Super Bowl

The Super Bowl Top 50 Ad Countdown: 30-21

Ad Age Picks the Best of the Big Game Spots Over Its Half-Century History

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In commemoration of the Super Bowl's 50th anniversary, Ad Age is counting down the top 50 Big Game ads of all time. This is purely a subjective list cultivated by the editors that will undoubtedly be debated. But these are the spots that have endured in the creative consciousness long after the final flag went down.

This weekly feature picks up with 30-21. Look for the next 10 on Jan. 28.

30. E-Trade, "Monkey." Of all the simians that have starred in Super Bowl spots, this might be our favorite. This 2000 commercial from Goodby Silverstein & Partners had the simplest of product demonstrations: Two hayseeds and a chimp wearing an E-Trade T-shirt dancing in a garage. The kicker: "Well, we just wasted $2 million bucks. What are you doing with your money?"

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29. McDonald's Big Mac jingle. In 1974, Needham Harper & Steers brought the world the iconic "two-all- beef-patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun." Need we say more?

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28. Pepsi, "New Can." This BBDO spot is still a scorcher nearly 25 years after its debut. Cindy Crawford emerges from a gull wing car at a dusty gas station and takes a long swig of cola as little boys ogle. The new can it introduced was for regular Pepsi -- you know, the full-calorie one we doubt supermodels drink in real life.

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27. Supercell, "Angry Neeson." This 2015 sidesplitter from Barton F. Graf features actor Liam Neeson locked in "Clash of the Titans" battle with Big Buffet Boy 85. He's unmerciful, even with a hapless barista. Creativity named it No. 10 on its best list for film last year.

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26. Budweiser Frogs. Before there were lizards and ants, frogs reigned supreme in suds, thanks to D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (before the account moved on to another agency). Then-Ad Age reviewer Bob Garfield said of the 1995 spot: "The croaking Bud-wei-ser frogs (D'Arcy's swan song) were a magnificent start in cultivating youth."

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25. FedEx, "We apologize." This 1998 from BBDO is brilliant in its simplicity. Though admittedly we'd like to have seen those singing kangaroos, "Baywatch" lifeguards and Garth Brooks.

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24. Diet Pepsi, "Apartment 10G." Michael J. Fox goes to extreme lengths to get a Diet Pepsi for an attractive (well, the '80s big-hair version of attractive) neighbor in a humorous spot with a twist ending courtesy of BBDO.

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23. BMW, "Newfangled Idea." Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel struggle with the concept of a BMW i3 in this amusing 2015 spot from Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners that revisits their earlier cluelessness about the internet. We all need a Katie in our lives.

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22. Hulu, Alec Baldwin. An alien Alec Baldwin tells us Hulu is a plot to destroy the world because it further rots our TV-addled brains. We love it. Because that's how we roll.

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21. Careerbuilder chimps. Careerbuilder's malcontent monkeys have had their ups and downs in Super Bowl ads since their debut in 2005. Bob Garfield said the chimps initially "propelled CareerBuilder to 75% revenue growth," but after a few years they got pink-slipped, a victim of animal rights protests and rising chimp wages. They year after the chimps got canned, Careerbuilder's ads flopped in the USA Today Ad Meter poll and Careerbuilder put its account into review. Chimp creator Cramer-Krasselt promptly resigned the business in protest. The monkeys staged a triumphant return to the Big Game in 2011, placing sixth on the USA Today poll.

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