It’s less that a week until 2015 Superbowl and the hype around the commercials continues to build. At Born Licensing, our eyes are particularly peeled for characters from TV and movies. Snickers has already teased us with this ‘Very Brady Teaser’ via BBDO New York, which will feature Marcia Brady from 1969 sitcom The Brady Bunch:

Followers of Superbowl commercials are well aware that this isn’t the first time a TV show or movie has been leveraged at this time of year. Some of the most talked about and memorable spots include well known characters, allowing the advertiser to tap into an existing audience.

Lets take a look back at 13 Superbowl ads from 2003 up until last years Superbowl that feature TV and movie characters.

Year: 2003
Client: Fedex
Creative Agency: BBDO, New York
TV/Movie: Cast Away

This spot entitled “Desert Island” was considered one of the best Superbowl commercials of the year. The 45 second ad spoofs the plot of movie Cast Away, which was launched in cinemas 3 years prior. Movie lovers might remember that Fedex was a major product placement partner for Cast Away, the main character played by Tom Hanks was an employee of the company in the movie.

Year: 2005
Client: VISA
Creative Agency: BBDO NY
TV?Movie: Various Marvel

Who better to help a woman from identity theft than Marvel superheroes Captain America, Spiderman, Hulk, Storm, Thor and Wolverine? This commercial premiered during 2005 Superbowl and combines live action with CGI animation.

Year: 2006
Client: Mastercard
TV/Movie: MacGyver

Richard Dean Anderson reprised his star-marking role, but not his mullet, in this hilarious Mastercard ad from Superbowl 2006. The commercial keeps the famous ‘priceless’ commercial structure as we have seen many times before from Mastercard.

Year: 2008
Client: Audi
Creative Agency: Venables Bell & Partners
TV/Movie: The Godfather

This one aired during 2008 Superbowl and was considered one of the most stand out for the year. The spot recreates the iconic ‘horse head’ scene from 1972 movie The Godfather, and stars Alex Rocco who funnily enough played character Moe Green in the original movie.

Year: 2008
Client: Coca Cola
Creative Agency: The Mill
TV/Movie: Family Guy and Peanuts

“It’s Mine” is a clever mix of live action and computer generated creative set during the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which reportedly took over 4 months of production and post production to create. We see two well known characters from very different walks of life; Stewie Griffin from TV comedy Family Guy and Charlie Brown from comic Peanuts. This one was so highly regarded that it won a silver at Cannes Lions Festival.

Year: 2009
Client: General Electric
Creative Agency: BBDO New York
TV/Movie: Wizard of Oz

General Electric recruited Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz in this commercial showcasing their Smart Grid technology for distributing electricity. It features iconic song from the movie “If I Only Had a Brain”

Year: 2010
Client: Coca Cola
Creative Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
TV/Movie: The Simpsons

Here we see a range of characters from The Simpsons, most notably billionaire (or in this case, bankrupt) Mr. Burns. As he faces the loss of his fortune and belongings, including Smithers, he learns to appreciate life’s simple pleasures like family and friends.

Year: 2011
Client: Volkswagen
Creative Agency: Donny Deutsch Advertising Inc.
TV/Movie: Star Wars

This is probably one of the most talked about Superbowl commercials in recent times, and was actually placed online prior to the big game. Within 24 hours it had notched over 1 million views on YouTube and a whopping 8 million views before the Superbowl screening.

Year: 2011
Client: Chevrotlet
Creative Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners
TV/Movie: Transformers

A seemingly mundane looking commercial for a car dealership takes a surprise turn. This commercial also doubled as a sneak peak of theatrical release Transformers Dark of the Moon.

Year: 2011
Client: HomeAway Vacation Rentals
Creative Agency: Publicis In The West
TV/Movie: National Lampoons

Got a spare 14 minutes? Sure you do! To celebrate its 5th anniversary, HomeAway resurrected the Griswolds in a short film based on the original National Lampoons movies. Obviously the full film wasn’t shown during the Superbowl, but this 30 second trailer did which teased viewers to watch it in entirety on the HomeAway website.

Year: 2012
Client: Honda
Creative Agency: RPA
TV/Movie: Seinfeld

Although only appearing in 2 out of 180 episodes, the Soup Nazi is one of the most memorable characters from Seinfeld. His catchphrase ‘No Soup for You!’ is one of the most iconic from the series. In this commercial for Honda, Jerry Seinfeld tries to leverage the appeal of the Soup Nazi’s soup when negotiating to get his hands on the first Honda Acura.

Year: 2014
Client: Radioshack
Creative Agency: GSD&M
TV/Movie: Various

Radioshack launched what was considered one of the big winners of 2014 Superbowl in an effort to change their image. Leveraging over 20 iconic characters and personalities from the 1980’s, the campaign consisted of 3 commercials and 1 behind the scenes online video.

Year: 2014
Client: Kia
Creative Agency: David&Goliath.
TV/Movie: The Matrix

This 90 second commercial was considered one of the leaders from last years Superbowl. Laurence Fishburne reprises his role as Morpheus from The Matrix film series, along with lines directly referencing quotes from the movies along with some thematic elements. Fans of The Matrix will also note elements relating the the movie franchise such as two men wearing identical suits and sunglasses and a bending spoon.