Best of the Bowl

Zion Smith, Staff Writer

Drink brands, restaurants, cars, insurance companies, “must be 18 or older to order” random crap you’ll never need commercials, clothing brands, those “donate or a puppy will die” commercials for nonprofit organizations who want to ruin your life; all of it can be found in advertisements these days. But, once a year, we put them all away, and whip out our favorite kind of advertising. The Super Bowl commercial. Whether random, funny, or a guilt trip, lots of the most memorable commercials are first aired during a Super Bowl. And many top the charts for how many people watch them. (A Doritos super bowl commercial being the top viewed of all time.) There has to be something unique about these ads that makes them so popular. And the reasons aren’t hard to find.

The Super Bowl is an opportune time for advertisers. Michael McCarthy, a writer for the New York Times said “Advertisers often reflect the prevailing atmosphere during the Super Bowl, which is also their industry’s top showcase.” “The atmosphere” in this case being the mood. People watching games have high energy and are more happy and open. Which gets capitalized on by many companies, and is reflected in their sales techniques. The vast majority of advertising has the simple goal of getting people to buy something. Catherine Hudgins from Demand Media said, “A successful advertisement creates a desire in viewers, listeners or readers.” While there is a lot more spent on Super Bowl ads, they are no exception to that goal. Sales techniques like: bandwagon appeal, “we’re the best”, diversion, bribery, humor, and famous people cameos are all used in the attempts to get you to buy products. Some commercials even abandon all actual methods and resort to pure randomness to make their products memorable, especially during the biggest game of the year. It seems as though each 30 or 60 second TV spot for the duration of the game is competing to be the funniest one you see. And that’s not a bad way to advertise. Especially with well-known brands who have already established iconic advertising campaigns.

So, why are super bowl ads so popular? Because with all the food and hype over the Super Bowl people and up in a generally good mood. And laughter comes that much easier when you’re with friends. Which again takes us back to humor and its major use during the big game. According to, 51% of people watch the Super Bowl more for halftime and the commercials than the game itself. Let’s clarify: more than half of the nearly hundred million people that watch the super bowl, only do so for the ads.

Also according to, the Doritos commercial where two guys in a gym get attacked by their friend (in Dorito samurai armor) whose Doritos they’ve stolen, is the most watched commercial of all time. It got over 115 million views, and most of them were during the game. Doritos has a long history of strange commercials. Usually suggesting that the chips have magical powers to make weird things happen. The ads are anything but boring, and again, show how humor and randomness play heavily into this iconic type of commercial used in the Super Bowl. They’re funny, well thought out, and they almost make you forget that they’re trying to sell you something. That once-a-year time when the super bowl brings us ridiculously expensive commercials is coming again. So flip on the TV, eat the food, ignore the game, (unless it really matters that much to you) and get ready to sit back with some friends and laugh at the commercials.