The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers are heading to the Super Bowl, and while the players are looking forward to big paychecks, companies are paying huge sums of money for 30 seconds to a minute of advertising time.
Beer, soda, and snack food companies, vehicle manufacturers, cell phone providers, movie studios, and others spend huge sums to run ads during the Super Bowl. During the first Super Bowl in 1967, a 30-second ad cost $37,500; by 2000, it was up to $2.2 million; and now it averages the hefty price tag of $7 million. Since the ad spots have always been pricey, the companies who use them do their best to create entertaining and memorable commercials. Here are some of the best we’ve seen during the big game.
“Hilltop” Coca-Cola (1971)
Coca-Cola went for optimism in their mellow “Hilltop” commercial. Young adults from around the world gather on the hilltop to sing “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke.” Not only is the song about sharing the popular soda, it’s about the world coming together “in perfect harmony.”
“1984” Apple (1984)
Long before Apple was a global juggernaut, it was a small company trying to persuade people to buy home computers – a high tech device that was foreign to most consumers. They hired Alien director Ridley Scott to create a dystopian world where people could break free of Big Brother’s hold on information in a commercial heavily inspired by George Orwell’s 1984.
“After Midnight” Michelob Beer (1988)
Eric Clapton decides to play a late night set at a smokey bar in this low key Michelob Beer commercial. As his hit song “After Midnight” plays, Clapton finishes a concert, then heads out to a small, darkly lit bar to play for the after hours crowd.
“Cindy Crawford” Pepsi (1992)
Pepsi presented a simple, very cute commercial in 1992, starring world famous model Cindy Crawford. The gorgeous model pulls into a gas station, walks across the parking lot, and buys a can of Pepsi, which is witnessed by a pair of young boys. But instead of staring at Crawford, the lovestruck boys are ogling the can of Pepsi in her hand.
“Cat Herding” EDS (2000)
Instead of filling an ad with high-tech jargon, EDS (Electronic Data Systems) chose to explain what their company does by comparing it to herding cats. The cheeky commercial shows rough and tough cowboys trying to make cats move in one direction, getting them out of trees, and enduring many scratches.
“Cast Away” FedEx (2006)
Six years after Tom Hanks played a FedEx employee who was stuck on an uninhabited island for years, the shipping company poked fun at the movie with their Cast Away commercial. The recently marooned man delivers the one package he didn’t open on the island, only for the recipient to reveal that it humorously contains a satellite phone, fishing rod, and other life saving equipment.
“The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” Old Spice (2010)
Isaiah Mustafa debuts as the new Old Spice guy in this over the top commercial about manly smelling shower gel. He explains how “your man” could be like him if he uses Old Spice, and that anything is possible with the masculine shower gel – including getting tickets to “that thing you love” or a handful of diamonds.
“Always: Like a Girl” Always (2015)
Always chose to challenge conventions with their “Like a Girl” campaign, starting with their Super Bowl commercial. Women, a man, and a boy are asked to run, throw, and fight like a girl – all of whom do it in silly, uncoordinated ways. Then girls are asked to do the same tasks, performing them competitively and without a trace of the mockery seen earlier in the ad.
“Famous Cars” Walmart (2019)
Walmart went for excitement and nostalgia with their “Famous Cars” commercial that promotes the convenience of their curbside pickup option. Several cars appear to pick up their shopping, including Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters, K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider, the Mystery Machine from Scooby-Doo, the Jurassic Park jeep, Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage, and many more.
“Mind Reader” Amazon (2022)
Real life couple Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost star in this hilarious commercial about Amazon’s Alexa being so intuitive that she is basically a mind reader. Embarrassing moments follow as she reads Jost’s mind that Johansson needs strong mouth wash for her morning breath, and reads Johansson’s mind by turning on the blender to drown out Jost’s boring conversation.
Check out our Main Event coverage in last week’s issue of Scoop for more great Super Bowl commercials.