Evolution of Super Bowl commercials

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia via Creative Commons

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia via Creative Commons

Samantha Miller, Staff

It’s the time of year when the NFL fans get pumped for the most important game of the season – the Super Bowl. This year, the New England Patriots are back for the eighth time, while the Atlanta Falcons are back for their second. However, not everyone watches for the football. The people who aren’t sports fanatics prefer to stay to watch the commercials that occur every year. These commercials are well-known for being extremely entertaining, due to the fact that more people are watching. Over the years, they have become more witty and clever. This year, the cost to air a commercial during this time is going to be in the range from $5.5 million to $5.7 million. No wonder these cost so much – if they are truly marvelous, they will be remembered for a long time. These next few commercials are examples of that, and they have evolved as time has gone on. Starting in 1979, these unforgettable ads shape the history of Super Bowl commercials.

1979: “Mean Joe Greene” (Coca-Cola)

In this ad, Joe Greene, former member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, is shown meeting a fan. The kid tells him how much he admires the athlete, but he doesn’t seem to care. The kid offers him a bottle of coke, which he takes, and it causes him to be happy and a lot nicer to the kid. This advertises their product by showing that coke can make people happy.

1984: The Macintosh Ad (Apple)

This ad shows a bunch of men dressed in dull colors who all look exactly the same and are performing the same action; they are walking in unison towards a screen with Big Brother on it. A woman, who is dressed in vivid clothing, is holding a sledgehammer and running towards the screen. She throws it at the screen, causing all men to be in shock, but also causing them to be free. This commercial says that the Apple Macintosh will make the year like none of the other years before it. The woman represents the Macintosh, while the men represent the “dull” years before it.

1992: Cindy Crawford’s Ad (Pepsi)

This ad starts with two kids outside of what seems like a gas station. They watch as a car pulls up and professional model Cindy Crawford steps out of it. They watch as she buys a Pepsi from a vending machine and instead of focusing on her, are amazed by the can of Pepsi. When asked by Fox News about the commercial, Crawford said, “And then that line that they’re not really watching me. They’re just looking at the can. I thought that was very clever.”

1993: “The Showdown” (McDonalds)

This ad shows star athlete Michael Jordan bringing a Big Mac to the gym. Another star athlete, Larry Bird challenges him to a shoot-off. The shots get more and more complicated through each round as they start in front of the rim and end up on top of the building. This represents how in demand Big Macs were (and still are now).

2010: Betty White’s Ad (Snickers)

This is the ad where American actress Betty White is playing football with a bunch of men. One of them ends up tackling her and she is told that “she is playing like Betty White”. A woman gives her a snickers bar, and she turns into a younger man or “his real self.” Snickers used this tactic to make it look like the candy makes the consumer looks younger.


2011: “The Force” (Volkswagen)

In this Star Wars themed ad, a young boy is dressed as Darth Vader and is trying to use “the force” to move household objects. He is unsuccessful; however, he sees his father come home from work. As his father enters the house, the kid tries again on his car. The engine starts, which surprises the kid, but his father is controlling it from inside of their house. Since Star Wars is a very well-known franchise, it brought popularity to the commercial and company.

2014: “Puppy Love” (Budweiser)

In this ad, a puppy escapes the adoption center and runs into the stables. It meets a horse, and the two are instantly best friends. The dog is found and returned to the adoption center, but continues to leave to see his friend. The dog is soon adopted, but the horses track down the woman who adopts him and chase her car as she dries away from the shelter. The ending result has the dog and horse living happily together. This commercial was so emotional and heartwarming that it is one of the most popular Super Bowl commercials of all time.


The Evolution

During the beginning of this time period, celebrities and athletes were often asked to take part so the popularity of the ad was boosted. Now, although that still takes place, internet trends are being focused on instead. Examples of this tactic were “The Force” or “Puppy Love.” However, many students think that the ads are getting worse. When asked on how she thought the commercials had changed, Sam Tolar, a freshman at BHS, says, “The commercials are now appealing to a wider audience than just the typical football fans. They are gradually getting more serious, with the quality going downhill as well.” Alaina Herman, another freshman at BHS, seems to slightly agree. “They haven’t changed too much, but they’re mostly just senseless.”  Although a trend may be happening, which these students may not like, this upcoming Super Bowl may change Super Bowl commercial history completely.