Along with being one of the biggest sports events of the year where the best football players clash, the Super Bowl is also renowned for its advertisements. As the eyes of the world fall onto the host stadium for the four-hour event, companies pay millions to have their ads shown to audiences around the world. The Super Bowl ads have become an event within the event, garnering much speculation over who will be advertising and whether their ads are any good.
In this short guide, we’re taking a look at how this illustrious advertising platform came to be so important in our culture. Of course, the game or the ads aren’t the only reasons people pay attention to the Super Bowl. Oddsmakers crunch the Super Bowl odds for the event’s enthusiastic betting crowd.
How It Started
Advertisements have been present at the Super Bowl from the very start. In Super Bowl I, 1967, they ran ads for several companies that they still do business with today, particularly Ford, McDonald’s, and Budweiser.
While the advertisements continued into the 70s, there were some standout ads that are still remembered such as Coca-Cola’s “Hilltop” ad and the jingle that was written for it, which was rewritten to become a hit song.
The start of the Super Bowl’s reputation for advertisements came in 1984, however, with Apple Macintosh’s “1984.” This is often considered the best Super Bowl commercial ever and solidified the Super Bowl as one of the most effective advertising platforms in the world.
It also has an interesting story behind it. It was directed by Ridley Scott and the board of directors hated it. Steve Jobs was unconvinced that the Bowl had the pull they wanted while Steve Wozniak offered to pay for it himself. The ad almost didn’t happen but, when it did, all doubts were silenced and the Super Bowl ad has been a mainstay in the marketing world since.
Super Bowl’s Best Ads
The marketing platform of the Super Bowl only grew from there, here’s a short breakdown:
- 1993 – McDonald’s “Showdown” – Larry Bird challenges Michael Jordan to a competitive game of Horse to decide who gets to eat a Big Mac.
- 1995 – Budweiser’s “Frogs” – A trio of frogs sound out different syllables in the middle of a swamp. When they finally get the order right, it’s revealed they’re saying “Budweiser.”
- 2008 – E-Trade’s “Baby” – A baby with an adult voice explains how easy it is to use the trading platform. The baby would show up in ads for the next few years until retiring in 2013.
- 2010 – Snickers’ “Betty White” – Often considered another contender for best ad, Betty White eats a Snickers to turn into a man and outcompete everybody at football.
- 2011 – Volkswagen’s “The Force” – A child in a Darth Vader costume tries to use the force on multiple objects as the Imperial March theme plays. They think they’re successful when their father uses his keys to activate their car from a distance.