Super Bowl Commercials: From Flops to Fads, the Ads We Remember

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Every year, the Super Bowl not only brings together two formidable football teams on the grandest stage but also captivates millions with its extravagant halftime show and, of course, the highly anticipated commercials. Super Bowl commercials have become a cultural phenomenon, with brands competing fiercely for attention, aiming to create memorable moments that will resonate with audiences long after the game is over. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of Super Bowl commercials, exploring the hits, the misses, and the unforgettable ads that have left an indelible mark on our collective memory.

The competition for attention during the big game remains fierce, and brands must navigate the delicate balance of entertaining and engaging viewers without causing offense.    For those eager to be a part of this grand spectacle, witnessing the creativity of Super Bowl commercials and the excitement of the game firsthand, the journey begins when you visit TicketSmarter for your tickets.  

The Evolution of Super Bowl Commercials:

Super Bowl commercials have come a long way since the inaugural game in 1967, where a 30-second spot cost a mere $42,000. Over the years, the price tag for these coveted slots has skyrocketed, reaching millions of dollars for a brief moment of airtime. As the stakes have risen, so too has the creativity and ambition of advertisers, leading to some of the most iconic and talked-about commercials in television history.

Hits That Made History:

Certain Super Bowl commercials have transcended their initial purpose and become ingrained in popular culture. One such example is Apple’s groundbreaking “1984” commercial, which introduced the Macintosh computer and is often cited as one of the greatest ads of all time. Another unforgettable moment came in 1992 when Cindy Crawford sipped a Pepsi in denim shorts, epitomizing the perfect blend of celebrity and product placement.

Doritos, known for its entertaining and often humorous Super Bowl spots, scored big with its “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign, which invited fans to submit their own commercials for a chance to be aired during the big game. This innovative approach not only engaged the audience but also showcased the power of user-generated content in advertising.

Flops and Controversies:

Not every Super Bowl commercial has hit the mark, and some have even sparked controversy. In 2013, GoDaddy faced backlash for its ad featuring supermodel Bar Refaeli kissing a nerdy-looking actor. While intended to be humorous, many viewers found it cringe-worthy and tasteless, highlighting the fine line between edgy and offensive in Super Bowl advertising.

Pepsi’s 2017 commercial featuring Kendall Jenner attempting to quell tensions at a protest with a can of soda faced similar criticism. The ad was widely panned for trivializing serious social issues, leading to its swift withdrawal and a lesson learned about the importance of cultural sensitivity in advertising.

The Power of Nostalgia:

In recent years, Super Bowl commercials have increasingly tapped into the power of nostalgia, leveraging beloved characters and themes from the past. Brands like Coca-Cola and Budweiser have revisited their iconic ads, eliciting a sense of nostalgia that resonates with viewers of all ages. This trend reflects advertisers’ recognition of the emotional impact that familiar and cherished elements can have on an audience.

Looking Ahead:

As Super Bowl commercials continue to evolve, the challenge for advertisers is to strike the right balance between creativity, relevance, and cultural sensitivity. The competition for attention during the big game remains fierce, and brands must navigate the delicate balance of entertaining and engaging viewers without causing offense.


Super Bowl commercials have become an integral part of the annual spectacle, offering a platform for creativity, humor, and cultural commentary. From groundbreaking successes to cringe-worthy failures, these ads reflect the ever-changing landscape of advertising and consumer expectations. As we eagerly await each year’s new crop of commercials, one thing remains certain – the Super Bowl will continue to be a battleground for advertisers vying to create the next unforgettable moment in the world of television advertising.

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