As a marketer, it’s hard to know whether to be more excited about the clash of the nation’s best football teams or the clash of the nation’s best creative minds.
Early estimates suggest that some 115 million people tuned into Super Bowl XLVII yesterday, spurred on by a power outage and an exciting, down-to-the-wire finale. A perennial ratings blockbuster, last year’s Super Bowl was the most watched program ever. Final numbers aren’t in yet, but this may very well be the 8th consecutive year that more people tuned in than the year before.
It’s no surprise then that marketers spent upwards of $3.8 million dollars to get a highly coveted 30-second spot in the 2013 game.
But TV is just part of the action. The best ads this year, which have already enjoyed skyrocketing views on YouTube, prominently featured pop songs by artists like Psy and Fun. Our medium was well represented in other ways as well. In case you were living under a rock for the last 10 days, you already know that the half time show was anchored by pop radio super star Beyonce Knowles. More than 23 million people experienced the game via radio broadcasts. And this year’s most celebrated commercial relies on the spoken words of a radio legend.
In any year, advertisers use their best creative minds to make the most innovative commercials of the entire year. 2013 was no exception. Here are some of the Super Bowl commercials we loved most.
Ram Goes Old School
Mere minutes after RAM aired this simple yet ingenious commercial featuring simple still images and the voice of radio legend Paul Harvey, the internet was buzzing, with many critics proclaiming it the best ad of the game. And in true internet era fashion, the TV commercial was inspired by a viral YouTube video which used the same Harvey “God Made A Farmer” speech from the Future Farmers Convention in 1978. The crux of the commercial is Harvey’s unmistakable voice narrating a set of still images, proving yet again the power of spoken word.
Pistachios Crack Gangnam Style
Another radio hit provides fertile ground for this clever 30 second spot featuring Korean pop star Psy. Wonderful Pistachios have managed to make a simple snack extremely cool with a series of ads that frequently draw from pop culture. They’ve starred viral sensations a like Keyboard Cat and Honey Badger and time-tested classics like The Simpsons and Mr. Bill. For the Super Bowl, Wonderful Pistachios took on the biggest YouTube hit of all time Gangnam Style. The video features Psy clad in a pistachio-green suit singing “Crackin’ Gangnam Style” backed up by a cast of pistachio dancers. The over-the-top theatrics are sure to cash in on the success of the break-out hit.
Taco Bell – So Funny You’ll Watch It Again
What do you get when you combine an octogenarian’s night on the town with a Spanish rendition of the hit We Are Young by Fun? You sort of have to see it to believe it. Everything about this commercial is completely over the top. Wholesome looking retirees put The Jersey Shore to shame as they go clubbing, race around in a vintage sports car, and get tattoos before ending the night with a trip to, of course, Taco Bell.
Mercedes CLA – Devilishly Good
Featuring the iconic Rolling Stones tune Sympathy For The Devil, this commercial actually rocks. It opens with a devilish Willem Dafoe enticing an unsuspecting victim with a Mercedes CLA. It cuts to a montage that plays like every 20-something male’s dream: fast cars, Bieber-like fame, and a spot on the Vanity Fair cover atop a white stallion. Did we mention Usher makes a guest appearance?
The Rock – Got Milk?
There may be no better proponent of strong bones than football player turned-wrestler turned-actor Duane “The Rock” Johnson. The commercial features Johnson as the protagonist of our adventure as he braves a city descending into anarchy for more milk. The ad has a healthy mix of action and humor that keeps adults and children alike rooting for Johnson on his quest.
The Budweiser Clydesdales Return
The famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses have appeared in many Super Bowls over the years, but 2013 featured a new take on the majestic steeds. With Stevie Nicks crooning the words to “Landslide,” a Clydesdale pony reunites with the farmer who raised him. Look at Christian the lion! There’s a new animal-man love story in town.
This is just a sampling of the crazy, moving and funny ads that made Super Bowl XLVII legendary. Be sure to check out more Super Bowl commercials on CBS.com.