7 Of The Most Iconic Super Bowl Half-Time Ads

Are you ready for some football? Super Bowl Sunday is not just about the game; it’s also about the halftime show! The halftime show usually has the biggest stars in the music industry performing and making cameos. But it’s not just the performances that capture our attention – the halftime ads have also become an integral part of Super Bowl lore. 

These ads, often costing millions of dollars to produce and air, have become a showcase for creativity, humor, and even controversy. You probably remember quite a few of them, but let’s enjoy a look back at some of the most iconic ads over the years!

Apple’s “1984” (1984)

Let’s start with a classic that changed the game – Apple’s “1984” commercial. Aired during Super Bowl XVIII in 1984, this ad introduced Apple’s revolutionary Macintosh computer to the world. Directed by Ridley Scott, the ad is a dystopian vision of a society controlled by “Big Brother,” inspired by George Orwell’s novel “1984.” 

The ad ends with a sledgehammer-wielding woman smashing a screen displaying Big Brother, symbolizing Apple’s mission to break free from the conformity of the technology industry. The ad made a bold statement and was a watershed moment in Super Bowl advertising, setting the bar for creativity and storytelling in commercials for years to come.

Coca-Cola’s “Mean Joe Greene” (1979)

Sometimes, a simple act of kindness can leave a lasting impact. Coca-Cola’s “Mean Joe Greene” ad, aired during Super Bowl XIV in 1979, tells the heartwarming story of a young boy who offers a Coke to a grumpy Pittsburgh Steelers football player, “Mean” Joe Greene.

In return, Greene tosses the boy his jersey, showing a softer side to his tough persona. This ad resonated with viewers, and the image of the boy and Greene sharing a Coke has become one of the most iconic moments in Super Bowl ad history, reminding us of the power of human connection. The ad actually took days to film for a reason you may not have known!

Budweiser’s “Whassup?” (1999)

In the late 90s, “Whassup?” became a cultural phenomenon, and Budweiser capitalized on its popularity with a hilarious Super Bowl ad. Aired during Super Bowl XXXIV in 1999, the ad features a group of friends greeting each other with a simple “Whassup?” on the phone, which quickly escalates into a hilarious and exaggerated exchange. 

The ad’s catchphrase “Whassup?” became a pop culture phenomenon. The ad is remembered for its humor and relatability, making it one of the most memorable Super Bowl ads ever.

Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” Campaign (2006-2016)

Doritos took a unique approach to Super Bowl advertising with its “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign, which ran for ten years from 2006 to 2016. The campaign invited fans to create their own Doritos commercials and submit them for a chance to have their ad aired during the Super Bowl. 

The winning ads were selected through online voting, and the campaign resulted in some of the most entertaining and memorable Super Bowl ads. From a pug bribing a man with Doritos to a baby in a time machine, the “Crash the Super Bowl” ads were known for their creativity, humor, and unpredictability, proving that sometimes, the best ads come from the fans themselves.

Volkswagen’s “The Force” (2011)

Volkswagen’s “The Force” ad, aired during Super Bowl XLV in 2011, captured the hearts of viewers with its heart-warming story and adorable protagonist. The ad features a young boy dressed as Darth Vader from Star Wars trying to use “the force” on various objects around his house, including the family’s Volkswagen Passat. 

When his father remotely starts the car, the boy is thrilled, thinking he has finally mastered the force. The unique ad set a precedent for the 2010s and saw more creativity and money invested into the halftime shows/ads. Money has become more important in the American Football world, which is why many fans look for NFL odds before the Super Bowl and other NFL games so that they can make some bets to make the games more interesting!

Pepsi’s “Pepsi Generations” (1992)

In 1992, Pepsi gathered some of the most iconic celebrities of the time for its “Pepsi Generations” ad, aired during Super Bowl XXVI. The ad features a star-studded cast, including Michael Jackson, Cindy Crawford, and others, dancing and singing along to a catchy jingle.

The ad’s high-energy performance, celebrity cameos, and memorable jingle made it a standout moment during the Super Bowl halftime show, and it remains one of the most iconic and memorable ads in Super Bowl history.

Snickers’ “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” (2010)

Snickers’ “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign has become a staple of Super Bowl advertising, with several memorable ads aired during various Super Bowls. The campaign features people acting out of character due to hunger, only to transform into their normal selves after eating a Snickers bar. The campaign gave Snickers a lot of success over the next decade or so, and the phrasing is probably something you remember well!

The ads often feature celebrities, such as Betty White and Danny Trejo, and are known for their humorous and unexpected twists. Snickers’ “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” ads have become a fan favorite, showcasing the power of humor and relatability in Super Bowl advertising.