The 10 Best Super Bowl Commercials of All Time

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As millions of football fans are primed to watch the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 58, millions of others eagerly await the Super Bowl commercials.

The biggest bets aren’t necessarily on the game. They come in the form of costly product placement.

The annual Super Bowl tradition of first-run ads, usually in 30-second presentations, can greatly boost a business or cost a company dearly. It’s all about winning this highly subjective competition among the best Super Bowl commercials, counting on the tastes of the consumer.

Our top 10 list, too, is subjective but is based on real and perceived advertising success.

Wendy’s helped boost the visibility, staying power and relevance of Super Bowl ads with its “Where’s the Beef” campaign late last century. When a line in a commercial becomes a cultural touchstone, you know you’ve done something right.

And Nike’s “Hare Jordan,” featuring Michael Jordan? That turned out to be the prequel to the crazy-successful movie Space Jam.

There are countless other highly qualified candidates, but these 10 are the ones we’ve chosen to best represent the greatest of Super Bowl commercials.

10. “Whassup” – Budweiser (2000)

This iconic ad spurred a copy-cat trend that endured for years.

When someone enthusiastically (if sarcastically) blurted, “Wassuuuuuup?!” most everyone recognized the inspiration came from the beer ad.

9. “Talking Babies” – E-Trade (2008)

In the early days of video manipulation, this ad combined creativity with a tech not yet seen by everyone.

8. “Cat Herding” – EDS (2000)

Taking the phrase “It’s like herding cats” and applying it to a real scene, replete with the very latest CGI technology, worked brilliantly.

The juxtaposition of tough cowboys and running cats made this a never-forget cultural moment.

7. “Now and Then” feat. Britney Spears – Pepsi (2002)

We love the throwback idea, and, with the resilient and exceptionally talented Spears hitting the right notes, we have this one as a real keeper.

6. “You aren’t you when you’re hungry” feat. Betty White – Snickers (2010)

America’s golden sweetheart, White won approval from all fronts with this one.

She hit the dirt (mud) to deliver the key line and never broke character.

5. “Yearbooks” – Honda (2017)

Again, it’s tough to trump an ad with this kind of star power.

This one includes Tina Fey, Robert Redford, Steve Carrell and Jimmy Kimmel, and who doesn’t love a good yearbook send-up?

And Kimmel with his clarinet? Terrific.

4. “Clydesdales Brotherhood” – Budweiser (2013)

Maybe the first images you conjure when asked to define Super Bowl commercials. Clydesdales are special, and Bud has been in lock-step with America’s biggest game seemingly forever.

And this one? I’m not crying; you’re crying.

3. “Hey Kid, Catch” feat. Mean Joe Greene – Coke (1979)

The perfect marriage of our modern (yes, even in 1979) warrior and advertising targeting the audience’s heartstrings.

This is the transcendent fit for Super Bowl ads.

2. “Run Like a Girl” – Always (2015)

This is beautiful.

It starts with the female-bashing stereotypes and ends with (we hope) enlightenment for countless cavemen.

1. “1984” – Apple MacIntosh (1984)

This was scary. And groundbreaking. And theatrical. And it was directed by Ridley Scott.

It foretold a future in which big tech would rule the world. Frightening.

Wait, did that happen?

What Were the Best Super Bowl Commercials in 2023?

The best Super Bowl commercials in 2023 were led by reunion themes, with an unlikely Boston-flavored ad right there among the best. Star power, a tried-and-true strategy, paid off as well, with several top celebrities in the ads.

The five (actually six) best from 2023:

5. Doritos – “Jack’s new angle” features Missy Elliott, Jack Harlow (deciding to shift gears and play the triangle) and Elton John. Yep, Elton John.

4. Dunkin Donut – Ben Affleck as the employee and Affleck’s real-life wife, Jennifer Lopez, asking him whether that’s what he’s doing when he says he’s going to work. A sheepish Affleck says, “I gotta go, guys,” and Lopez barks, “Grab me a glazed.”

3. Sam Adams Lager – A re-imagining of Boston etiquette called “Your Boston Cousin” with a “don’t talk trash” cameo from noted trash-talker and NBA champion (with the Boston Celtics) Kevin Garnett.

2. PopCorners – A “Breaking Bad” reunion in which Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman on the show) crunches the product and is reprimanded by Bryan Cranston (Walter White), who, in perfect character, says, “Jesse, we don’t eat our own supplies.”

Tied-1. T-Mobile – More star power — mixed with a reunion — as the stars of TV sitcom “Scrubs,” Donald Faison and Zach Braff, team with John Travolta in T-Mobile’s ad that uses the famous tune from Grease called “Summer Lovin’.”

Tied-1. Workday – This hits the nail on the head. A phrase that long outlived its usefulness, “You’re a rock star,” is exposed by real rock stars Ozzy Osbourne, Joan Jett, Paul Stanley, Gary Clark Jr. and Billy Idol. Stanley says: “Corporate types, will you stop calling each other rock stars?”

How Much Are Super Bowl Commercials?

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the ad space for the 2024 Super Bowl sold out before the end of November 2023. Prices hovered around $7 million for a 30-second spot.

Some not-so-surprising perspective: For the first Super Bowl, which aired live in 1967, a television commercial during the game cost a little less than $40,000 for a 30-second ad. Now, it’s approaching a quarter-million dollars — per second! — for a 30-second, in-game commercial.

Consulting a representation of ad revenue at recent Super Bowls, we find that, just 20 years ago, these spots cost $2.2 million. 10 years ago, the number rose to $4 million.

Super Bowl ad rising costs
Image: Statista

Prop Bets For This Year’s Super Bowl Commercials

Just days away, the Super Bowl will again boast a smorgasbord of national conversation when the big commercials air during the game. Several have poked their heads up already.

We can’t quit the Clydesdales. Budweiser gives us another ad starring these magnificent beasts. This time, they save a bar that’s “running low on Bud” and traverse dangerous roads pulling the Bud wagon. We’re on board.

Tina Fey, Christopher Walken, Willie Nelson, and David and Victoria Beckham own their space, too, in already-released Super Bowl ads ready to entertain everyone on Sunday.

In the interests of serving the sports betting public, some offshore books such as BetOnline offer props on the 2024 commercials, and there’s action to be found. Just hit “Sports,” then “Football,” then “Super Bowl” and find “commercials” in the drop-down menu.

Wagers range from selecting the DoorDash code to whether a dog or a cat will be seen first in the “He gets us” Super Bowl ad.

Prop bets on commercials as well as those on the game itself make for a more entertaining experience on Super Bowl Sunday.

Check out our recommended NFL sportsbooks if you’re looking to place some wagers with the best odds and biggest range of markets.

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Jay Dieffenbach
Sports Betting Expert
Jay Dieffenbach
Sports Betting Expert

Jay is a Sports Betting Writer at Techopedia.com, and has been working in US sports for more than 20 years. He's worked for Daily Racing Form, the Arizona Republic, The Athletic and FanDuel among other sports and gambling positions.