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Iconic Super Bowl Ads

Super Bowl Commercials are always the talk of the office the day after the big game. And while I might not work in our creative team, so I will leave any critiques about cinematography or special effects to them, I will obviously be watching the game and ready to give my opinions on the ads, too. To get ready for this years ads, I decided to take a look back at a few campaigns that are so memorable and iconic that they become the bar that all other ads get held to. (Plus, a few personal favorites.)

“It’s a Tide Ad” Tide - Super Bowl LII (52) 2018.

Watch it here.

I would save the best for last, but this is one of my all-time favorite super bowl commercials. Tide found a way to mimic the norms for every style of popular commercial you see on TV and put them all into one focusing back on the fact that it is, indeed, still a Tide ad. The actor in this embodies each of the different style ads they’re looking to imitate, but also delivers sarcasm and comedy which always draws me in. I’m always up for a good laugh but with this Tide Ad, they covered all mainstream ad styles. The best part is, this was split up throughout the entire game when it originally aired so you would continue to think you were watching something other than a Tide ad. It’s not only clever, but it’s enjoyable to watch.

Terry Tate Office Linebacker - Reebok - Super Bowl XXXVII (37) 2003

Watch it here.

In this ad, Reebok brings in Terry Tate as the office linebacker and he administers pain and punishment to those who aren’t working hard or doing their jobs in this fictional office. This ad links football to the everyday office type environment. This iconic commercial was meant more for comedy but played on the idea of people who underachieve in and office being held accountable by Terry in a way that some office employees could only dream their HR departments would allow. I’m not 100% sure if this expensive super bowl spot increased sales for Reebok in 2003, but it definitely gave football fans another great commercial to watch and remember for years to come.

“Bye 80’s”- Radio Shack - Super Bowl XLVIII (48) 2014

Watch it here.

Radio Shack creatively laughs at themselves in their attempt to rebrand their stores to meet the current technological age. Consumers were becoming scarcer for Radio Shack and the stores themselves began to diminish all over. People felt that the electronics retail chain was stuck in place and not keeping up with the times. This commercial ranks among the top because of the simply awesome way they brought back people’s best memories and characters of the 80’s and jam packed them all into one 30 second ad. This nostalgic piece brought the whole decade back to life. Being born in 1991 this ad may have been more for my parents’ generation, but nonetheless was still extremely well done and from an 80’s culture standpoint, totally tubular.

“Hey Kid, Catch!” Mean Joe Greene - Coca-Cola - Super Bowl XIV (14) 1979/1980

Watch it here.

This has to be one of the most quintessential football ads of all-time. It contains a superstar athlete, a young fan, and of course an iconic brand… Coca-Cola. Many consider this to be the ad that paved the way for all the great Super Bowl ads we know and love today. Again, this was aired before my time but the fact that most people still remember this commercial shows the reach this ad had and will continue to have. People may not remember who Joe Greene was or be able to tell you all of his football accolades/stats… but they will remember the ad he appeared in. That alone is the reason companies today spend a fortune on these 30 second blocks of air time during the Super Bowl. They do it in hopes that they create something as timeless as this spot. With this being the predecessor of all Super Bowl ads, I felt it was only right to include it in my list.

“When I Grow Up” - - Super Bowl XXXIII (33) 1999

Watch it here.

This commercial isn’t necessarily the funniest or most iconic, but I feel it’s still very relevant today. is a website people used to find new jobs. In this ad kids talk about their aspirations of what they want to be when they grow up. However, the ironic twist to this spot is the kids are giving answers that are underwhelming and sad as if they all aspired to be in dead-end jobs. Although the irony here is meant to be funny, the message rings true for people who do feel stuck in their current jobs and is intended to motivate people to look for a new job that makes them happy. Almost 20 years later, the message holds true. Having just joined the PEG team, I can relate to this one on a personal level. Even though I didn’t use, being happy at your job makes it feel like you don’t work a day in your life. I’m happy to say, I feel I’ve found that now. Either way, this ad was one that likely reached several viewers and made an impact and continues to do so. I hope you guys enjoyed my list, I’m upset with myself for not including a Doritos ad, but we all know those are epic. What did you think about this list? I’ve also included a few honorable mentions. Enjoy the big game, be safe and hopefully there will be new amazing Super Bowl commercials to add to the list this year.

Honorable Mentions:

Budweiser “Wassup” Volkswagen “The Force” And have to have  a classic Clydesdale commercial  


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