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Official Article

Super Bowl Commercials

By: MissM

With Super Bowl just around the corner, there are many wonderful things happening on Sunday. There’s the food and the football. I’m not too keen on food right now as I am currently overcoming food poisoning or a stomach virus (I don’t know which) and I’ll be very honest, I know nothing about football. I don’t even know which teams are playing at the Super Bowl this weekend. I know how that sounds, but in my defense, I am more knowledgeable in the realm of She-Ra. However, I do know that the game is in New Jersey and Bruno Mars is the Half Time entertainment, so I do know some things. I’m not totally useless.


With all that said, there is one thing I greatly enjoy about Super Bowl weekend and that is all the commercials, which got me thinking about a topic for RetroDaze. While searching for beloved vintage Super Bowl commercials, I came across the realization that there are all kinds of commercials that I simply enjoy. So behold (in no particular order) some of my favorite commercials that may or may not have been aired during a Super Bowl.


Smartbeep (1999)

This is an edited version of the pager commercial, and it has to be seen in full edited glory. The commercial came out in 1999 and I remember laughing so hard when I saw this. It isn’t as funny as it used to be, but I love the expression on the guy’s face in the backseat. That alone is priceless. Check out the unedited version as well for the actual pager.


Did anyone have a pager? I remember those being such a big thing. I never had one but my dad did along with a plan to make exotic skinned cases for pagers. That plan (thankfully) never came to fruition.


Pepsi (1988)


I remember this one vividly. It was the only reason I was excited to watch the Super Bowl that year. Madonna and Pepsi. I didn’t care much for the Pepsi, but I was so excited to watch Madonna. Like a Prayer was one of those big songs for me as a kid and I just flipped out big time when this aired. I remember dancing as it played across the screen. It was just a magical slice of commercial.


McDonald’s (1985)


This is one of the more awkward commercials regarding the golden arches. It’s slightly creepy (she thinks he is interested in someone else, while he is interested in another fish: a fish sammich) and maybe one of the most offensive ads geared towards mermaids I have ever seen. (Just look at the face on the McDonald’s employee.) However, I do like that the model is giving off her best Goldie Hawn impression. This commercial came out in 1985 a year after the lovely movie Splash, so I can only imagine that this commercial was meant to be a tongue in cheek nod to the movie.  


Diet Pepsi (1987)


Pepsi has always made some great commercials, but this one with Michael J. Fox was really cute. He has always been endearing and his quest to find a pretty girl a Diet Pepsi results in what feels like a mini movie in under 2 minutes. Ah Michael J. Fox, he can simply do no wrong! This commercial really capitalized on his popularity at the time and it is still an enjoyable piece of marketing.


American Express (1998)


A commercial with Jerry Seinfield and Superman? That’s Super Bowl gold! Since Superman was my first nerd crush, I got a huge kick out of this commercial when it first aired in 1998. It’s always nice to see a combination of real actors with cartoon counterparts.


Nike (1992)


Speaking of cartoons and real actors mingling together, this commercial from the 1992 Super Bowl was simply amazing. It made Bugs Bunny cool and sporty while ushering in the reign of WB love for the 90’s. I feel like the 90’s was a good decade for Looney Tunes. This commercial was one of many with a Bugs Bunny sports theme that would of course culminate in that lovely movie Space Jam.


7-Up (1992)


One of the greatest things about marketing is the use of a cute little mascot. This Super Bowl commercial gave us two cute dots with sunglasses. (I loved these things!) This was a fun commercial campaign. I always liked the sound effects of the cola becoming an uncola.


Crystal Pepsi (1993)


I added this commercial if only because I remember Crystal Pepsi being a really big deal and then it just… wasn’t. We had a big family reunion at my grandmother’s house in 1993 and my parents had picked up Crystal Pepsi and some other drinks. I think I was the only one drinking the Crystal Pepsi too. No one else wanted any of it. Poor Crystal Pepsi.


Wendy’s (1989)


This commercial simply makes me hungry and though it is not my most favorite Wendy’s commercial, it did air during the Super Bowl and there is something crazy to note in it. At the very end there is a bit about the combo deal and it costs only a $1.99! I wish combos cost that much.


Hershy’s (1987)


Though technically not a commercial during the Super Bowl, this is one of my all time favorite commercials that I had to include in this list. A few days ago I noticed some people I follow on Twitter talking about the Whatchamacallit candy bar and every time I look at that candy bar I am instantly transported back to Saturday morning cartoons with commercial breaks showing this amazing commercial. It is simply everything I love in a good commercial. Fun art pop animation along with a catchy theme song make this one of the all time greatest commercials ever. Super Bowl or not.


I know there are plenty of other retro Super Bowl commercials that I could have added (an entire post could have been devoted to beer commercials) but I wanted to share in some of the commercials that I fondly recalled and have also enjoyed throughout the years. I can only imagine what commercials will be airing this weekend. Of course, I could always just check YouTube beforehand.


Are there any commercials you recall enjoying during Super Bowl? Or even great commercials in general? Leave a comment! Enjoy the Super Bowl weekend everyone. 

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MissM Posted on Feb 08, 2014 at 08:03 AM

Vaporman, I've heard so many people talking about the Radio Shack commercial. I feel like it was the hit of this year's Super Bowl ads. And yes, the Whatchamacallit ad is just amazing isn't it? I also never had a reason to own a pager as the only people I'd talk to were my parents and brother, and I lived with them. lol I'm glad you enjoyed these commercials!

pikachulover, I totally agree. There are so many commercials that just burrow themselves into my brain. And I have to agree, the 1984 Apple ad is a bit overrated now. I don't really get excited about it.

Your high school assemblies sound completely amazing! I wish those had been video taped or something for us all to see. It sounds absolutely cool.

Vaporman87 Posted on Feb 03, 2014 at 05:13 AM

Radio Shack has brought the "vintage" to us in the present with their 2014 Super Bowl Ad. All I can say is... AWESOME!!! See it here:

pikachulover Posted on Feb 01, 2014 at 07:36 AM

All the commercial jingles I remember from my youth have ruined me! Whatchamacallit is ingrained in my mind along with Caramello, Ring Pop and Juicy Fruit. I seemed to like candy jingles. Makes sense I love candy.

I remember the Superman ad since I'm a big Seinfeld fan. At least you didn't use that 1984 Apple ad. I'm so sick of hearing about that ad! Maybe it's because I've been studying mass media in college.

I think the Smart Beep ad was performed as a skit at one of my high school assemblies along with one of those old "Tampax was there" ads. My school assemblies had strange themes like commercials. Other themes they used separately were Disney and robots. I'm not sure why the assemblies needed a theme. My high school was weird!

Vaporman87 Posted on Jan 31, 2014 at 06:45 PM

Oh man. Soooo much commercial goodness here that I had all but forgotten about.

I have to start with the Whatchamacallit ad. I had COMPLETELY forgotten everything about that commercial. And yet, I remember seeing it so much that it would rattle around in my head for hours afterward. I miss seeing that ad on tv.

The Crystal Pepsi ad with the "Right Now" song is such a good ad. Too bad the drink wasn't. lol

Then, of course, there are the 7-UP and Nike ads which I recall seeing many times over. The Jordan/Bug Bunny ad played constantly it's prime, and I think was only topped by the Barkley vs. Godzilla ads.

I have never seen the "fart/pager" ad before. That is hilarious! I knew several people who had pagers, though I did not. I can see their usefulness at the time, but I simply just did not receive enough phone calls to warrant owning one.

Thanks for these great Super Bowl ads Miss M!

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