The tradition of Super Bowl commercials is as honored as the Big Game itself. Here are 10 of the memorable ads of the last decade.
Super Bowl Commercials have brought viewers together for decades. Even those who are not fans of football itself still watch the game together with friends just to enjoy the commercials. Companies spend millions on these commercials, hiring huge celebrities for and preparing all year. From celebrities to treasured traditions, here are some of the best of the last decade.
The 2010’s was the decade of the Budweiser Clydesdales. With ads that caused chuckles to ones that left many in tears, they ruled the decade with the Budweiser Clydesdale campaigns. Highlights are “Brotherhood” featuring 2013’s ‘Landslide’ by Fleetwood Mac, 2014’s “Puppy Love” featuring “Let Her Go” by Passenger and 2015’s “Lost Dogs” featuring “A Thousand Miles.”
2011’s Snickers Betty White
This commercial has become so popular that it’s strange to realize it started off as a Super Bowl ad. And with the recent passing of Betty White, what better time to remember one of her later career highlights. She joins a game of tackle football and is having a hard time keeping up with the much younger male players. Then she is given a Snickers bar and with one bite she turns into a young male. The ad has been parodied for years and the tagline “you’re not you when you’re hungry” has become part of the company’s branding. The ad was spun off for years using other celebrities (including Willem Defoe as Marilyn Monroe) and all over the world.
2014’s Doritos’s Time Machine
Doritos is another company that utilized this period to make their dent in Super Bowl advertising. The peak however is the time machine ad where a father is tricked into giving his Doritos to a child who has apparently made a time machine. A comic highlight, it still holds up even to this day.
2011 Volkswagen Vader Kid
Once again, a throwback to an ad that warmed millions of hearts over ten years ago. A little kid acting like Darth Vader like so many have. Using the power of the force all over the house, his ultimate challenge is to use the force to start the car and to his shock it works. Then it is revealed to be the dad with a pair of electronic keys using remote starting technology that started the car. A relatable and very funny ad.
2018 It’s A Tide Ad
Take a recognizable product, a major star and add in humor and you get most modern Super Bowl ads. But some do it better than others. And that includes David Harbour’s Tide Ad in 2018. The ad parodies many of the types of ads you typically see in a Super Bowl game. David Harbour shows up in each vignette and declares “it’s a Tide ad”.
2020’s Smaht Pahk
While an ad that premiered in 2020 may be pushing timing, this ad is hilarious especially for those who live in the Northeast (or know someone who does). To promote their new smart parking technology, Hyundai enlisted several famous Boston celebrities (John Krasinski, Chris Evans, Rachel Dracht, David Ortiz) to demonstrate the technology, each emphasizing their Boston accent and the word “park”ing as Krasinski brags about each place that he could park the car.
2016’s Mountain Dew Puppy Monkey Baby
While many ads use celebrities and humor, Mountain Dew in 2016 chose to go shocking and controversial to promote their new drink made up of three different flavor ingredients. They decided to create a creature that was a combination of three different beings, part monkey, part puppy and part baby. The creature dances around giving out Mountain Dew to a group of guys viewing the game while it repeats its name. It may not have been massively liked but it’s certainly memorable.
2018 Bud Light’s Bud Knight.
The continuation of a long ongoing campaign for Bud Light set in medieval times, it was the first appearance of the Bud Knight. A fierce medieval warrior who appears to save the other warriors who cheer Dilly Dilly. He saves the day by the power of Bud Light. This ad would repeat for years including a 2019 tie in with Game of Thrones. A very memorable and successful campaign.
2010’s Old Spice the Man You Wish Your Man Could Smell Like
Once again, this may seem like a classic now with a catchphrase and style that has been parodied and copied to the point of being overdone. Using random humor, unexpected comments, sex appeal and a horse, this campaign burst onto the scene in 2010. Featuring an early appearance of Isaiah Mustafa as The Old Spice Guy, it’s a classic that many have been trying to capture ever since.
Honda’s 2012 Matthew’s Day Off
Finally, a time-honored tradition of Super Bowl ads is to tie them into films. While many just use this opportunity to promote their summer releases or even announce the release of a film that night, other companies pretend to be announcing a sequel to a film but it’s only an ad. And while this may be commonplace and frustrating now, an early adopter of this trend that did it right is 2012’s Honda ad where it seemed destined to be a sequel to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off including Matthew Broderick and the famous song.