For me, the Super Bowl always has been an opportunity to hate being a Browns fan. But for many people not only across the country, but around the globe, the Super Bowl is a yearly cavalcade of corporate creativity — a string of million-dollar ads briefly interrupted by an occasionally exciting football game.
And when the ads are good, they’re great. In the days of yore, the best Super Bowl commercials would be water cooler discussion fodder — but now, their popularity is measured in YouTube hits. With the Super Bowl XLVI just a couple weeks away, now’s a good time to reflect on some of the biggest hits before the new brood takes over.
Dishonorable Mention: ETrade — Baby Girlfriend
It’s No. 13 in your shares (160,430), but last in my heart. McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) Ronald McDonald? Domino’s (NYSE:DPZ) Noid? No. None hold a candle to the ETrade (NASDAQ:ETFC) baby — bar-none the creepiest long-running mascot of all time, and my least favorite Super Bowl ad.
Honorable Mention: Coca-Cola — Hard Times
I’m no Simpsons fanboy, but you really don’t have to be to appreciate Coca-Cola‘s (NYSE:KO) animated Super Bowl commercial masterpiece. If you’ve ever popped open a cold glass bottle of Coca-Cola, you’ll get it. 73,679 shares put this at No. 19.
#5: Chrysler — ‘Imported from Detroit’
Detroit pride. Michigan pride. American pride. Depending on your sports allegiances, you might not be on board with all of that, but this popular Super Bowl commercial (416,595 shares) is part of Chrysler’s thus far successful campaign to reinvent itself.
#4: Doritos — Crash the Super Bowl 2010 Finalist, House Rules
PepsiCo‘s (NYSE:PEP) Frito-Lay division is responsible for Doritos, as well as many of its home-run commercials throughout the years. And slapstick is a regular formula for success — at 553,869 shares for this consumer-created Super Bowl ad.
#3: Fast Five Trailer
Pitch Black. The Chronicles of Riddick. As far as Vin Diesel goes, those are the only movies I’ll acknowledge. But The Fast and the Furious series was wildly popular, and the Super Bowl ad trailer for the fifth film was shared 883,827 times.
#2: Budweiser — 9/11 Tribute
99% of Super Bowl beer commercials are hilarious, but it was refreshing to see this 9/11 tribute ad — aired only once — as the top-shared Super Bowl beer commercial. Anheuser-Busch InBev‘s (NYSE:BUD) Budweiser Clydesdales hauled this to 2,085,018 shares.
#1: Volkswagen — The Force
There could be no other. Volkswagen (PINK:VLKAY), which also produced the hilarious “Sign Then Drive” commercials, released this Super Bowl ad gem that had every Star Wars fan with a pulse cheering at the end. One child’s descent into the dark side was good for 4,738,298 shares — and nearly 50 million views on YouTube.
— Kyle Woodley, IP.com Assistant Editor