What Makes a Memorable Super Bowl Ad?

Nearly every man, woman and child in the United States turns on the TV that fateful Sunday when two football teams go head to head for the right to be named the Champion. In fact, it was reported that a record 114.4 million viewers tuned in to watch last year’s nail biter between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks (Go Pats!).

There’s plenty of people who watch the Super Bowl for the game itself, but it’s no secret that the commercials aired during game breaks are a continuous draw for viewers, and a common topic at the water cooler the next day.

So, in the spirit of the upcoming game, we thought it would be interesting to take a look back at some of these infamous spots and share our thoughts on who did the best job connecting with their audience, representing their brand and delivering a memorable message.

Coca-Cola, Mean Joe Green

Jaye: “Wow, there are a lot of great commercials. Love the Budweiser puppy ads – #bestbuds – but I have to go with the 1979 Mean Joe Green ad.

  • Every man (primary target audience at that time for sure) was anxious to see what Mean Joe had to say, so they were captivated from the outset
  • The messaging was simple; sharing, everyone has love in their heart, simple gestures mean a lot
  • Tied really well to their tagline a the time, ‘have a coke and a smile’
  • The brand was well displayed: bottle and logo, for several seconds
  • Very low production cost/value which I believe adds to the benefit/value of an ad

Wendy’s ‘Where’s the Beef’ ad was also a great one. The irony of 3 elderly women in a Super Bowl ad engaged viewers, and the ‘Where’s the Beef’ copy became a common household phrase that cut across generations, conversations and topics for years – still used today by folks who were not even born in 1984.”

Snickers, You are not you when you are hungry

Megan: “It tells a story where the climax is, ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry,’ and the hero is the product. You’re hooked on the story from the beginning, and the punchline is also where the product is first introduced. It’s a classic joke that Snickers continues to replicate in different ways that’s always successful.”


Always, Like a Girl

Lisa:  “I loved this ad because it’s simple and clever – the way the brand took an old phrase and gave it a spin to change a perception. Love that!

Without advertising a specific product, the brand bolstered female empowerment by using a common phrase to represent  the strength, talent, character and absolute amazingness of every girl. And, they did this during a game fueled by testosterone where girls usually take a back seat.

Always, a feminine care brand, knows that puberty is a time when a girl’s self esteem is at its lowest. The messaging not only hits the mark emotionally, but puts power into the phrase ‘like a girl,’ making a difference for every girl’s confidence. As a consumer and mom of three girls, the ad was engaging and consistent to the brand. Watching it, I was proud and inspired. Girls really are amazing!”


Ram, God Made a Farmer

Bethany:  “This commercial was memorable for a few reasons.

  • I grew up listening to Paul Harvey on the radio, his voice was always one of comfort and authority – you could always trust the news he was reporting.
  • I love the fact that during the biggest sporting event of the year in America, it speaks directly to the hard working and often forgotten about group of Americans that are enjoying the game – Farmers – the true backbone of America.
  • Even though this is an ad for a truck company, it isn’t overtly trying to sell you on their product, they are celebrating and thanking the people who already use their product.
  • The style of the commercial – the solitary voice and still photography montage – is such a stark contrast to the busy, colorful, chaotic scene of the game it really stands out and evokes strong emotion.”


Budweiser, Puppy Love

Corey: “I’m sure it’s no surprise I’d pick the one with a dog in it! But seriously, this commercial is so great because Budweiser does a wonderful job of instilling the nostalgia of their original brand (the iconic clydesdales) into present day, as well as incorporating themes that all audiences can relate to.  A manly man (wearing a Budweiser hat, no less), an attractive young woman, an adorable puppy – there’s something for everyone. The message isn’t convoluted or hard to follow; the narrative truly tells itself, and speaks to loyalty, tradition and the bond between best friends, which not so ironically, are all themes I would use to characterize Bud drinkers.”


Budweiser, Dog in a Parade

Ramona: “Just like Corey, of course I pick one with dogs in it. Reminds us that thinking positively changes your whole perspective on life. Or, no matter what life brings you, kick some grass over that poop and move on.”


Volkswagen, The Force

Jim: “I think this commercial really touched a nerve with fathers of younger children watching the Super Bowl. In fact, my son used to dress up in that same exact outfit and pretend as though he was moving things with ‘the force.’ So not only does this commercial really connect the user with the car emotionally, it really hit the nail on the head in terms of target demographic “


Hope you enjoyed the nostalgia and some good laughs! What are your favorite ads?