You might have heard that Super Bowl 50 is taking place this weekend. There’s sure to be millions of sports fans tuning in to see the Broncos battle the Panthers for football supremacy, but just as many will be watching for the commercials. This Sunday isn’t just about the biggest sporting event in the United States; it’s the day when advertisers get to show off. Millions of dollars and countless hours of creativity and effort go into developing these commercials. Over the years, a few from past Super Bowls have risen above the crowd and stuck with us.
Larry Bird vs Michael Jordan
Capitalizing on two of the biggest sports icons of the time, McDonald’s featured Larry Bird and Michael Jordan competing in a game of HORSE for a Big Mac in this 1993 ad. Fans got to see a more playful side of their sports icons. It was a relatable situation with larger than life characters that still resonates today. This was a winning shot for the McDonald’s brand
Betty White- You’re Not You When You’re Hungry
This spot struck gold by relating the Snicker’s message with a surprise celebrity guest. Telling viewers that “you’re not you when you’re hungry,” the commercial shows a young man playing flag football, inexplicably in the body of Betty White. It turned out to be a metaphor for eating a Snickers to reenergize yourself, and it grabbed people’s attention. Betty White hadn’t been a notable star for decades, but was used in a funny, effective way. People continue to associate Snickers with regaining energy when hungry, Snickers continues to use similar spots to great success, and Betty White is as popular as she was in her Golden Girls days.
Considered one of the greatest commercials of all time, Apple introduced a radically different spot at the 1984 Super Bowl. Direct by Ridley Scott, and featuring a dystopian future reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984, it shows a rebellious character shaking up the status quo against the oppressing rulers, accompanied by a simple tease of what’s to come—the Apple Macintosh. Viewers weren’t even sure of what they saw, but they couldn’t stop talking about it. For its time, it was the perfect mix of high production values and aura of mystery. The Macintosh itself didn’t even appear in the spot, but audiences were left anticipating its unveiling.
These are just a few of our favorite commercials that have aired in past years. This year is a major anniversary for the Super Bowl, and we know advertisers will have stepped up their game. We hope you join us in celebrating these memorable, creative pieces come Sunday.
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Until next time,