Friday Fives: Top Five Super Bowl Commercials Ever

Whether you’re a football fan or not, the research indicates that you will probably watch the Super Bowl on February 2. (Last year’s game earned a 48.1 Nielsen rating and a 71 share, with well over 100 million viewers in the US alone. It ended up as the most-watched TV event in U.S. history.) And, if you’re like many many folks, you’ll watch it for the commercials as much as for the game itself.

Of course, people always talk about which are the “best” commercials and it’s fun to argue their merits or otherwise. I frankly think the commercials for the last two Super Bowls have been a little disappointing.

But, for this Friday Fives, in preparation of the big game, I wanted the experts’ opinions. So, this week, Friday Fives presents the top five Super Bowl commercials of all time according to the ones who should know – the editors of Advertising Age. (Please note that I skipped the beer commercial that was Ad Age’s #5 – just a personal preference.)

Here are Ad Age’s five best:

#5: E-Trade Monkey.

The Year: 2000 – The St. Louis Rams beat the Tennessee Titans 23-16

Quick Note: Back when a 30-second commercial was “only” $2 million. E-Trade made a show of wasting the money. (Ads were over twice that much in 2013.)

#4. Coca-Cola Mean Joe Greene

The Year: 1980 – The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Los Angeles Rams, 34-19 (serendipitous for Coke).

The Story:  Like the spot at #1, this Clio Award winner is considered one of the greatest television commercials in history, Super Bowl or not. The little boy was played by Tommy Okon, now a 44 year-old father of four who owns a counter top company in Westchester, New York.

 #3 EDS – Cat Herders

The Year: 2000 – The St. Louis Rams beat the Tennessee Titans 23-16

The Story: The year 2000 can be considered the “Golden Year” of Super Bowl commercials with many of the classics airing during that game. Originally founded by Ross Perot, EDS is now owned by Hewlett-Packard.

#2 Monster – When I Grow Up

The Year: 1999 – The Denver Broncos beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-19.

The Story: This was Monster’s first Super Bowl ad and most agree that it put the company on the map.  It followed in several consecutive years with popular Super Bowl ads.

Before I get to number one, there aren’t many “Christian” Super Bowl ads, but if you remember the Super Bowl from 2010 (New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17), you remember one that, for some reason, caused quite a bit of controversy. It was Focus on the Family’s Tim Tebow commercial.

ABC explained the controversy:

Paid for by the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family, the ad tells the story of Bob and Pam Tebow, who was pregnant with their fifth child when the couple travelled to the Philippines on a missionary trip.

While there, Pam contracted amoebic dysentery and the medicines used for her recovery threatened her unborn fetus. Doctors advised her to abort the fetus. Pam ignored their advice and gave birth on Aug. 14, 1987, to a baby boy. That boy was Tim Tebow.

Yet, to watch the commercial four years later, it doesn’t seem that controversial.

#1 Apple – 1984

The Year: 1984 – The Los Angeles Raiders beat the Washington Redskins, 38-9

The Story: Airing only once in history, this is considered by many marketing experts to be not just the greatest Super Bowl commercial of all time, but one of the best period.



  1. I love that Dodge commercial! It wasn’t on Ad Age’s top 20 of all time, but it was on the top 5 for last year. Thanks for all you and your brothers and sisters do to feed my family!

  2. Love the list, would like to know where last year’s Dodge commercial with the Paul Harvey voice over “So God Made a Farmer” came in on the list.
    That one certainly caught the attention of the nation!