The Funniest Super Bowl Commercials Ever

"I only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials." Almost every person in America has heard (or said) this line before. At some point during the Super Bowl's long history, it became a mark of countercultural hipsterdom to announce that your favorite part of the championship game is actually the advertising in between the action. But who can blame folks for that when the commercials are this good? Not everyone will be a fan of one of the two teams duking it out for the championship ring (or will even necessarily know who those two teams are), but most people will be able to find at least one campy Super Bowl ad that tickles their fancy.

The Wall Street Journal credits Apple's futuristic 1984 ad with starting the Super Bowl ad arms race that we know and love today. The commercials have become just as important to our Super Bowl culture as chips and dip, Beyoncé's halftime show, or a trip to Disney World. The entertaining and sometimes controversial game day ads can leave us smiling, crying, horrified (looking at you, Nationwide "Boy" ad) — but mostly, they leave us laughing. In no particular order, here are some of the funniest ads that millions of dollars of corporate money can buy.

Terry Tate wrecked slackers in this hilarious Super Bowl spot

In the early '00s, Reebok introduced us to Terry Tate, the fictional linebacker who tackles and berates any rogue office underperformers. Riding off the wave of movies like Office Space (complete with a reference to TPS reports), the hilarious ad contrasts the excitement of football with the monotony of a Xerox machine.

The Super Bowl spot begins with a spokesman from the fictional "Felcher and Sons," a company that has hired Terry Tate as its office linebacker. The position consists of tackling any employee who is doing a lackluster job, asking stupid questions, or playing too much Solitaire. In a parody of brutal American office culture, the stern-faced spokesman raves about the rough-em-up treatment: "Honestly, I wish Reebok sent us ten Terry Tates."

Notably, the ad was originally a short film (and not a particularly family-friendly one). Reebok's Terry Tate commercial generated lots of advertising buzz — as Campaign put it, "Terry Tate was viral before being viral was a good thing." Despite its popularity, the ad was not particularly good at selling shoes. AdAge said that "as a sales catalyst, Terry Tate seems to be as flat as the office workers he leaves in his wake," pointing to claims from Reebok with said the campaign was not up to snuff. Despite all that, Terry Tate lives on. Heck, he even appeared in a 2016 Funny or Die spinoff that depicts the linebacker taking on Donald Trump: "That's how Terry Tate makes America great, baby!"

E-Trade's talking baby dominated Super Bowl ads for years

The folks over at E-Trade struck gold when they decided to pair an adult's voice with the face of a clueless baby. The child spokesperson proudly tells us that he just bought stock with a simple click; if he, a literal infant, can do it, then we can do it. The amusing ad ends with the baby vomiting all over himself. Well, he may smell like old milk, but at least his portfolio's in order.

In an interview with Fast Company, Tor Myrhen, the chief creative officer at ad agency Grey New York, expressed their fear that the ad would underwhelm Super Bowl viewers: "When we first created the baby, we had no idea if it was the dumbest thing we'd ever done or if it was genius." Luckily, Myrhen's concerns were unfounded as the campaign generated a huge amount of buzz. 

The commercial also served its purpose as a sales catalyst, as it became one of the most effective Super Bowl ads of all time. According to Fast Company, "The next day, eTrade registered more new accounts than it had on any other day in the company's history," inspiring a long series of ads featuring the wise little guy. In 2014, Reuters reported that E-Trade let the talking toddler hang up his diaper once and for all, presumably to spend long days soaking up the sun with a strong glass of milk in his hand.

The Super Bowl ad that turned body odor into bawdy laughter

In 2010, the handsome Old Spice spokesman (played by Isaiah Mustafa) appealed to women everywhere with a simple message: Your mouth-breathing husband will magically become hotter if he uses the right brand of body wash. The Old Spice Guy, as he came to be known, implored viewers to take a long, hard look at their man and take some things into consideration: "Sadly, he isn't me. But if he stopped using lady scented body wash and switched to Old Spice, he could smell like he was me."

Old Spice Guy is sexy, and he knows it. He calls himself "the man your man could smell like"— he's not making any promises here, but Old Spice will at least get your boyfriend part of the way to washboard abs and biceps of steel. The deodorant brand, which was previously associated with old men wearing tall white gym socks, surprised everyone with this quippy, frenetic ad. According to AdWeek, the side-splitting Super Bowl spot even won an Emmy, beating out the Betty White Snickers commercial for the honor. So what's Mustafa up to now? You can find him saying a new slogan while doling out advice to his mortified son as Old Spice Dad: "Smell like your own man, man." Seems like risky advice to give to a sweaty teenage boy, but if it works for Old Spice Guy, it works for us.

Snickers brought the snickers with this brutal Super Bowl spot

Viewers were thrilled when beloved Golden Girls star Betty White appeared in a 2010 Snickers Super Bowl ad spot as part of a tag football team— and were shocked when she was tackled into the mud midway through the ad. Viewers who were used to White's midwestern Golden Girls persona were taken by surprise as she took on the character of "Mike," a man in a pickup football game who cannot seem to make a play.

The contrast of America's grandmother with a foulmouthed, angry football player is perfect. "That's not what your girlfriend says!" shouts White, as her teammates berate "Mike's" game, nearly starting an on-field brawl. Mike's girlfriend appears to save the day as she presents her beau with a Snickers, thus ushering in the famous Snickers tagline: "You're not you when you're hungry."

The comical campaign clearly resonated with fans, helping revive both the Snickers brand and White's career. The original spot sparked a huge ad campaign, and as USA Today reported in 2010, its popularity prompted Saturday Night Live to invite White to host the show.

Ameriquest went with dark humor in its debut Super Bowl ad

Ask people what they typically find funny, and the answer probably will not be "implied pet murder." But Ameriquest proved that wrong in 2005, when they aired an ad portraying just that.

The commercial starts with a man coming home from work to prepare a romantic dinner for his beau. As he chops vegetables, his feline friend decides to topple over a pot of soup— which, of course, is the scene that awaits the woman who walks in moments later. The ad lingers on the perfect horror tableau: a man in a dimly-lit room has a massive knife in one hand, a howling animal in the other, and a giant puddle of blood-like sauce all over the floor. Did someone tell this guy that cat sacrifice was romantic?

According to The New York Times, the "hilarious" ad was half of a two-part series that marked Ameriquest's first time advertising during the Super Bowl, and because the company "had not provided previews of the spots" before the game, that put "anticipation at low levels." The campaign used the witty commercials to illustrate Ameriquest's sentiment toward loan approval: "Don't judge too quickly. We won't." That's great, but our takeaway is still that tomato soup is not the best impromptu date night food.

Funny and controversial was a winning combo for this Super Bowl spot

Doritos took a risk in 2016 with this bizarro ad portraying a man who is apparently the King of the Morons chomping away at a bag of Doritos during his wife's ultrasound appointment. We get about five seconds to ponder how this Dorito-breath dude snagged a spouse before we learn that the unborn child is just as obsessed with junk food as his dad, even following the man's hand as he waves a Dorito over his (surely soon-to-be-ex) wife's stomach. Like father, like fetus! Irritated, the expectant mother snatches the Dorito away and throws it across the room, causing the baby to rocket out of her womb like a human cannonball.

A fetus so obsessed with chips that it launches into premature birth? What could go wrong? Well, according to News.com.au, the spot, which was "one of the top three submissions for the Doritos' Crash the Super Bowl competition," caused quite the uproar; pro-choice groups were angry that the ad "humaniz[ed] fetuses," while Twitter users were upset that it made premature birth seem appealing (don't worry, BuzzFeed compiled all of the angriest Tweets for your reading pleasure). After the gut-busting ad hit airwaves and shocked the masses, its creator told ET that the animation was generated from a photograph of his own unborn child. Let's just hope he didn't have Doritos in the delivery room.

The Super Bowl spot that proved crazy = funny

Finally! An ad that answers the age-old question, "What if the New World Order were a bunch of bumbling idiots with the primary goal of concealing the health benefits of avocados?" The hilarious ad has a cloaked cult leader frustrated by the amount of world secrets being released to the public (except, apparently, for Bigfoot. According to this ad, there is no Bigfoot.). We see the perturbed leader get more and more frustrated with his seemingly randomly-chosen New World Order until we find out the reason for the meeting. Forget aliens, there is only one major secret that people can never truly be allowed to know: avocados are actually good for you.

The ad was not the first in the prolific Avocados from Mexico series (according to AdAge, this was the brand's "third Super Bowl in a row"), but it is our favorite. The little details are what makes this installment of the brand's game day advertising stand out. According to GSDM, the firm that developed the campaign, the advertisement was filled with subliminal messages: "The Internet loves conspiracies. So we filled our commercial with hidden references to actual conspiracies. Then, we put it online and waited for conspiracy nuts to take the bait." From that point, real-life conspiracy theorists set to work disseminating the ad's message. Two thumbs up to GSDM for working smarter, not harder (although we still don't think you are telling the truth about Bigfoot).

Jokes that get beaten to death were still funny once

The iconic Budweiser "Whassup?" ad is on this list begrudgingly. No, not because it isn't funny (it's obviously hilarious), but because it inspired teenage boys to use the catchphrase for so many years that we will never, ever be able to erase it from our heads. The Super Bowl spot is a silly, absurd montage of buddies calling each other up to ask what's up — or "whassup?" — with increasing intensity. It is a lighthearted portrayal of easy male friendship... or, depending on who you ask, the most grating minute of television in existence.

The seemingly simple campaign became one of the most talked-about series of ads of all time. In 2001, The New York Times reported that the campaign "won practically every award in advertising," arguing that it was also effective at moving product. As the outlet noted, in the first year of the campaign, "sales grew by 2.4 million barrels, to 99.2 million barrels" of both Budweiser and Bud Light. Ad executive Bob Scarpelli told The Drum that "Whassup" is his all-time favorite marketing campaign. According to him, the campaign "cut across cultural barriers" and was successful in making Budweiser a "hipper, cooler brand." Two decades later, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone over a certain age who hasn't seen the ad— and if you have not, what-sup are you waiting for?

TruTV's Super Bowl spot proved that creepy CGI can still crack you up

The Super Bowl marks the end of football season, and for those who watch the game for the actual sport being played in between commercials, that can be a huge bummer. TruTV played up this idea in 2010, when it treated viewers to a bizarre Groundhog Day scenario... except instead of a groundhog, we are presented with a teeny-tiny Troy Polamalu.

Just like the clairvoyant critter itself, Polamalu apparently has the ability to predict the future based on whether or not he can see his shadow. In this version of the holiday, the famous football player emerges from the ground and yelps in terror. The end result of this ritual, according to TruTV, is "six more weeks of football"— a line that cleverly advertised the network's upcoming NFL Full Contact series.

Not everyone loved the ad as much as TruTV hoped. Time, for example, gave the commercial a "C" grade, claiming that it cursed them with "six weeks of nightmares about creepy mini-Polamalu." Perhaps the most burning criticism (or, depending on your view, heartfelt compliment) of all came from the famed Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, who, according to Reuters (via BrandChannel), presented TruTV with a cease-and-desist letter. Who knew you could copyright the act of scaring a rodent?

If Conan O'Brien is the Super Bowl ad, its' going to be hilarious

Playing off of the trope of celebrities doing global ads that may never break into the US market, this 2009 Bud Light spot features Conan O'Brien as the stoic celebrity spokesperson who agrees to do an advertisement if it only airs in the foreign market, far away from the eyes of his American viewers. We watch as his agent swears that the commercial will only be played in Sweden.

When Conan agrees, we are treated to a ridiculous, hilarious, and humiliating TV spot that features the red-headed talk show host crawling on his hands and knees, surrounded by flames and donning red mesh clubwear as slick Euro-pop thrums in the background. Conan could not be further from his normal suit-and-tie getup, and we love it. The ad's big reveal happens as Conan looks up at a billboard in Times Square, where he learns that what happens in Sweden does not, in fact, stay in Sweden.

The ad works because Bud Light's ongoing ad campaign gave most people some familiarity with the brand's tagline. At the end of the ad, the Swedish phrase "Skillnaden är Drinkability" appears — which, according to AdAge, would have been familiar to most 2009 viewers as a translation of Bud Light's motto, "The difference is drinkability." We're not sure this Super Bowl spot makes us thirsty for Bud Light, but it sure made us curious about what other celebrities have hidden ads in the foreign market.

Laughing at Kevin Federline's life was apparently exactly what Super Bowl fans needed between downs

Nationwide's Rollin' VIP ad from 2007 plays on the idea that there are just some things in this world that should be accepted as infallible truths, namely that water is wet; the sky is blue; and Kevin Federline's career is over. Rolling off the shared cultural knowledge of the messy Britney Spears and K-Fed divorce (which, according to People, was finalized in 2007), this Nationwide ad portrays Federline living a life of fame and riches, starring in his own rap video filled with gold bars and showers of money. The montage ends when Federline's face is shown in a security camera and we realize he has been working in a fast-food joint the whole time. It's a moment most of us can relate to (who hasn't dozed off at work dreaming of greener pastures?), but it is especially effective in the wake of the cultural phenomenon that was K-Fed.

"Life comes at you fast," the Super Bowl ad's tagline, has rarely applied to a celebrity so perfectly. As Reuters noted, the divorce, plus Federline's shaky music career, inspired Nationwide's VP of advertising to think of Spears' ex, who the VP said "epitomizes" the campaign. The outlet also reported that it landed in hot water, as "a leading restaurant association described the 30-second ad as demeaning to industry workers" — a notion Federline rejected, claiming it was "only meant to poke fun at himself."