Throwback Thursday: Iconic Super Bowl Ads

The Super Bowl is fast approaching and while not everyone will be watching the big game, it’s safe to say that many will tune in just for the commercials. Many of you may have already seen a few of them, like this Budweiser spot or this one from Buffalo Wild Wings featuring Mississippi’s own Bret Favre.

Here’s a look at a few iconic and ground breaking Super Bowl spots from yesteryear, and we’d love for you to tweet, share and comment below with some of your favorites.

First up, this pup was all the rage in the 1980s and the campaign led to more than just selling a product. Posters, tv guest appearances, a clothing line and MTV Music videos (Funky Cold Medina anyone?), nothing seemed to be able to keep Spuds Mackenzie down.

Spuds Mackenzie

Spuds Mackenzie

First appearing in 1987, Spuds was an immediate rock star, and a great example of the Super Bowl Commercial rule of success – animals always do well.

The folks over at Beer Can Collectibles have a huge archive of classic 80s Spuds t-shirts and more for a trip down memory lane.

Spuds Mackenzie

Spuds Mackenzie

Spuds was an undeniable phenomenon for the Bud Light brand and the tone opened up the possibilities for a few other iconic Bud brand mascots – The Bud Weiser Er Frogs, The Wasssup guys and more. Pro-tip, keep your eyes out during Super Bowl LI if you were a fan of Spuds Mackenzie.

Next up, Apple. Think Different was innovative, I’m a Mac was endearing, but Apple 1984 was groundbreaking.

With George Orwell’s 1984 being a best seller again, it’s worth a look back at this ad for the simple brilliance in the message it wanted to share, resist the norm. Apple’s 1984 was the herald of the era of Macintosh computers which would lead to the technology tree that changed the world. Fun fact it was directed by Ridley Scott.

Ted Friedman, in his 2005 text, Electric Dreams: Computers in American Culture, notes the impact of the commercial:

“Super Bowl viewers were overwhelmed by the startling ad. The ad garnered millions of dollars worth of free publicity, as news programs rebroadcast it that night. It was quickly hailed by many in the advertising industry as a masterwork. Advertising Age named it the 1980s Commercial of the Decade, and it continues to rank high on lists of the most influential commercials of all time […] ‘1984’ was never broadcast again, adding to its mystique.” Via wikipedia

Not every Super Bowl commercial is the same and thanks to social media, not every Super Bowl commercial is even planned. Some are sent out 140 characters at a time. Enter Oreo – Milk’s Favorite Cookie.

Think back to the middle ages of social media, or as we like to call it – 2013. Twitter was on the rise, brands were catching on and users were enjoying unprecedented access to their favorite brands and celebrities.

The setting for this Twitter-storm was Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans Louisiana. During the 3rd quarter of the game a technical issue caused the Superdome to have a lights out blackout for just over 30 minutes. During the outing the team over at Oreo was monitoring online conversations in real-time and decided to make a move. Creating one of the most iconic tweets of all time titled simply. “You can still dunk in the dark”.

Oreo You Can Dunk in the Dark

Oreo You Can Dunk in the Dark

The results were huge – and created without the million dollar budget of a televised commercial.
Over 15,000 retweets – 20,000 Facebook shares and countless water cooler discussions highlight why sometimes it pays to be ready, and a bit fearless.

There are hundreds of ads that make the phenomenon of Super Bowl commercials special and these are just a few of them, so the question is what are your favorites? Old Spice guy? Volkswagen Darth Vader? Share your favorites and stay tuned for our review of the best and worst Super Bowl LI ads.

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