Super Bowl Sunday is nearly a national holiday in the U.S., as people come together for the big game. In fact, millions upon millions tune in at parties to see the showdown. The big game isn’t only all about football, though. There’s the halftime show, delicious snacks and apps, and, arguably the most fun, the clever commercials. You can probably name at least one memorable ad from years past, but what are the best Super Bowl commercials of all time? We’ll leave that to the experts.
Commercials are looked forward to by many, almost as much as the game itself. In fact, a recent survey of 2,000 Americans asked respondents why they attend Super Bowl parties year after year, and for many, the actual game isn’t the first thing on their minds come kick off. Fifty-six percent of respondents said they look forward to Super Bowl parties because of the food. Wait, is anyone surprised by this? The second most popular reason 54 percent of people go to a football party is being social. And surprisingly, both of those reasons beat out actually watching the game. Only 49 percent say the game is their main interest. Oh, and of course … the commercials! Thirty-eight percent look forward to the commercials every year.
This is no secret to Fox, which by September 2022 had already sold several 30-second ad spots for more than $7 million each. This is a record price. Compare that to the 30-second spots that sold for $287,000 in 1981, and it’s pretty jaw-dropping. But it’s been shown to be worth the investment for companies. People remember these iconic commercials even decades later.
Though hosting the Super Bowl (and the commercials) on Sunday is a national pastime, a new poll found 48 percent of fans would rather move the game to Saturday. It might not be a bad idea, since 14 percent of Americans call out “sick” the following Monday. Perhaps they just had too many snacks?!
While Super Bowl LVII won’t start until February 12, here’s a list of the top five ads ever aired to watch in the meantime. StudyFinds has consulted 13 expert reviews to create this list of the best Super Bowl commercials of all time. Relive the moments that took a place in Americans’ hearts and get ready for the next round of ads that will make us laugh, pull on our heartstrings or inspire us to spend our money.
The List: Best Super Bowl Commercials Ever Aired, According To Experts
1. Apple Macintosh
An advertising risk that paid off! Parade writes, “Perhaps the only Super Bowl ad that can properly be called ‘iconic,’ this George Orwell-inspired commercial promised that the new Apple Macintosh would give power to the people, preventing a dystopian future where no one can think for themselves. The commercial was so risky that Apple’s board of directors tried to stop it from airing, but in the end, it worked.”
Sportsnaut says this ad cemented Apple as a household name: “With the theme set to George Orwell’s classic novel 1984, Steve Jobs and Apple made its name around the United States and the rest of the world simply due to this advertisement. When it comes to top Super Bowl commercials, this one takes the cake. The commercial culminated in a woman carrying a torch to represent the dawn of the Macintosh era and end the conformity that had defined the technology sector in the years prior.”
This commercial stands out in the Super Bowl crowd for Bleacher Report: “The ultimate in Super Bowl advertising, this 1984 ad from Apple introducing its new Macintosh computers became a cultural standout despite only being shown once.”
2. Larry David for FTX
“Larry David ruining moments in history was pretty, pretty, pretttttyyyy good,” The Athletic says.
CHRON is a fan, writing, “You probably don’t have to be a ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ fan to appreciate Larry David crapping all over every great invention – ‘Edison, can I be honest with you? It stinks.’ – but it sure helps. Now, will it help us understand cryptocurrency? To quote Larry David, ‘Ehhhhh, I don’t think so.’”
According to TODAY, “Larry David has never been wrong about anything. Except for the wheel, forks, toilets, American independence, the right to vote, light bulbs, traveling to the moon, and the Walkman. With cryptocurrency though, he’s sure that it won’t be successful, even if he’s told that FTX will be a good way to get introduced to cryptocurrency. ‘Nah, I don’t think so,’ he said before assuring. ‘And I’m never wrong about this stuff. Never.’”
3. Coca-Cola: “Hey Kid, Catch!”
According to NBC New York, “Super Bowl commercials were popularized dating as far back as 1979 when Coca-Cola put out their ‘Hey Kid, Catch!’ ad with Steelers defensive tackle Joe Greene, which still marks as one of the best ads in history.”
“This was one of the first viral Super Bowl commercials, which was broadcast well before most people had access to the Internet or even had video recorders. It spread purely through word of mouth, and it spread through the great emotion the commercial evoked. In it, a young boy shares a warm special moment with ‘Mean’ Joe Greene, who was one of the most feared and ferocious football players of his time,” Sports Management Degrees writes.
Athlon Sports claims, “The fact that [this ad] still tops this list is a testament to its greatness.”
4. Hyundai: “Smaht Pahk”
This commercial is wicked good. The Pioneer Woman says, “As with most Super Bowl commercials, this one by Hyundai is stacked with celebrities. It opens with Chris Evans and Rachel Dratch conversing in laughably thick Boston accents before John Krasinski suddenly pulls up in his new Sonata, also sporting a Boston accent. But the real star of the show is the car that ‘pahks’ itself!”
“If you’ve ever tried to ‘pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd,’ or anywhere in Boston, you know fitting into a spot in the Massachusetts city can be a nightmare. Hyundai’s Smart Park feature attempts to combat that with celebrity endorsement from native Bostonites John Krasinski, Chris Evans, and Rachel Dratch, who let their Boston accents fly free,” Vogue writes.
5. Snickers: “Betty White”
Stadium Talk talks up this ad: “When 88-year-old golden girl Betty White gets slammed flat on her back in a mud football game, that’s enough to make the list right there. ‘Mike, you’re playing like Betty White out there!’ a teammate pleads in the huddle. ‘That’s not what your girlfriend says,’ White, er, Mike shoots back. After a friend steps in to offer a Snickers bar, the old gal suddenly becomes jacked-up young Mike again. Then it’s 88-year-old actor-turned-quarterback Abe Vigoda who gets sacked instead. Touchdown.”
Parade adds, “The Golden Girl is hysterical as a young football player’s tired, hungry alter ego in this Snickers commercial.”
“In 2010, Snickers tapped into a universal truth with the launch of their campaign, ‘You’re Not You When You’re Hungry.’ The campaign’s first spot, an iconic Super Bowl ad featuring a trash talking Betty White, became an instant hit for the brand,” CLIO raves.
So, “Wassup?!” Do you think the experts picked the best Super Bowl commercials? Which ones would have made your list? Let us know in the comments.
Editor’s Choice: Reebok Introduces Us To Terry Tate
“How this didn’t make the top five is beyond me, but then again, there are some other legendary commercials not on this list too. Sorry Hyundai, you shouldn’t be on here. Terry Tate, you absolutely should be,” says StudyFinds Editor-in-Chief Steve Fink. “I don’t know that I’ve ever laughed as hard nor rushed to see this commercial over and over again as much as I didn’t when Reebok’s Terry Tate commercial aired. This was everything a winning Super Bowl commercial should be: clever, funny, unique, and most importantly, memorable. Terry Tate, the office linebacker checks all the boxes. Just don’t try this in your own workplace, please.”
- Bleacher Report
- The Athletic
- NBC New York
- Sports Management Degrees
- Athlon Sports
- The Pioneer Woman
- Stadium Talk
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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.