The Best (Local and National) Ads from Super Bowl XLVIII

How many Denver Broncos does it take to change a tire?

One, unless it’s a blowout, in which case the whole team shows up.

All jokes aside, football wasn’t the only must-see event on Sunday. Besides the spectacular Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers halftime show, Super Bowl XLVIII was a time to see some of marketing’s best minds give it their all.

The Los Angeles Times reported that this year’s championship featured over 55 commercials that averaged $4 million for a 30 second spot.

Spending on the ad time by advertisers has increased more than 70% in the last 10 years, rising to a current average of $4 million for each 30-second spot. Some companies spend an additional $2 million on production costs, which can hike the total cost of a 60-second Super Bowl ad to nearly $10 million.

It’s no surprise that many of the spots featured top-notch celebrities to sell a product. But properly utilizing a star-studded spot made the difference between a great ad and a good ad.

So, to start our list of favorite Super Bowl XLVIII spots, let’s take a look at this great (and local!) Geico spot.

Geico’s Cheesesteak Shuffle

It’s a shame that most Super Bowl ad roundups don’t capture some of the amazing local flare from region-specific spots. This Geico ad, which aired in the Philadelphia area, memorializes the Philly Cheese Steak with an incredible jingle, and this even-better music video.


It’s hard not to love Bruce Willis and Fred Armisen, of SNL and Portlandia fame. But we feel this commercial encapsulates what John Cleese meant when he argued eloquently that one should not find “serious” and “humorous” to be two mutually exclusive terms.

Honda also utilized the hashtag #hugfest, encouraging its audience to submit pictures of their best hugs with loved ones. Fans submitted a mixture of cute, touching and irreverent embraces. Honda decided to responds to some of its fans with memes, mashing the commercials visuals and hug themes with classic Bruce Willis tropes.

Doritos Time Machine

If an ad executive ever pitched spending $200 on a commercial that costs $4 million to air, they’d probably be institutionalized. But when Doritos decided to crowd source their Super Bowl ad, just that happened. The winner shot this spot in 8 hours on a$200 budget, according to Business Insider.

Radio Shack

Self-deprecation is a great strategy for comedy, but its a little risky in the ad world. Radio shack pulled it off however, as the brand says goodbye to its retro store design and unveils a new modern look.


Budweiser made a huge impact at last year’s Super Bowl with their Clydesdale ad. That ad told the story of the deep bond between a man and his Clydesdale. Budweiser used the wildly successful formula this year, but this time invoked the deep friendship between a puppy and a Clydesdale.

An Honorable Mention

It’s hard to tell if this ads over-the-top nature is a product of the creators insanity, or genius. But regardless, it made a viral classic and landed on the pages of Gawker, Adweek and Slate. Not bad for  a commercial that only aired in Savannah, Georgia.

It’s not Jamie Casino’s first over-the-top ad, suggesting this is part of a more deliberate marketing strategy. An ad from last year features Casino taking a hammer to “greedy insurance companies.” His current ad has over 100,000 views on YouTube.