Soft drink commercials (Coke in particular) have been a staple of Super Bowl advertising for years. They are routinely the most expensive and most talked-about ads during a broadcast famous for expensive, talked-about ads. Today we’ll take a stroll through Super Bowl History and look at the best soft drink commercials money could buy.

First let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way. Whether you think this ad deserves a place in history or not, the classic Coke commercial (note, this is not a Classic Coke commercial) featuring Mean Joe Green can’t be ignored. Let’s place this one right at the top, so that we can move on to some more recent ads that have a more contemporary feel.

Happiness Factory

Fitting squarely into the “creepy” department is this spot, that purports to show us what goes on behind the scenes when we stick our quarter (quarter?) into a Coke machine. This spot is only from 2007, so I don’t know who they think they’re fooling with the price of Coke. While this commercial is strange and we’re glad they got the lid on the bottle before those white leeches got inside, it’s a beautifully-rendered spot with amazing visuals and seamless cinematography.

Siege

A big favorite of ours from ┬álast year’s game is Siege, another beautiful and no doubt extremely expensive animation-fest featuring two warring armies, a fierce fire-breathing dragon, and a cold bottle of Coke. This spot has so much character and life that we want to know more about the world the creatures inhabit: Why are they fighting? Where did they get the dragon? Why is their Coke still served in a glass bottle?

Pierce Brosnan vs Ninja

Before he was James Bond he was Remington Steele, but he was always suave and not to be messed with. Watching this spot from 1987 we can’t help but be reminded of the Old Spice commercials, except those are done all in one take and don’t feature Pierce Brosnan. You could almost air this spot today and it would hold up pretty well, except for that horrible music at the end.

Bob’s House

Don’t adjust your speakers, this commercial is entirely silent. Okay, it’s not exactly a soft-drink commercial, but it was produced by PepsiCo for the 2008 Super Bowl broadcast, and it’s pretty much the best commercial Pepsi’s ever done. Two deaf guys are looking for another deaf friend’s house, but neither of them knows the address. What’s the solution?

P. Diddy Hitches A Ride

Pepsi usually takes a different tactic than Coke in their Super Bowl ads, ┬átossing out expensive computer graphics and feel-good Spielbergian happy endings, and tossing in A-List star cameos. It’s a dangerous strategy because they’re playing the short-game: these commercials won’t age well once the celebrities lose their luster, although they seem to do a great job in ensuring the spot is funny even if you don’t know who the people are.

This one can basically stand in as a proxy for every Pepsi commercial ever featured during the Super Bowl. But it’s still funny!

 

We’re not sure what to expect from this year’s Coke and Pepsi appearances, though we suspect that Coke will make long, schmaltzy spots that make you feel like drinking a Coke while Pepsi will make funny commercials that you watch over and over again with your friends while you all drink a Coke.