Every year, millions of people tune in to watch one of the world’s biggest sporting events—the Super Bowl.
But for many, the Super Bowl is more than just football. It’s about over-the-top half-time shows and especially, the commercials.
Did you know that the average price of a 30-second Super Bowl ad is $5 million?
That’s a pretty high price to pay for someone’s attention span. Yet people still pay big bucks every year because it works.
Take Budweiser for instance. Last year, the beer brand increased their social engagement by almost 606% after launching Born The Hard Way. So $5 million (or more) might not be such a steep price to pay after all.
But Budweiser aren’t the only winners. Here’s 16 brands that gambled on the ad world’s most cherished time slot and came out on top.
1. Apple, 1984
“It was designed to have a life beyond the Super Bowl. That becomes almost part of the legend: Oh, the genius of just running it once on the Super Bowl.”
creative director at ChiatDay
2. Coca-Cola, Mean Joe Greene (1979)
“The ad was praised by people from all walks of life—not just football fans—who were touched by its heartwarming message.”
editor-in-chief at Coca-Cola
3. Nike, Michael Jordan & Bugs Bunny (1992)
“Each is an iconic figure and legend in his own right, but together Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan are an unbeatable combination on and off the court.”
president at Warner Bros. Consumer Products
4. Google, Parisian Love (2010)
“The best results don’t show up in a search engine, they show up in your life.”
executive creative director at Google Creative Lab
5. Old Spice, The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (2010)
“It quickly became a cultural phenomenon. We successfully found an execution that appealed to our core target (guys), but one that also allowed the brand to appeal for the first time to a female audience. We needed to keep that momentum going.”
planner at W+K
6. Volkswagen, The Force (2011)
“What was just a bunch of 30-, 60-second TV commercials, everybody now has turned this into a full-on social media integrated play. I don’t look at Super Bowl ads as TV commercials. The Super Bowl is a social media and PR phenomenon that has a number of integrated components in which one is a TV commercial.”
CEO of Deutsch North America
7. Dodge Ram, Farmer (2013)
“10 photographers capturing on their own terms the life of a farmer and rancher. All of us searching for meaningful images. Not any one photo rising above any others, but collectively voicing a message for folks and a vocation we have all really taken for granted. The last truly archetypical American worker.”
photographer for Farmer
8. Always, Like a Girl (2014)
“We set out to champion the girls who were the future of the brand. The hashtag was essential in rallying people to change the meaning of ‘like a girl’ by showing the world that it can mean amazing things.”
chief executive officer at Leo Burnett Canada
9. Go Pro, Red Bull Stratos (2014)
“The whole world is watching. I’m coming home now.”
skydiver & daredevil
10. Budweiser, Puppy Love (2014)
“No matter what business you are in, I always remember about connecting on an emotional level. It is paramount when thinking about a customer’s needs. For example, understanding Budweiser’s customer demographics and whom they were trying to touch in their message made me do a better job.”
actor in Puppy Love
11. Snickers, You’re Not Yourself When You’re Hungry (2015)
“The work was big, populist and famous, which got people talking about the brand.”
global head of strategy for Mars at BBDO
12. McDonald’s, Pay With Lovin’ (2015)
“We’re on a journey of transformation and a key part of that journey is how we engage with our customers. Pay With Lovin’ is a direct way for us to engage with our customers. We believe that a little more lovin’ can change a lot.”
Says Deborah Wahl,
chief marketing officer at McDonald's USA
13. Colgate, #EveryDropCounts (2016)
“Armed with a TV spot that won Cannes Lions, we began building a plan to leverage media in a unique way to raise awareness. The Super Bowl seemed like a perfect opportunity to gain mass awareness at a time when there is heightened adrenaline and emotions.”
account director at Red Fuse
14. Hyundai, First Date (2016)
“On the biggest advertising day of the year, we wanted to entertain Super Bowl fans with creative storytelling and relevant, popular celebrities, while showcasing the innovative technology features of our vehicles.”
chief marketing officer at Hyundai Motor America
15. #Pokemon20, Pokémon (2016)
“For 20 years, the Pokémon world has inspired fans to train hard and have fun. This ad is reflective of that passion, and I can’t think of a bigger stage to share this story than the Super Bowl.”
senior director of Consumer Marketing at The Pokémon Company
16. Campbell’s, This One’s for Mom (2016)
“We’ve told the story of the bond between mother and son before but we are taking the opportunity with this project to build something a bit more emotional.”
director, Global Digital Marketing & Innovation at Campbell's
Love ads? A few months ago we chatted with friends at brands like Buffer, Zapier and Outbrain to find out about their favorite ad campaigns.