Super Bowl Commercials - The Best And The Worst


As the top sporting event of the nation comes out on television, the Super Bowl commercials often have to overcome some bitter realities to entertain the country. It is obvious when the commercials that run during the Super Bowl are studied closely. Many advertisers choose to erase such tensions using nostalgia, special effects, humor, and celebrity. This can be a little disappointing for the social activists out there. But it is not surprising considering that there is a lot at stake here. The broadcaster charges millions for a little advertising space. Travel sites, vehicle brands, and sports betting have lapped up the space. Firms are spending huge amounts of money per second. So the ads do not take any risks of showing any downer elements. This year, this resulted in average ads that did not feel very substantial. They did not offer unrestricted celebrations or parties. But they were not serious enough to address the times faced by the viewers.


In the past twenty years, the price of a half-a-minute commercial spot for the Super Bowl has increased its value by more than two times. In the previous year, the cost of such a spot was nearly six million dollars. For that kind of money, firms are not leaving any stone unturned to create Super Bowl commercials that create an impact in the minds of the viewers. When things go well, fans mention the great Super Bowl commercial for years. But when things do not go so hunky-dory, the ad is deemed a flop. Still, there is nothing known as bad publicity. So here are some of the best and worst Super Bowl commercials that have been aired over the years. Each of the commercials is unique in its own way.


1. Best Super Bowl Commercials: Loretta by Google (2020)


This advertisement is quite simple and yet captured our attention. It was a great hit among the fans of the Super Bowl. The brand turned up the nostalgia and the emotions with a tribute by a husband to his late wife. Using the emotionally-laden narration of the husband, visual snapshots, and the brand’s tech, the fans got to find out about this couple and their love. They also got to see how the firm is much more than a search engine. Google wanted to show that it represents a complete and wholesome life. This ad touched the emotional cords of a lot of viewers.


2. Halftime in America by Chrysler (2012)


The iconic Clint Eastwood pays his own tributes to the Motor City and its conflicts in this great commercial that was very appropriate and moving. The soul of the ad is captured perfectly by the gritty voice of the actor. The message was for the entire country and the citizens of Detroit when the whole planet was coming out from recession. Chrysler did really well with this advertisement. The delivery sentiment and production value were up to notch and were apt for the time. It is still remembered fondly by many people in the country.


3. Darth Vader by Volkswagen (2011)


A small boy dresses up as the villain from Star Wars and tries to practice his superpowers. But nothing happens. Then, the father comes home in a Volkswagen car and taps on the remote car lock so that the boy can realize his powers. This ad has all the elements that the fans love. Star Wars plus a sleek vehicle and a perfect family creates a memorable ad. It is new-gen sentimentality at its best.


4. Jordan & Bugs Bunny by Nike (1992)


About thirty years ago, the mix of real-life and animated action was new and exciting. Even today, that excitement can be felt in this ad for Nike Air sneakers aired during the Super Bowl. There was nothing better for the fans than seeing a cartoon story about Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan. The classic humor and flavor of Looney Tunes were present here. It is great to find out how the stars, the ad, and the brand have all remained in the minds of the fans after so many years.


5. Apple (1984)


Nobody can forget the awe and shock of one of the best commercials aired during the Super Bowl. The company paid its tribute to the novel of George Orwell that shared the same name in a dark ad that introduced the new Macintosh computer. It is not easy to imagine a planet before the internet and PC were at the core of the lives of nearly every individual around the globe. But nearly four decades ago, this ad aired during the Super Bowl was quite revolutionary. It still remains a stand-out ad.


Let’s look at the worst Super Bowl commercials now.


1. Dolly Parton by Squarespace (2021)


The anniversary of the legendary movie and the song by Dolly Parton was enough reason for the company, the website building platform, to perform it backward for its ad in the Super Bowl. The song was very catchy, but something was not quite right about the overall message. Working for a designated time on your side hustle with the help of the website to show it off was a good idea on paper. But this was a time of economic hardship for most individuals due to the pandemic. So, working the whole night on another job while doing their regular ones was not a great message during the Super Bowl.


2. Bruce Springsteen by Jeep (2021)


This was a commercial that was more like a public service announcement for people to rally together. The ad featuring Bruce Springsteen irked a lot of people who viewed it during the Super Bowl. The emotion was great. But since it was a fractured and stressful time, the ad just did not strike the right chord. Also, when the commercial was released, the singer was charged with drunken driving, and the commercial was not aired for some time. This was a classic case of an ad that had great intentions but not so good execution.


3. Will Ferrell in Norway by General Motors (2021)


It was not a great thought to create a face-off between the two countries. But this is what happened in this ad when Will Ferrell found out that Norway has a higher usage of electric cars than in the United States of America. So, he takes a journey on his General Motors electric car to Norway to challenge its citizens. But he finds out that he has landed in Sweden instead. The commercial was criticized for missing the humor that it was attempting to get by a big margin. It even evidenced a sarcastic response from a university in Norway.


4. Smart Meets Sexy by GoDaddy (2013)


The web hosting firm got a little cringey with the overall theme. There were some awkward moments in households across the nation as they saw a passionate kiss between the geek Jesse Heiman and supermodel Bar Rafaeli. This awkwardness was what the ad was trying to portray. But fans thought that it was a little too awkward for their liking.


5. Lemmings by Apple (1985)


After producing one of the best commercials in the Super Bowl in the previous year, the firm continued with the theme with a dark scene of blindfolded corporates humming the classic work tune as they walk themselves off a cliff. They placed their Macintosh computer as the only solution to not being a lemming. After so many years, the ad seems quite dramatic and preachy. Even all those years ago, the ad could not capture the originality and power of the original version.



Great success or overall failure are the two options when it comes to the Super Bowl commercials that are aired during one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year. As the years go by, the costs of producing and presenting each Super Bowl commercial get more and more. Watching the commercials is as good as watching the Super Bowl itself for many fans and marketers alike.


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