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The Legacy of Super Bowl Ads: Analyzing Campaigns that Changed the Game


The Super Bowl, an annual spectacle that transcends sports, has become synonymous with more than just touchdowns and field goals. For advertisers, it’s an opportunity to showcase their creativity, innovation, and storytelling prowess on one of the world’s biggest stages. Super Bowl ads have evolved into a cultural phenomenon, creating a legacy that extends far beyond the game itself. This article delves into the legacy of Super Bowl ads, examining campaigns that not only left a lasting impression but also changed the advertising game.

The Evolution of Super Bowl Advertising:

Super Bowl commercials have come a long way since the first game in 1967, when a 30-second spot cost a modest $42,000. Over the years, advertisers recognized the enormous viewership and began using the platform to launch memorable and often groundbreaking campaigns. The evolution of Super Bowl advertising reflects broader trends in marketing, creativity, and cultural relevance.

Analyzing Game-Changing Campaigns:

Apple’s “1984” (1984):

Regarded as one of the greatest commercials of all time, Apple’s “1984” introduced the Macintosh computer during Super Bowl XVIII. Directed by Ridley Scott, the ad took inspiration from George Orwell’s novel and depicted a dystopian future dominated by conformity. This iconic spot not only showcased Apple’s innovation but also set a new standard for Super Bowl advertising by leveraging storytelling and cinematic elements.

Budweiser’s “Whassup?” (2000):

Sometimes, a simple catchphrase can resonate profoundly. Budweiser’s “Whassup?” campaign in 2000 became a cultural phenomenon, transcending the Super Bowl and permeating popular culture. The humorous and relatable nature of the ad not only boosted Budweiser’s brand but also demonstrated the power of creating a connection with the audience through humor and simplicity.

Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” (2007-2016):

In a bold move, Doritos handed the reins to its customers with the “Crash the Super Bowl” contest. This campaign invited consumers to create their own Doritos commercials, with the winning entries broadcast during the Super Bowl. By engaging the audience directly in the creative process, Doritos not only generated a buzz but also tapped into the growing trend of user-generated content, influencing the way brands interact with their customers.

Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” (2010):

Old Spice reinvented its image with a hilarious and memorable ad featuring Isaiah Mustafa. The campaign’s clever writing, rapid-fire editing, and Mustafa’s charismatic performance not only revitalized the brand but also demonstrated the power of viral marketing. Old Spice successfully leveraged social media to extend the life of the campaign, proving that Super Bowl ads could have a sustained impact beyond the game itself.

Always’ “Like a Girl” (2015):

Breaking away from traditional Super Bowl ad themes, Always delivered a powerful message with “Like a Girl.” The campaign challenged stereotypes and ignited conversations about gender equality. By addressing social issues, Always showcased the potential for Super Bowl ads to be a platform for meaningful discussions, prompting brands to consider the impact of their messages on a broader societal level.


The legacy of Super Bowl ads extends beyond the game, leaving an indelible mark on the advertising industry and popular culture. These campaigns not only entertained millions but also showcased the power of creativity, storytelling, and social relevance. As advertisers continue to push boundaries and experiment with new approaches, the Super Bowl remains a proving ground for campaigns that have the potential to change the game and shape the future of advertising. For fans eager to experience the thrill of the halftime show and the game in person, securing tickets is a crucial step; find more information at TicketSmarter about how to be part of this unforgettable event.