From a trio of lily pad-dwelling bullfrogs belting out “Bud-weis-er” to three-dimensional Doritos chips ricocheting around a laundromat like stray bullets, there’s no shortage of creativity when it comes to product marketing. That talent is always put to the true test during the biggest advertising night of the year: Super Bowl Sunday.
The creative teams lucky enough to secure highly-coveted spots during football’s biggest event pull out all the stops to deliver perfection, and sometimes the weird outshines the worthy. Mixing a large budget with ambitiously unique minds has resulted in some head-scratching, but definitely intriguing, final products over the years.
1. Hummer: Naturally the offspring of a massive Iron Giant-sized robot and Godzilla-esque creature in this commercial would be a Hummer vehicle. After all, the company branded its mode of transportation “a little monster.”
2. Audi: This popular car brand wanted potential customers to know they would never compromise when it came to quality. Why? Because people who compromise might just end up with a half-Doberman, half-Chihuahua mix. Duh.
3. Pepsi: At over three minutes long, Pepsi shelled out a mind-blowing amount of cash to cast Elton John as a king who’s overthrown by a woman belting out Aretha Franklin’s song “Respect.” It was as entertaining as it was odd.
4. Pepsi: Bob Dole was the face of this soda commercial, which played out almost like a pharmaceutical ad for a medication. But as we all know, the only medicine we really ever need is the kind with carbonation and 40 grams of sugar.
5. E-Trade: This mind-boggling commercial spot from the E-Trade financial institution was literally just these two guys and a dancing monkey doing nothing but sitting (and dancing) in a small room for 30 seconds. No one really knew what to think.
6. Sobe: How does a beverage company entice people to try their new drink? Hire a bunch of professional football players and throw them into a dance party full of computer animated lizards, of course!
7. Levi’s: This entertaining advertisement had its actor strolling through the streets getting super funky with his legs. Levi’s needed people to know this funkadelic feeling was only attainable when sporting a pair of their jeans.
8. Miller High Life: You can’t really get more simple than this beer commercial; it was only one second long and featured this man screaming “High life!” into the camera. Hey, at least they got their slogan out to the world.
9. General Motors: This oddly upsetting commercial was about a robot who dreamed it was fired because it wasn’t perfect; it even attempted to end its existence! It was quite dark and different.
10. GoDaddy: This company immediately established itself as a domain supplier that ran risque ads when they had a model named Bar Refaeli plant a serious smooch on a young man not quite her type. People everywhere watched with envy.
11. Nissan: Automobile companies know the big threat to vehicle paint is a bird with good aim. But if you buy a Nissan even a squadron of pigeons hellbent on giving your car a new paint job will eventually give up according to this ad — they’re too fast for even birds!
12. Doritos: There was no shame in the game of the men who starred in one Doritos ad where they all end up in female wedding attire by the end. That and facial hair full of chip crumbs, of course.
13. Miller Lite: Everyone loves to crack into a cold bottle of Miller Lite after a hard day’s work, but the group of pioneers in this commercial didn’t know the Evil Beaver does, too. A psychotic man in a beaver costume was the focal point of this bizarre ad.
14. Old Milwaukee: This brewing company struck gold when they managed to snag Will Ferrell for one Super Bowl ad. But the actor doesn’t even acknowledge the drink during the spot; he spends the entire time making out with a random woman on a bus. Hmm…
15. Emerald Nuts: The creative team at Emerald Nuts certainly knows how to boggle minds, and this ad with humans acting like dolphins at an aquatic show proves it again.
16. Emerald Nuts: In another completely random commercial, Emerald Nuts created an acronym using their name so people wouldn’t forget it: Eagle-eyed Machete Enthusiasts Recognize A Little Druid Networking Under The Stairs. Baffling, but memorable.
17. Emerald Nuts: One more for the Little Druids. According to another ad, classical singer Robert Goulet visits offices in the afternoon and leaves everything in disarray. Eating these snacks will give people the energy to fend off the pesky celebrity.
18. Dockers: In an attempt to get males to buy more Dockers pants, the company had a slew of men walking pantsless through a field singing, “I wear no pants!” Hopefully, the male viewers watching opted not to follow suit and bought a pair.
19. Vault Energy Drink: When you crack into a Vault Energy Drink, you’ll have enough determination to do something epic, like build a fire-breathing, laser-shooting scarecrow to solve crow problems. Well, according to this commercial, at least.
20. Levi’s: The clothing company not only wants you to know their pants lend funk to your day but extreme ruggedness as well. They’re so durable, in fact, that you can stand in the middle of a herd of bison without fear. Wait, huh?
21. Audi: Driving at night safely requires headlights that allow maximum visibility. In one hilarious Audi commercial, a man pulls up to a vampire campout with his Audi’s headlights beaming and accidentally vanquishes all his friends.
22. Bud Light: In this famous ad, a guy wearing an upside-down clown suit asks a bartender for a drink. But because the man’s head is where his hips are supposed to go, when he drinks the beer, it looks likes he’s dumping it right into the clown’s behind!
23. Bud Light: Bud Light struck again with a commercial involving a guy throwing a massive gathering where dogs were the servers and bartenders. Weird idea, but it definitely looks like a party you’d want to join.
24. Subway: When two cops pull up behind a vehicle with steamy windows, they expect to find a couple getting a little too hands-on with each other. However, the sounds they hear are actually two men eating Subway sandwiches. Hopefully, that was all they were doing with them.
25. Volkswagen: Just how powerful are Volkswagen vehicles according to one of their Super Bowl ads? So powerful you might just find yours stuck in a tree. Seriously though, does anyone need that much power?
26. Kia: This car brand knows it doesn’t deserve mistreatment, and in one ad a robotic spokesmodel catches a man kicking the tire of a display car. Needless to say, the robot gives him quite a whooping for his wrongdoing.
27. Holiday Inn: The setting of this ad is a high school reunion where a man realizes the gorgeous woman who introduces herself is actually his old friend Bob Johnson who underwent a gender transition. A very strange marketing idea from a hotel chain.
28. Garmin: No one needs to use paper maps anymore because of Garmin GPS technology. In this commercial, road maps came together to form a Mapasaurus monster, and the actor driving his Garmin-equipped vehicle turned into a costumed hero to fight it.
Even though the Super Bowl is arguably the most impactful night of advertising every year, that doesn’t stop companies from putting their best minds to work the other 364 days. Some of the best ads aren’t television commercials either. Honda’s outdoor ad had a real “prize” car spilling out of a massive box of cereal.
2. Ariel: It’s always a challenge to keep white clothes white, especially when you wear ’em a lot. At first, it doesn’t look like there’s much to this advertisement, but Ariel knows their product will keep white linen looking brand-spanking new.
3. Colgate: Maintaining a nice white set of chompers isn’t easy, and it’s hard to tell which toothpastes are the best with so many to choose from. But, according to this ad, if you choose Colgate, your teeth will sparkle like a light’s shining on them.
4. Yahoo! Mail: Nearly everyone uses email nowadays, and Yahoo! knows it. One of the most annoying aspects of email is trying to send attachments too large, so Yahoo! wants everyone to know their users can send attachments the size of highway overpasses.
5. Adidas: When you’re a company like Adidas and have huge competitors like Nike and Reebok, you need to pull out all the advertising stops. So what do you do? Construct a massive goalie arching across a popular highway, of course!
6. Mondo Pasta: Slurping long strands is one of the best ways to enjoy pasta. From the looks of Mondo Pasta’s ad, their spaghetti is so delicious that even if it was anchored down you wouldn’t want to stop your slurp.
7. IKEA: When you live in a small apartment in a big city, it’s always a challenge to find furniture that fits without making your living quarters look crowded. IKEA knows furniture finagling is like an intricate game of Tetris.
8. Look: Everyone knows seat belts are important, but many passengers still don’t buckle up. Just because you’re two feet behind the driver doesn’t mean you can’t get slingshotted out the front windshield.
9. Imodium: There’s only one thing worse than stomach problems: after relieving yourself of said problems, realizing you have no toilet paper left. Imodium’s brilliant ad lets people know they can skip the stomach issues altogether.
10. Trying to find the right construction company can be a headache. You need one that has all the right tools to get the job done efficiently, and this company wants potential customers to know they have the strongest tools for the most difficult jobs.
11. People go to the beach to enjoy the waves, the relaxation, and especially the sun. But, too many harmful rays can cause skin cancer, and this clever silhouette reminds beach-goers to take care of their skin.
12. Carlo & Co.: If you have a mean head of hair, you obviously need someone talented to help tame it when it gets too long. The employers at Carlo & Co. know this, so they painted their employee vehicle to make it look like they’re always ready to get cutting.
13. IMAX 3D: Anyone who’s ever been to a 3D movie has worn those paper glasses with the red and green lenses to help the onscreen images come to life. IMAX wants people to embrace experiencing the world through their unique 3D films.
14. Kit-Kat: The people over at the Kit-Kat headquarters know we all spend way too much time staring down at our phones instead of having actual human-to-human interactions. So, they set up a genius little bench where people can actually have a conversation in person, phone free.
15. Kleenex: Allergy season affects a lot of people, and not having a tissue when you absolutely need one is a most uncomfortable feeling. Kleenex thought of this hilarious advertisement to remind people not to leave home without them.
16. Bounty: Messes come in all shapes and sizes, and during the summer, melting Popsicles are the cause of plenty of these headaches. But, Bounty wants everyone to know even the stickiest messes are no problem with a quick wipe of their paper towels.
17. Miele: Trying to vacuum a floor when the suction is sub-par stinks. The appliance company Miele wants homeowners everywhere to know their vacuums are so strong they can pull hot air balloons right out of the sky.
18. McDonald’s: When you’re looking for a quick and affordable bite to eat, McDonald’s knows people are drawn to their massive golden arches. However, get both you and your appetite there safely by obeying the rules of their French fry crosswalk.
19. OfficeMax: Some people are naturally organized, and others might just need OfficeMax to help. This billboard indicates they’re so organized they can actually group together something as free-willed as birds.
20. Sprite: On a hot summer day, there’s nothing quite like cracking open a cold drink. Sprite hopes anyone who sees that fountain of cold refreshing soda runs to their nearest bodega and buys one.