Best Super Bowl Adverts of all Time

 In general, I prefer my footballs round, not egg shaped. And I prefer my athletes slight and skilful, not armour-wearing beasts.

But despite my inclination for the world’s most popular sport (and its sensibly shaped sporting equipment), it’s undeniable that the annual Super Bowl is a monumental occasion, especially for advertisers.

In 2013 the average cost of a 30 second Super Bowl TV advert was a ludicrous $4 million. Yet when the average audience of 2013’s event was 108.7 MILLION viewers, you can understand why such a brief advertising opportunity is so highly prized, pricey and widely talked about. Particularly as our age of viral videos and social media sharing means an advert shown once has the potential to bounce around the internet for years to come.

So putting aside my football/soccer prejudices, we decided to curate a countdown of some of the most noteworthy Super Bowl adverts ever. Looking at social media shares and YouTube views as well as the more traditional indicators of cultural impact like longevity. We’ve missed plenty of significant examples, but these are a few of the most important and interesting.

Volkswagen: The Force (2011) You can’t argue with the figures; 5.24 million social shares and over 68 million views makes this the most popular Super Bowl advert of all time, hands down!


Apple: 1984 “And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984’”. It’s an absolutely brilliant tag line – and a clear indication of the bold and rebellious advertising risks Apple would use for decades to come. Not many people would try to introduce their futuristic computer using imagery of George Orwell’s terrifying, dystopian future. Yet it possibly achieved more for the brand than any Super Bowl ad, before or since. Plus, it was directed by none other than Ridley Scott.


Budweiser: 9/11 Tribute* (2002) This ad was literally aired once – so as not to be seen as making the company money (unlike some of these tribute failures). In the process Budweiser created a touching commercial that has trended every September for the past 11 years and has been shared 3.34 million times on social networks and blogs. Impressive.


READ RELATED ARTICLE: Eulogising or Exploiting? Reactive Marketing Needs to be Careful


Budweiser: Brotherhood* (2013) The watery-flavoured beverage maker hit our list once again, achieving 2.73 million social shares with this tearjerker. It’s a classic bromance tale… Of a man and his horse.


Doritos: Pug Attack (2011) & Casket (2010) These two ads from Doritos achieved a staggering level of success, even more staggering seeing as they had such huge success twice in a row! Hitting 36 million and 50 million views respectively, their slapstick approach clearly went down well with the American public.


And to top it all off, here’s an example of memorable Super Bowl marketing that didn’t require an extortionate TV spot to be hugely successful; Oreo in 2013 (via Twitter).


It’s an exemplary display of real-time marketing that took the digital world by storm.

Posted during a 34 minute power cut at Super Bowl XLVII, the cookie’s social media department jumped into action, tweeting an ad that read “Power Out? No problem” with an image of a single Oreo and the caption, “You can still dunk in the dark.”

The message caught on almost immediately, getting over 15,000 retweets and producing countless column inches on websites, blogs and newspapers in the immediate aftermath.

Scarlett Johansson’s SodaStream advert has already been banned this year for being “too sexy”, or something ludicrous, while there’s a huge amount of teasers online for 2014’s ads. Yes, you read that right. Teasers. For adverts. What is the world coming to?!

Let us know what you think will take the marketing world by storm at this year’s event or what should have been included in our list on Twitter @e_shot or @copywritertom.


*Budweiser could have made our list over and over again. We practically could have made an entirely Budweiser countdown. I mean, nobody could escape the frogs from 1995 could they?!

2014 Digital Marketing Predictions

There’s no psychics here at e-shot, although my colleague Pete did have an eerie case of déjà vu the other day. Nevertheless, we decided we know enough about digital media, and the way the winds are blowing, to back these five predictions for 2014. Agree or disagree? Let us know on Twitter @e_shot or @copywritertom.



Premonition 1: Mobile will grow.

Smart phone and tablet growth will continue on their seemingly unstoppable upward trajectory, and the faster email marketers react to this this better:

  • According to, tablet shipments are expected to grow by 53.4% in 2014.
  • Revenue per mobile click will be almost double that of a desktop click, according to Yesmail in their “Email marketing compass: consumer purchase behaviour” report.
  • The Radicati Group predict the number of mobile users will grow 28% in 2014 (and a further 23% in 2015).

However, according to Equinux, in June 2013 just under 12% of newsletters used responsive design techniques to optimise their layouts for mobile devices. Such a poor amount of responsive design needs to change for businesses to take advantage of the growing market.




2. Email will continue to be essential for marketing.

  • According to the experts at Reachmail, the number of people receiving and responding to email promotions may increase to 2.7 billion between now and 2017.
  • Uberflip report that companies spent 20% of their marketing budgets on email marketing in 2013, a figure that is projected to grow by another 10% in 2014.
  • Social media marketing will keep rising, and diversifying into arenas such as Snapchat, but nevertheless email will maintain its position as the bedrock of a brand’s campaign; the unifying format that ties together all other digital marketing strands.




3. Higher use of HTML5 & an elevated importance of the inbox.

The inbox will no longer be a place to navigate away from. Landing pages will be less relevant and video in email will become commonplace as part of the inbox experience.

  • According to a recent study by Email Monks, 58% of users can now see HTML5 video in their inboxes.

This opportunity will start to be seized upon by more forward-thinking, creative email marketers.

  • To get a head start, contact us today because e-shot can now provide video integration with your emails as a bolt-on service.




4. Greater personalisation capabilities and emerging location marketing.

Not only personalised “Hello, Tom” greetings at the start of emails (which should be standard if you use any respectable email marketing platform, such as e-shot). Instead, 2014 will see better ranges of tailored goods in emails.

  • 2014 will even see the budding emergence of geo-location features, mobile users triggering the display of deals and suitable content based on where in the world they are when they click open.
  • Websites adapted for customer’s habits and past transactions will become more common, beyond the trendsetters such as Amazon or Netflix.




5. Analytics will evolve and become even more valued.

With social media marketing, measuring your return and using analytics is a convoluted process. With content marketing it’s even less quantifiable. Email marketing is the one area of digital marketing where analytics are extremely useful, and ROI is clear. In 2014 this will become even more sophisticated and useful:

  • Companies such as CANDDi bring together different aspects of web analytics to produce information about individuals that browse your site and click-through from emails.
  • These newfound advancements in big-data analytics will become far more widely utilised, revolutionising lead-generation.
  • We will see more integration of these analytics platforms with email marketing software, meaning users have a complete package to track who is visiting a site, so that chasing sales becomes more intelligent than ever before.