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The Best Super Bowl Commercials of All Time

Jan 31, 2013 02:02PM ● By Erin Frisch

The Best Super Bowl Commercials of All Time

It’s that time of year again—the Super Bowl is nearly upon us. That means friends will get together to eat and drink too and watch great football. Of course, for most people the game is the main draw. But for many viewers, the new commercials that air throughout the game are entertainment enough. Advertisers pay top dollar for a tiny slice of airtime, and they pull out all the stops to produce a memorable ad. Here are the top 5 Super Bowl commercials of all time.

The “Force” & the Volkswagen Passat. This charming ad features a young boy in a Darth Vader costume. Mini Darth tries using the Force around the house without luck. Finally, when his dad makes clever use of the Volkswagen Passat’s remote start, the boy is sure he’s used his powers to start the car. This ad may be newer than the others on the list, but it takes top honors when it comes to clever, cute, and memorable—plus, it touches a chord with all those Star Wars fans out there.

The Budweiser Frogs. This commercial is brilliant for its sheer simplicity. Three frogs in a swamp each contribute a syllable to croak the name of the product repeatedly (Bud-weis-er). This one catches the viewer’s attention because when it first starts, it’s not apparent where it’s going. This charming ad was imitated by many after it aired. It not only ran for a long while after the Super Bowl but also spawned a number of spinoffs. For Anheuser Busch, these three frogs turned out to be real princes!

Betty White’s Snickers commercial. In the last several years, Betty White has enjoyed a huge career boost. At the height of her comeback, she appeared in this Super Bowl ad in a game of pickup football. This ad proved to be hugely popular and has since spawned similar Snickers commercials starring Roseanne Barr, Aretha Franklyn, Don Rickles, Joe Pesci, and others.

Budweiser “Wassup!” commercial. The premise is simple. A group of friends start shouting “Wassup!” to each other repeatedly for about a minute, and Budweiser beer is apparently to blame for their stupidity. For better or worse, this commercial spawned a long-lasting catchphrase used by annoying people everywhere. While some may look back at this ad spot with dread, it’s undoubtedly effective and memorable—and if you’re an advertiser, that’s the best you can hope for. That’s why “Wassup!” earns a spot on the top 5 list.

Coca-Cola commercial with Mean Joe Greene. With a name like Mean Joe Greene, you’re not likely to have a reputation as being approachable. That doesn’t stop a young fan from giving his Coke to the legend, who tosses the lad his football jersey in return. This commercial has heart, and it’s been parodied numerous times (recently by Steeler Troy Polamalu in a hilarious Super Bowl commercial of his own). When you consider that Mean Joe Greene’s version originally aired back in 1980, that kind of longevity is priceless—and reason enough to be on this list.

No matter who wins the big game, all the great commercials add to the festivities. It’s a make-or-break situation for many companies, and they’ll pull out all the stops every year to create a memorable ad that catches consumers’ attention. Some efforts will succeed, and others will fall flat. Either way, it’s always fun to see what they’ll come up with next. With the big game right around the corner, this list may be updated next year.

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