Illumine8 After Hours: Best Super Bowl commercials

By |

It’s that time of year again where Americans gather around the television in large groups, surrounded by a variety of beverages, chips and homemade dips, while Puppy-Monkey-Babies abound. I’m talking about the Super Bowl, of course.

Often disguised as the biggest football game of the year, the Super Bowl is the day for brands to show off their newest, best, and/or strangest marketing campaigns to the nation.

If you’re not interested in football for the majority of the year, chances are you’ll still be roped into watching the Big Game, whether it’s to support friends or to just watch the commercials. These Super Bowl ads give you a reason to turn on the game and keep watching, even if your team isn’t playing or you lack interest in sports in general, which is exactly what these brands want.

It’s genius.

The commercials that air during the Super Bowl are unique, as they're usually longer, between 30 seconds to a full minute, and are sometimes shown only during the game.

This year it costs about $7.7 million to have a 30 second commercial aired and this does not include production costs. Most of these commercials are cinematic masterpieces with big-name producers and celebrities starring in them. Since over 100 million people watch the game, several million dollars could be a worthy investment. This is why brands make a point to produce memorable commercials, whether they be heartwarming, comical, or just plain weird.

Our resident New England Patriots fan, Christina May, and Technical Lead, Mark Ryba, review their top picks for Super Bowl commercials in our latest episode of Illumine8 After Hours.

Watch it here:


Christina’s Picks

E-Trade Baby

This commercial aired during the 2008 Super Bowl, and cost $2.7 million to air, which is significantly less than today’s cost. It was well-received and popular enough for E-Trade to continue the campaign for seven years. The company changed its approach in 2013, after hiring Chief Executive Officer Paul Idzik, and began focusing on a more scientific method for measuring how its messages resonated with clients. The brand decided to focus on delivering their ads through online channels after this.

Betty White

Snickers aired the “You’re not you when you’re hungry” campaign for six commercialsthat aired during past Super Bowls. According to the USA Today Ad Meter, which gauges public reaction, the Snickers commercial featuring 88-year-old Betty White playing football was the most popular advertisement during the Super Bowl in 2010.


Christina’s final pick “established Super Bowl TV commercials as a thing, garnering almost as much PR attention as the game itself,” according to the LA Times. Ridley Scott directed this commercial for Apple 34 years ago, under the leadership of Steve Jobs and Apple’s marketing department. The board of directors and CEO were unsure about airing the 60-second ad (that cost $368,000 at that time) advertising the original Macintosh computer. It was edgy and unique for its time, and changed the approach to Super Bowl commercials thereafter.

Mark’s Picks

The Force

Volkswagen aired this heartwarming and memorable commercial in 2011. This was also around the same time the announcement was made about production for the newest generation of Star Wars films. Lucasfilm, which created and produced the Star Wars movies, also had a hand in producing this commercial.

Imported from Detroit

Chrysler paid $3 million for this ad featuring rapper Eminem, to air during the 2011 Super Bowl, and has carried the “Imported from Detroit” slogan in ads since then. When the ad aired, Chrysler had just been bought by Fiat, and the brand wanted to ensure their audience that they would stay an American brand.

Mean Joe

A nostalgic favorite, this Coke commercial aired during the 1979 Steelers Championship Super Bowl for $185,000, and has been remade a few times, more recently with retired Steelers safety, Troy Polamalu.

We're looking forward to both the game and the commercials this year, as well as the snacks. We'll be reviewing the top commercials from this year's Big Game our next episode of Illumine8 After Hours on Friday, January 9.

These are our predictions for 2018's top Super Bowl commercials:

  • Anheuser-Busch
  • Doritos
  • Squarespace
  • Bud Light - Dilly Dilly
  • Perhaps something nostalgic like the Budweiser Clydesdales

Which commercials are you most looking forward to seeing during this year's game? Let us know with a message on Facebook,Twitter, or Instagram, and stay tuned to our Facebook feed on Friday for our top commercial picks.

If you have any topics you would like us to cover in future episodes of Illumine8 After Hours,contact us

Connect with Illumine8