The 10 best Super Bowl commercials of all time

"Mean" Joe Greene (left) and Tommy Okon in 1979 (Coca-Cola)

(WCMH) — Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner, and for many people that means rooting for your team (or against the other team), shouting at the television when a ref makes a bad call and lots of Monday morning quarterbacking.

For others, it’s about a different battle playing out on the television screen: who had the best Super Bowl commercial? Big-name brands shell out millions of dollars for those precious seconds during commercial breaks. This year, a 30-second ad spot during the big game costs more than $5 million, but it wasn’t always that way. The first Super Bowl commercial costs just $42,000 in 1967.

Regardless of the price tag, brands have put out some of the most iconic ads in history during the big game. Here’s a look at 10 of the best Super Bowl commercials of all time:

10. Budweiser Frogs (1995)

This ad that ran during Super Bowl XXIX was before the era where every Budweiser Super Bowl commercial was a tear-jerker. The rhythmic croaking of the frogs became a pop culture touchstone, combining humor, great production and an otherwise relatively boring game.

9. Snickers – Betty White commercial (2010)

If you’ve ever been hangry, you know that you’re not you when you’re hungry, and you can thank Betty White for that. Besides, what’s funnier than watching a Golden Girl playing football and trash talking with the boys?

8. Always ‘Like a Girl’ (2015)

It may not be the funniest Super Bowl commercial of all time, but it is one of the most groundbreaking. With 45% of the NFL fan base comprised of women, Always, one of the biggest feminine hygiene product brands, found a way to advertise their product while injecting some good old girl power into what had historically been testosterone-driven commercial breaks.

7. Old Spice ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ (2010)

This Old Spice commercial was an instant hit, particularly for the meme-driven internet age. Filled with humor, brilliant writing, impressive effects and a very good-looking actor, it offers something for everyone.

6. Volkswagen ‘The Force’ (2011)

A commercial that’s funny and hits you right in the feels at the same time? Sign me up! Volkswagen had The Force on their side when a tiny Darth Vader had his dreams come true with an assist from dad.

5. McDonald’s ‘The Showdown’ (1993)

In most worlds, football and basketball don’t mix. However, the famous rivalry between two of the NBA’s all-time greats — Michael Jordan and Larry Bird — spawned the phrase “nothing but net” and turned it into a pop culture phenomenon.

4. Coca Cola ‘Hey Kid, Catch!’ (1979)

This classic ad was one of the few commercials that enjoyed popularity before it aired during the Super Bowl, and boy does it have everything: formidable defenseman “Mean” Joe Green, a star-struck little kid and one of America’s favorite soft drinks. Years later, Greene said people suddenly found him approachable after the commercial that softened his tough-guy image.

3. Pepsi ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart’ (1996)

Who says the protagonist in a commercial needs to talk? All you need is some Hank Williams, a thirsty delivery man and a heavy dose of irony to make one of the funniest commercials of all time.

2. Wendy’s ‘Where’s the Beef?’ (1984)

This instant hit from 1984 has had many sequels, and for good reason: “Where’s the beef?” is a question many hungry fast food customers still ask themselves today.

1. Apple ‘1984’ (1984)

Apple’s groundbreaking commercial for the Macintosh computer takes the top spot for best Super Bowl commercial of all time. The ad is set in a dystopian society and shows a heroine — representing the Macintosh computer — saving the world from Big Brother’s conformity. The commercial was directed by Ridley Scott and has been inducted into the Clio Awards Hall of Fame.

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