super Bowl Commercials Ever!

Clydesdales and football field collage
Getty Images/Bob Riha, Jr.

Are you ready for some commercials?! For those not into the actual sport of football, there are always the commercials that companies put big marketing dollars into for their products. This year is a record $7 MILLION for a 30-second spot; 20 years ago, it was $2.2 million. Both make the meager $37k price tag in 1967 not so bad. Of course, some corporations may have bigger dollar spends than others, as you will see in our countdown below. Some of the most endearing ad campaigns were from one singular brand.

Coca-Cola: “Hilltop” (1971)

In a message to bring hope, peace and love to the world, Coca-Cola Corp gathered a group of young people from all different ethnicities asking if they could buy the world a Coke and keep good company. The song was originally a radio hit in the U.K., but Coke turned it into the perfect jingle for them. In 1990, they released a new version of the commercial, and fans of Mad Men may know it is Don Draper’s supposed final project.

Xerox: “Monks” (1977)

Cutting edge for its time and said to be one of the first viral ads. Xerox brought back Brother Dominic for a 40th-anniversary spot in 2017.

Coca-Cola: “Hey Kid, Catch!”  (1980)

While the commercial starring “Mean” Joe Greene, defensive tackle the Pittsburgh Steelers, originally aired in October of 1979, it was rebroadcast during the 1980 Super Bowl matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Los Angeles Rams. Spoiler alert: The Steelers crushed the Rams for the win.

Wendy’s: “Where’s the Beef?” (1984)

When three little old ladies encounter a massive hamburger bun with little to no beef, it begs the question, “Where’s the beef?” It made a phenomenon of the unknown 80-year-old Clara Peller and launched her into a very short-term star, but the question was a common catchphrase that all of America asked throughout the decade.

Apple/Macintosh: “1984” (1984)

Who could forget this Ridley Scott-directed nod to the memorable George Orwell novel 1984? It aired only once and hyped that the world of personal computing was about to change. Since the launch of Macintosh, Apple has taken over the world.

Bud Light: “Party Animal” Spuds McKenzie (1987)

Spuds MacKenzie, the original party animal, along with Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous host Robin Leach, was as cheesy as it got in the ’80s, but not without controversy. Lawmakers thought it was advertising toward children, and the dog portrayed to be a male was rumored to be a female. So poor old Spuds was killed off even though he helped raise profits 20%. Gone but not forgotten, he returned as a ghost dog in a Budweiser 2017 Super Bowl commercial.

Pepsi: Cindy Crawford (1992)

Cindy Crawford pulls up to a gas station in a Lamborghini and gets out to go buy a Pepsi from a vending machine as two boys stare over in awe of the new Pepsi can. Yep, that’s totally what they were eyeing up. It was such a hit that Pepsi brought back Cindy for a diet version in 2002 and again in 2018.

Nike: “Hare Jordan” (1992)

Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny team up for the first time. Did you know it was this commercial that started the Space Jam movie?

McDonald’s: “The Showdown” (1993)

Basketball greats Michael Jordan and Larry Bird get into an epic match of H-O-R-S-E for the prize of Jordan’s Big Mac. There was never really a winner since they were equally matched.

The Budweiser Frogs (1995)

Another animal ad campaign from Budweiser came rabbiting into pop culture status in 1995. The premise was simple: Three frogs croaking out “Bud” “Wiser” “Er” in a swamp. It was an instant hit and has been named one of the most iconic alcohol ad campaigns, as well as one of the best Super Bowl ads ever. Other swamp creatures started to show up and eventually, in the late ’90s, some snarky chameleons took their place.

Budweiser: “Football” (1996)

Of course, we can’t have a Super Bowl commercial countdown without having the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales. While they first started appearing in the late ’80s, it was the 1996 commercial that really put them on the map. They are still a very beloved favorite of the Super Bowl commercials empire.

Budweiser: “Whassup?” (1999)

Yet another Budweiser entry, this one may not be the best, but certainly memorable as it had everyone screaming to each other, “Whassup!”

Honorable Mention

Snickers: ”Playing Like Betty White” (2010)

Betty White, do we need to say any more?

What is your favorite? Did we miss any? Looking forward to them this year? Let us know in the comments.

Watch the CBS special Super Bowl Greatest Commercials tonight, February 9, 2024 at 8 pm ET. You can tune in to Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday, Feb. 11 on CBS at 6:30 pm ET.

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