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Big Game, Bigger Impact: Top Super Bowl Commercials According to Cadent Employees

By Christina Nuti
02/09/24 3 MIN READ

Once a year, viewers tune in to watch the most unique, innovative, and iconic commercials on TV. Oh, and there is a football game to watch, too. All jokes aside, ads that make that big of an impact come with an equally big price tag. Super Bowl commercials now cost $7M for 30 seconds of airtime, before production costs. For Super Bowl LVII, Fox reported $600M of total ad revenue. Despite the investment, the reason why brands keep coming back is that, with a household rating of 40.0, Super Bowl spots drive not only brand recognition but the priceless emotional buy-in from consumers.  

Learn more about what makes NFL games some of the best programs for reach. 

To get ready for this year’s big game, we asked our employees what their favorite Super Bowl commercials were from 2010 and on. Let’s look at the ads they voted for the top three and what elements made their ads the most memorable.  

1. Puppy Love, Budweiser (2014)  

Starting with number one, it’s no surprise that 10 years later, “Puppy Love” has remained an all-time favorite. Created by the agency Anomaly, the spot Puppy Love aimed (and was quite successful) at tugging at the viewers’ heartstrings. It features the unlikely friendship between a loveable lab puppy and a Clydesdale horse, showing all the things they could do together as #BestBuds. The brand hints were subtle, with only a Clydesdale and the logo on a baseball cap, to keep the audience guessing until the Budweiser brand was revealed at the end. According to Adweek, the ad “not only topped the USA Today Ad Meter when it ran in 2014, but it also led TiVo’s list of the top Super Bowl ads of all time in 2016—with Entrepreneur praising it as ‘distinct’ and ‘emotional.’” 

2. The Man Your Man Could Smell Like, Old Spice (2010)

The Wieden Kennedy-produced commercial was a Super Bowl ad that never actually aired during the big game. The spot was pulled at the last minute and instead ran right after the game but went viral online for being witty for its use of deadpan humor. The ad features former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa, imitating a superhero-style voice, as he addresses the women in the audience. In the interactive ad, Isaiah goes from a bathroom scene to ending up on a horse, all the while echoing the message that if your man smelled like Old Spice, anything could be possible. Upon its release, the ad held eight of the top 11 most popular videos on YouTube and went on to win the Grand Prix award at that year’s Cannes Lions. 

3. You’re Not You When You’re Hungry, Snickers (2010) 

Coming in third, we have the unforgettable Snickers commercial starring Betty White and created by BBDO. The commercial garnered attention for being hilarious, outrageous, and inventive. It starts with a pick-up football game when suddenly Betty White gets tackled into a mud puddle. The viewer is left scratching their head as the team huddles to tell Betty (aka “Mike”) that he’s “playing like Betty White.” That is until he eats a Snickers bar, at which point, he starts playing like himself again. The ad concludes with the unveiling of their then-new slogan, “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” According to Ad Age, “The White spot inaugurated a campaign that turned Snickers into the No. 1 candy bar…And in 2020, the commercial topped USA Today’s Ad Meter as the best Super Bowl campaign of the last 25 years.” 

Cadent at the Center of Your NFL Strategy

As you plan for next year’s big game, consider how Cadent can curate NFL audiences and deliver your ads within premium supply from leading publishers across the linear and digital landscape. 

Ready to activate on data-driven TV and leverage the power of the big game next season?