What are the Best Super Bowl Ads Ever? Everyone's Got a Favorite or Two, We've Got 15

Posted on January 18, 2018

Here at Simian, we’ve been busy through the fall and into the winter making constant improvements to our products and features. We’ve also been working on Sawt, our sister service, which is growing every week.

Sawt is the place to find new video from around the world, to search for commercials or online video content by brand or director and to generally stay in touch with trends and promote your work and your company. It’s free to join and offers a wide range of benefits – one of which will include browsing all the Super Bowl spots for this year’s big game!

To help call attention to our Super Bowl offering, the crew at Sawt stuck their collective necks out and selected their Top 15 Super Bowl Ads of All Time! We’re sure a few of your favorites made this list, and quite possibly more than few didn’t. We’d love to know what you think, so sign up for Sawt now and feel free to comment or share. (Clicking on the frame grabs will take you to a landing page where you can join for free!)

Now for those picks:

Number 15: Diet Pepsi "Uh Huh"

Diet Pepsi 'Uh Huh'

Diet Pepsi’s “Uh Huh” was a big-budget musical take on the popular Ray Charles campaign in which someone tried to sneak him something other than a Diet Pepsi. It’s where “you’ve got the right one, baby!” originated. Created by BBDO, it’s one of two Joe Pytka-directed spots on our list.

Number 14: Xerox "Monks"

Xerox 'Monks'

Xerox’s “Monks,” from 1976, takes our hard-working friar, Brother Dominic, and sends him to Xerox to make multiple copies of the sacred texts. It’s an early example of using the Super Bowl for what’s essentially a business-to-business marketing push.

Number 13: Budweiser "Football"

Budweiser 'Football'

Budweiser’s “Football,” directed by Antony Hoffman, was one of the first of Bud’s Super Bowl spots to focus on the brand’s iconic Clydesdales as the stars of the show.  They pop up more than once on this list.

Number 12: Budweiser "Frogs"

Budweiser 'Frogs'

Budweiser’s “Frogs,” which debuted in 1995, helped make Bud a Super Bowl Top Picks mainstay. Directed by Gore Verbinski (who later went on to make the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films), it set the stage for the brand’s talking lizards, who came later.

Number 11: Volkswagen "The Force"

Volkswagen 'The Force'

VW’s “The Force” caused a sensation when it ran in 2011, mostly thanks to the marvelous performance of the little kid wearing the Darth Vader costume. (The John Williams soundtrack didn’t hurt, either.) Directed by Lance Accord, it was created by Deutsch.

Number 10: Snickers "Betty White"

Snickers 'Betty White'

Snickers’ “Betty White” caught on quickly, and before you knew it, there was a movement to draft the 89-year old star to host “Saturday Night Live,” which she did, later that year. Debuting in 2010, it was directed by Craig Gillespie and created by BBDO.

Number 9: Budweiser "Puppy Love"

Budweiser 'Puppy Love'

Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” is the ‘aww, ain’t that cute’ high point on our list. Debuting in 2014 and directed by Jake Scott (making the Scotts one of the few father-son Super Bowl directing duos in the event’s history), it was created by Anomaly.

Number 8: Noxzema “Noxzema with Farrah”

Noxzema 'Noxzema with Farrah'

Noxzema’s “Noxzema with Farrah” is a 1970s relic of a more innocent time. Here, NFL bad-boy Joe Namath, still a sex symbol, is lathered up with the product by an unknown young actress named Farrah Fawcett.  Imagine trying to pull this off today.

Number 7: Electronic Data Systems “Cat Herders”

Electronic Data Systems 'Cat Herders'

Electronic Data System’s “Cat Herders” was a big hit in 2000. Created by Fallon and directed by John Hagen of Hungry Man, it used the old ‘like herding cats’ metaphor, only this time taken to an absurdly literal length, to show off the brand’s Svengali-like ability to manage, well, data.

Number 6: Budweiser “Wassup!”

Budweiser 'Wassup!'

Budweiser’s “Wassup!” remains a true cross-over hit, with people still using the exaggerated greeting as a form of ‘what’s happening?’ Adapted from a short film written and directed by Charles Stone III, it was re-shot in the form of a Bud commercial and appeared in 2000. Downtown Partners was the agency.

Number 5: Tabasco “Mosquito"

Tabasco 'Mosquito'

Tabasco’s “Mosquito” spot still makes us laugh, even though the hot sauce and condiment world has changed so much since this spot, created by DDB Needham, ran back in 1998.  Makes us wonder, where is this pizza-loving guy these days?

Number 4: McDonald’s “The Showdown”

McDonald’s 'The Showdown'

McDonald’s “The Showdown,” from 1993, remains one of best-remembered ads in Super Bowl history. Directed by Joe Pytka and created by Leo Burnett, it features NBA greats Larry Bird and Michael Jordan in an epic game of HORSE, and as Bird says, “the first one to miss watches the winner eat.”

Number 3: Budweiser “Respect”

Budweiser 'Respect'

Budweiser’s “Respect” ran in 2002, just months after the attacks on 9/11, and it reveals the difficult sensitivities advertisers faced at the time. Directed by Zach Snyder, it was created by Anomaly.

Number 2: Apple “1984”

Apple '1984'

Apple’s “1984” re-defined what Super Bowl advertising has since become: high profile, full of impact and scrutinized by everyone. But back when this ran in 1984, it was first and foremost shocking. Everyone in advertising remembers how they felt the first time they saw it.

Number 1: Coca-Cola “Mean Joe Greene”

Coca-Cola 'Mean Joe Greene'

Coke’s “Mean Joe Greene,” created by McCann Erickson, ran on the big game back in 1979, during the brand’s “Have a Coke and a smile!” days. The spot has since achieved legendary status.

So whattaya think? Like our selections? Think we’re crazy? Think you can do better? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook! Remember, Sawt members get access to our growing archive of spots and content creator videos, they get our weekly Sawt & Found teaser email and they’ll be able to see all the Super Bowl ads from this year’s big game. If you haven’t already joined, do it now and you can search spots, upload your work, promote your brand and become super-famous in the process.