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Top 10 Super Bowl ads of all-time [Video]

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan  January 30, 2014 05:00 AM

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A handful of Super Bowl XLVIII commercials have already gone viral, including the Budweiser "Puppy Love" spot, the Muppets selling out for Toyota and Scarlett Johansson's "banned" ad for Sodastream, which will now be aired by Fox minus the tagline taking a shot at Coke and Pepsi.

So much for that controversy.

Horses, dogs, Muppets, a shirtless Terry Crews and Johansson disrobing will be tough to beat.

Before we're overwhelmed with any more "leaked" spots before Sunday's game, it's time to look back at some of this historic competition these sports will face. With that in mind, here is our completely subjective, non-scientific list of the Top 10 Super Bowl Commercials of all-time.

10: Budweiser: "Frogs" [1995]

While Budweiser's Clydesdales and their canine pals have become an integral part of its recent Super Bowl campaigns, the beer-maker opted for another animal in 1995 that kicked off an ad campaign that lasted for several years. Kids couldn't stop saying "Bud-Weis-Er." Needless to say, the late Joe Camel was envious.

9. Pepsi: "Cindy Crawford" [1992]

Super model Cindy Crawford pulls up in her Ferrari and introduces these two boys to the beauty of ... the new Pepsi can, in this memorable spot that aired during Super Bowl XXVI. Redskins [sorry if you're offended] fans found themselves in "Hog Heaven" that day, as Mark Rypien tore up the Buffalo Bills. But Crawford and these awestruck youngsters were the real stars on that day.

8. Reebok: "Terry Tate - Office Linebacker" [2003]

Fictional former NFL linebacker "Terry Tate" [Lester Speight] is hired to shake things up and increase office productivity and raise morale at Felcher & Sons. His unique motivational style includes jarring hits and memorable sayings like "The pain train is comin?!" This Reebok spot was part of a broader campaign, but Tate first became part of American football lexicon during Tampa Bay's dominance of Oakland in Super Bowl XXXVII.

7. Honda: "Ferris Bueller" [2012]

In the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLVI, while Patriots' fans were beginning to sense Deja Doom against the Giants, Matthew Broderick reprises his role as Ferris Bueller in this spot for Honda. It's filled with nods to the classic flick and stands out as one of the best ads of the modern/viral era. It was probably the last time most of us smiled that night, too.

6. Noxema: "Farrah Fawcett - Joe Namath" [1973]

In case you don't know, Noxema is/was shaving cream. It's still on the shelves at CVS, near the bottom. This is as close to Rated-G video porn as you can get for the over-50 set. "I'm going to get creamed" and "You've got a great pair of hands" are Classic Broadway Joe.

5. McDonald's:"The Showdown" [1993]

Larry Bird and Michael Jordan engaged in this memorable game of "H-O-R-S-E," all with a Big Mac on the line. "First one to miss watches the winner eat." The 90-second ad was initially split over two spots during Super Bowl XXVII, with the set-up clip running 30 seconds. By the time the second spot aired, the Cowboys were well on their way to humiliating the Bills 52-17. There was more interest in Bird and Jordan's contest than in the game itself. "Nothing but net."

4. Volkswagen, "The Force" [2011]

There were no special effects. No gimmicks. No animals. No big stars - save for perhaps the greatest villain in cinematic history. Just some brilliant creativity by the people by Donny Deutsch Advertising. Young Darth Vader [played by Max Page] struggles to harness The Force, until he gets an assist from his dad. This is the most viral ad in internet history, with more than 59 million You Tube views.

3. Coca-Cola: "Hey Kid, Catch" [1980]

What make this spot so memorable for those who actually watched it live, was that it aired during Super Bowl XIV, as the Steelers were on their way to beating the Rams 31-19. Coke's timing, and its faith in "Mean" Joe Greene, the Steel Curtain and Terry Bradshaw, was rewarded with a spot that showed "Mean" Joe's human side. Its success helped propel Super Bowl commercials to a place of prominence with the viewing public equal to the game itself.

2. Budweiser: "9-11" [2002]

This one is forgotten on many "Top 10" lists. Super Bowl XXXVI was the most memorable Super Bowl for Patriots' fans, and for patriots in general. [Whitney Houston's "Star Spangled Banner" before Super Bowl XXV not withstanding.] The game was played less than five months after the 9-11 attacks. It was the first Super Bowl ever played in February, having been pushed back because of the NFL's post-9-11 hiatus. The pre-game show featured a scroll with the names all of the 9-11 victims. Even the game's logo was altered to reflect its patriotic - if not Patriotic - theme.

While some ads are meant to humor us, and others are created with a second life on You Tube as the goal, this ad went straight for the heart. It showcased the grandeur of the Budweiser Clydesdales [again, these beer ads are not created with kids in mind]. Someone may be cutting onions in the room when it's over. Budweiser aired the ad only once, hence the low-def video, but re-released it in 2011 with the background of the final scene edited to feature the Freedom Tower under construction.

1. Apple: "1984" [1984]

To paraphrase Bird: Every other Super Bowl ad ever is fighting for second place. If you are reading this column on an iPad, iPhone, MacBook or any other Apple device, this "1984" ad is one of the reasons why. It was dropped on the American public seconds after the Raiders scored against the Redskins during their 38-9 triumph in Super Bowl XVIII.

Apple and Steve Jobs spent months planning the January 1984 debut of the Macintosh. The company had released its "Lisa" computer a year earlier, and it was a fantastic flop. This ode to George Orwell's chilling now-more-than-ever novel "1984" was directed by Ridley Scott. Here, "Big Brother" was "Big Blue," or IBM, and not Microsoft or the NSA.

Walter Isaacson's tremendous biography of Jobs says the ad was a way for Jobs to "re-affirm" his desired self-image to the world. It definitely stuck. The Macintosh was released two days later. The ad was chosen as the greatest TV commercial of all-time by both TV Guide and Advertising Age.

30 years later, nothing even comes close.

Let us know the ones that belong on your list below, or on Twitter at @RealOBF.


Got a news tip, want to let me know directly what you think, or have a complaint or compliment about my "aggressively relevant" content, hit me up on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. Thanks always for reading and pass the clicker.

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Obnoxious Boston Fan offers a fun, unique and biting perspective on the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and whatever else people are talking about in the world of sports. We More »
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