Super Bowl 2015: The 10 Best All-Time Commercials

Here's a look at the best Super Bowl ads from past years.

BySUSANNA KIM
January 31, 2015, 6:20 AM

— -- The Super Bowl is a high-stakes affair for advertisers, with the cost of a 30-second commercial topping $4.5 million this year.

But can you remember your favorite Super Bowl ads of the past?

Tim Nudd, creative editor at Adweek, helped ABC News put together his list of top Super Bowl commercials. Tell us which ones you remember and if there are others that are your favorites in the comments section below.

1. Coca-Cola "Mean Joe Green" (1979)

PHOTO: Coca-Cola's "Mean Joe Green" commercial aired during the Super Bowl in 1979.
Coca-Cola's "Mean Joe Green" commercial aired during the Super Bowl in 1979.
Coca-Cola

Nudd called this "one of the most-beloved Super Bowl commercials ever." It featured a kid melting Mean Joe's heart with a bottle of Coke.

Why it worked: Few ads ever reach this level of heartfelt Americana. Perhaps the most perfect Coca-Cola ad ever made.

2. Apple "1984" (1984)

PHOTO: Apple's "1984" commercial aired during the Super Bowl in 1984.
Apple's "1984" commercial aired during the Super Bowl in 1984.
Apple

Nudd said, "The most famous commercial ever made -- the ad to change all ads, particularly Super Bowl commercials. This dark, poetic, audacious spot turned the Super Bowl into the advertising showcase it is today."

Why it worked: Spellbinding visuals and a great, rebellious narrative.

3. McDonald's "The Showdown" (1993)

Michael Jordan and Larry Bird compete for a Big Mac and fries by holding an increasingly absurd shooting contest in this classic commercial.

Why it worked: Two lovable guys, a great rivalry, and a flat-out fun concept.

4. Budweiser "Frogs" (1995)

Bud. Weis. Er. This silly, yet infectious, campaign launched during the Super Bowl would continue for years after, Nudd said.

Why it worked: The Super Bowl never met any talking animals it didn't love.

5. Monster.com "When I Grow Up" (1999)

PHOTO: Monster.com's "When I Grow Up" commercial aired during the Super Bowl in 1999.
Monster.com's "When I Grow Up" commercial aired during the Super Bowl in 1999.
Monster.com

In this ad, kids talk solemnly about wanting to be exploited and marginalized in the workforce as adults in this memorable Monster spot.

Why it worked: A great idea, great writing and some great performances by the stone-faced kids.

6. E*Trade "Monkey" (2000)

A monkey dances on a bucket in a garage for 30 seconds. "Well, we just wasted $2 million," says the on-screen text. "What are you doing with your money?"

Why it worked: It was sophisticated and meta -- and, more importantly, had people talking the next day.

7. Budweiser "Respect" (2002)

The Budweiser Clydesdales genuflect in the direction of Ground Zero in the first Super Bowl after 9/11.

Why it worked: America wanted a brave marketer to step up and honor 9/11 in a suitably respectful way and Bud did that.

8. Reebok "Terry Tate" (2003)

Terry Tate, a linebacker, doled out pain to office workers who are not obeying office policies in this comically violent, slapstick campaign.

Why it worked: Comic violence can be hilarious, and this ad got the timing just right.

9. Google "Parisian Love" (2010)

This beautiful, poignant ad told a love story entirely through visuals of someone searching Google for things related to a significant other, Nudd said.

Why it worked: It was surprising and heartfelt, and the pacing was just perfect.

10. Volkswagen "The Force" (2011)

PHOTO: Volkswagen's "The Force" Super Bowl commercial aired in 2011.
Volkswagen's "The Force" Super Bowl commercial aired in 2011.
Volkswagen

The most-watched Super Bowl ad ever made (the online version has 61 million views), it told the story of a pint-size Darth Vader trying to exert his Force on household objects. But only his dad's VW in the driveway roars to life in response (thanks to the remote start feature).

Why it worked: It was cute and fun, yet grand, and had the valuable built-in Star Wars equity. One of the most perfectly-constructed Super Bowl ads ever.

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