Bud Light’s “The Bud Knight” in a crossover ad with HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones X Bud Light
Every year, brands try to outwit each other with their Super Bowl commercials.But some ads leave a more indelible impression than others.From Apple to Amazon, here’s our list of the most unforgettable Super Bowl commercials of all time.
But off the field, brands like Starry and Popeyes will attempt to win the prize for the most memorable Super Bowl commercial.
While we wait to see which ads come out on top, it’s as good a time as any to take a walk down memory lane.
Here are 20 of the Super Bowl ads we thought were the most unforgettable, thanks to their heartwarming, funny, sad, or downright weird concepts.
The ad in which the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Joe Greene drinks a little boy’s Coke became so popular that it spurred an NBC TV movie based on the ad and international versions, such as some featuring soccer star Diego Maradona.
Wendy’s has been taking potshots at McDonald’s since 1984, but this jab was perhaps one of its most successful, helping the fast-food brand boost its revenue by 31% that year, the Associated Press reported in 1987, according to The New York Times.
Apple’s much-hailed yet very bizarre commercial from 1984 was technically the very first viral ad, making Super Bowl commercials a true phenomenon — Forbes called it “The Ad That Changed The Super Bowl.”
The ad aired only once, but it was replayed on news channels across the world for weeks and contributed to the sale of about $150 million worth of Macintoshes in barely three months.
Talk about a return on investment.
This 1992 ad worked so well that Pepsi brought Crawford back for 2018’s Super Bowl.
It capitalized on the supermodel’s popularity while turning viewers’ attention to Pepsi’s newly redesigned can.
This 1993 ad — while ludicrous — pitted rivals Larry Bird and Michael Jordan against each other for a Big Mac and became an instant hit.
It not only popularized a basketball saying “nothing but net” during the biggest football game of the year, but also led to many a remake.
This hard-hitting ad by agency MullenLowe in 1999 featured children sharing the gripes of unhappy employees.
It instantly struck a chord and cemented Monster.com’s position as a job-search player.
Trading platform E-Trade’s 2010 spot featuring a dancing monkey was a lesson in subversive advertising and ridiculed the insane cost of running a Super Bowl ad … while simultaneously driving home the brand’s premise of helping users make the most of their money.
This 2007 spot was the first ever crowdsourced Super Bowl spot, AdAge reported, and it let Doritos cut costs while engaging some of its most loyal customers.
This 2010 spot featuring a then-88-year-old Betty White was where Snickers’ now-familiar “You’re not you when you’re hungry” tagline was born.
It became a viral hit. More major stars, like Robin Williams, appeared in later versions.
This 2011 endearing spot by Volkswagen features a kid reprising the role of Darth Vader.
It went viral right after being released and has received tens of millions of views since.
What do you get when you put an adorable golden retriever puppy and a majestic Clydesdale horse in one frame? A heartwarming romance.
Budweiser is a brand that has always aced the Super Bowl, but this iconic ad from 2014 was perhaps its crowning glory.
Set to the tune of Passenger’s “Let Her Go,” this cute story spotlighting the friendship between the two animals racked up tens of millions of views online and became instantly memorable.
By recasting a phrase often used as an insult as an empowering message, the award-winning Procter and Gamble spot won hearts everywhere.
Although a continuation of a campaign that began the previous summer, the spot stood out among a sea of hyper-masculine ads and won praise for changing the conversation about what it means to run, throw, and do pretty much anything “like a girl.”
Since then, P&G has continued to take stands on important issues, with its Gillette “We Believe” ad being another example.
In 2017, Honda’s unforgettable ad brought Super Bowl viewers a blast from the past with animated yearbook photos of celebrities like Amy Adams, Missy Elliott, Jimmy Kimmel, and Viola Davis to remind everyone of the value of chasing their dreams and believing in themselves.
Tide hit a home run in 2018 with a series of Super Bowl ads featuring “Stranger Things” star David Harbour interrupting other memorable ads — like the Old Spice guy — to proclaim that, technically, every ad qualifies as a Tide ad.
Amazon’s star-studded 90-second spot in the 2018 Super Bowl had people buzzing days before the big game and was an instant recipe for success.
It featured a host of celebrities, including Rebel Wilson, Gordon Ramsay, Anthony Hopkins, and even Amazon’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos.
Game of Thrones X Bud Light
In what turned out to be one of the biggest Super Bowl surprises ever, HBO hijacked Bud Light’s Super Bowl ad in 2019 to tout the final season of Game of Thrones, giving fans a weird crossover of the hit show and Dilly Dilly.
Fans were caught off guard, social media went crazy, and the two brands clocked one of the biggest Super Bowl successes.
MC Hammer, a popular ’90s rapper, leaned on his 1990 classic “U Can’t Touch This” to sell Cheetos Popcorn in an ad that played on the common experience of “Cheetos fingers.” The appeal to nostalgia definitely worked, as the ad ranked 10th overall in 2020’s USA Today Ad Meter contest, in which panelists rate and rank Super Bowl commercials.
Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, and Jake from State Farm compared stand-ins in this 2021 spot from State Farm Insurance. The hilarious ad made a pretty convincing case that if Drake ever needs a break from music, returning to his acting roots to star as “Drake from State Farm” could be a great backup option.
Even Hulu had to get in on the action, commenting, “started with khaki bottoms now we’re here” on X (formerly known as Twitter) in reference to Drake’s hit song “Started From the Bottom.”
Guy Fieri teamed up with Bud Light for his first Super Bowl ad appearance to bring viewers to “The Land of Loud Flavors.” The celebrity chef boasted about the taste of Bud Light Seltzer Hard Soda, declaring the drink had “the loudest flavors of all time.”
The Farmer’s Dog
In 2023, the Farmer’s Dog told the heartwarming story of a girl, Ava, growing up with her dog, Bear. As adult Ava croons “I’m gonna love you forever” from Lee Fields’ song “Forever” to an aging Bear, the company reminds us that “Nothing matters more than more years together.”
The ad resonated with Super Bowl audiences, winning USA Today’s 35th Ad Meter competition. Over 150,000 participants were asked to rate every Super Bowl ad on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest), USA Today reported. The Farmer’s Dog took home the top spot with an average rating of 6.56.