One of the biggest sporting events and sought after ad spots in the global calendar touched down last Sunday (13th Feb), as Superbowl and the highly anticipated half time show kicked off. On the field we saw Cincinnati Bengals take on the Los Angeles Rams – who used home advantage to just take the win – while in the ad-break there was also the traditional battle of the brands. In the age of streaming services, on-demand, traditional television and now the metaverse the competition for eyeballs is fiercer than ever and the with more than 112 million people tuning in, it’s a brand’s dream if they can get their campaign right.
In 2020 all but one 30-second Super Bowl spot cost advertisers between $5m to $5.6m, a price tag that has rocketed up almost every year since 197 when it was a now-quaint – then-astronomic – $78,200. Which begs the question, is it really worth it?
The answer is a resounding yes for most brands as so many people see it as a cultural event more than they do a game, which means a generational captive audience.
As a result it means some of the ads become iconic moments, which are, remembered for decades after they’ve aired. With that in mind Festival of Media has listed its top five most memorable Super Bowl ads of all time from expertly orchestrated emotional arcs and click-bait-ready celebrity cameos, or just plain clever branding.
First up,we are turning the clock back to 2010, and Old Spice’s The Man Your Man Could Smell Like “Look at your man. Now back to me. Now back at your man. Now back to me.” Were more immortal words ever spoken? Sure, the shaming of men who use “lady-scented body wash” is a little retro, but it was a full decade ago, after all.
Who could forget 2002 and the then princess of pop – Britney Spears- collaboration with Pepsi in: PEPSI Generation. At the height of her popularity, Spears starred as a pop star during the buttoned-up ’50s, a surfer girl in the ’60s, and an androgynous ’80s singer, among other characters.
Whilst many of the team here at Festival of Media, would have been too young to stay up late and watch Budweiser’s Frogs live – we’ve been told on good authority by those that did – it was impossible to drink a Budweiser in 1995 without thinking of those three monosyllabic frogs.
The Force, a spoof on Star Wars, earned over 40 million views in 2011. Just try to resist smiling while watching this adorable Volkswagen commercial, which combines youthful ambition and some loving sleight of hand.
Our final pick is a more recent advert in the shape of Lil Nas X and Sam Elliott for Doritos, from the strange year that was 2020. Nobody had a bigger 2019 than Lil Nas X, but Sam Elliott was a close second for his scene-stealing role in A Star is Born. Naturally when the two met for a dance-off at the ‘Cool Ranch’ magic happened and we were lucky enough to witness it.
Do you agree with our top picks? Let us know if we missed any of your favourite iconic ad-break moments. The real question is what adverts from this year’s Superbowl will stand the test of time and will be top of mind in the years to come later. Or in other words, which global brand will be crowned the ultimate MVP?