Technology companies haven’t typically been a large presence during the Super Bowl, at least not compared with beer and cars, the two big daddies of Super Bowl ad time. Over the years, as technology becomes a greater and greater influence on our daily lives, this has slowly shifted and brought us more and better technology commercials that frequently rival the creative output of even the Great God of Super Bowl Advertising, Anheuser-Busch. Today let’s take a quick walk down memory lane and see some of the more memorable tech ads that have graced our televisions over the years.
10. Intel – Lunch Room (2010)
Poor Jeffrey walks in on a conversation about Intel’s latest processor advances at the wrong time. If you’ve ever heard something said about yourself that you weren’t meant to hear, then you know how sad the poor little robot must feel. Those Core processors sure are sweet, though.
9. Yahoo! – Hair (1999)
Oh, the unbridled optimism that Yahoo! had back when they were at the top of the search heap! Watch closely for the best part of this ad: what Yahoo!’s website looked like in 1999. Yahoo! should probably have Yahoo!-ed how to keep a search engine ahead of its competition.
8. EDS – Cat Herding (2000)
Remember commercials for a little e-business management company called EDS? We don’t either, but a look back in the archives turns up some real gems. This spot about cat herding is filled with hilarious details and asides, like the cowboy wrapping yarn into a ball or the other one rolling cat hair off of his duster. Watch it a few times and see if you can catch more.
7.Xerox – Photocopying Monk (1976)
This spot is certainly dated in terms of its overall style and presentation (not to mention the fashion on display), but it shows great imagination as well as a dash of fearlessness in using religion to get their message across, albeit in a tame and respectful way. It’s fun to watch too just to get a good look at a Xerox copier from the 70s.
6. E*Trade – Invest Wisely (2001)
Before the creepy talking baby, there was this E*Trade ad that manages to ridicule failed dot-coms, environmentalists, and Native Americans all in 30 seconds. It’s probably a bit too much on the subtly side to be an effective Super Bowl spot, but it was definitely creative and funny, especially with the Pets.com sock puppet at the end.
5. Groupon – Save The Money (Tibet) (2011)
Okay, we’re going to get a lot of flak for this one, but we actually did think these spots were funny. There was definitely something off about them, like the timing on the joke wasn’t quite right, but if you watch it enough times you really start to get what they were going for. It’s fine if you don’t think this spot is funny, but if you’re offended and you’re not Tibetan then you probably are not considered the life of many parties.
4. LivingSocial – Changed My Life (2011)
Groupon has the catchy name and the offensive commercials, but LivingSocial basically offers the same types of deals. This spot from the 2011 game takes a better approach to advertising the same business model, playing off of how using these deals can expose you to things you wouldn’t ordinarily be willing to try out. Just don’t let it go too far…
3. Monster.com – When I Grow Up (2006)
This spot has a brilliantly simple concept that shot and edited perfectly. Nevermind the fact that probably 90% of the jobs on Monster.com are jobs that these kids are describing, it’s still a brilliant ad with marvelous execution.
2. Hulu – Alien Plot (2009)
This spot finally reveals the secret behind how Hulu can give away so much great stuff for free… it’s a plot to take over the world! We actually totally missed this one during the 2009 game, so discovering it now is kind of like finding a Christmas present tucked away in the attic, and having it not be something totally lame. Alex Baldwin is at the top of his game in this spot, and it makes us wish Hulu would get back in the mix and give us some more ads.
1. Apple – 1984 (1984)
Seriously, you had to know that this one would be at the top of the list. It may not be the flashiest, the geekiest, or even in any objective sense the best commercial ever made, but it is certainly memorable. In the annals of Super Bowl tech company commercials, this one will always be remembered as the ad that lived up to its own hype.