Memorable Super Bowl Commercials From Before 2010!

While newer Super Bowl commercials may gain immediate buzz, there are classics that are just as good. Here are some of our favorites! 

While looking at the Super Bowl commercials of the last decade is fun and moving, the ones that started it all and inspired the current trends are true treasures.

1979’s Coke – Mean Joe Greene

A classic of the genre and one of the originators of the sentimental Super Bowl commercial that brings a tear to your eye. Pittsburgh Steeler Joe Green, known as “Mean Joe Greene,” struggles off the field not caring to engage with anyone. Until a kid gives him a Coke. Cue 70’s soundtrack and Joe Greene, now smiling, tossing him his jersey. An early Coke ad, this has been remade in 2009 with Troy Polamalu and a remake with Amy Sedaris offering laundry detergent.

1984 Apple – 1984

One of the most iconic television commercials of all time aired in the third quarter of Super Bowl XVII. In the world of George Orwell’s 1984, an all obeying society is ruled by Big Brother who preaches from a screen. Until a woman rushes in and tosses a hammer smashing the screen. Freed, the masses stare blankly as wind blares over them. A voice proclaims that Apple will introduce Macintosh and 1984 won’t be like 1984. Directed by famed director, Ridley Scott and created in partnership with iconic marketing firm Chiat/Day, this is one of the most iconic ads of the games.

1992’s Pepsi – Cindy Crawford

A throwback commercial from 1992 baked in American feeling. Young boys playing baseball, Cindy Crawford, one of the biggest supermodels in the world at the time, and Pepsi. Cindy gets out of a car in slow motion and gets a Pepsi from the vending machine, the boys are more impressed by the new can design.

1994’s McDonald’s – The Showdown

Two of the biggest basketball stars in the world and a competitive rivalry for the ages, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. A shot contest that has to be “nothing but net” for a McDonald’s Big Mac. The two are so evenly matched though that an increasingly difficult and complex series of shots ends with a shot taken from the top of the John Hancock building in Chicago.

1984 Wendy’s – Where’s the beef

Wendy’s is now a worldwide recognizable brand with a Twitter account that may even be even more famous than the restaurants, but they had to start from somewhere. This Super Bowl spot of three older women desperately trying to find the beef patty in their burgers asking “where’s the beef” helped to put them on the map.


Next, we’re featuring a collection of commercials from Budweiser. They ruled the 2010’s, but their reign started decades earlier with classics such as Wassup’ dudes. After this ad, this slang word even entered the Oxford dictionary.

Budweiser also had the 1995 frog spot that croaked the company’s name in rhythm after staring at a Budweiser sign.

Heading into the 2010’s, Budwieser still dominated. Using both Clydesdale’s and comedy, in this spot a Clydesdale football game in interrupted by a cultural phenomenon at that time, a streaker.


One other major company, E-Trade, also dominated this period that has been rather quiet in recent years. But their ads are as memorable as the day they debuted.

And as the internet age arrived, there was a rise of commercials to deal with the internet and everything that it enabled. This new world included internet stock trading… and who that enabling opened stock markets up to.

Or how to in their words “waste 2M dollars”

And CareerBuilder offered a way to change jobs if you’re working with a literal bunch of monkeys

This is just a sampling of the memorable ads the Super Bowl has brought us over the years. We will see what companies successfully step up to the Super Bowl ad challenge this year.

About the Author

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Jonathan Moore

Jonathan Moore is a senior Business of Creative Enterprises major at Emerson College based in Boston,MA. He loves all forms of entertainment whether film, television or on the stage. He is currently studying at Emerson's Los Angeles campus.