All eyes are on Superbowl for the most anticipated advertising line up of the year. Oh ….. and there is a game of football too. 2015 delivered a record viewership 114.4 million. That’s not to mention the huge amount that viewed the advertising on YouTube, some generating upwards of 20 million views. So it’s no surprise that 30 second slots this year will cost a whopping US$5 million.

Here we take at a look at how entertainment brands have been leveraged in one way or another in past Superbowls.

Unlucky Castaway

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.

Everywhere You Want to Be

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.

Priceless MacGyver

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.

The Truth in The Godfather

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.

It’s Mine

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”

Hard Times

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.

The Force

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.

Bumblebee Hits Back

Year: 2011
Client: Chevrolet
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.

Hotel Hell Vacations

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.

Soup for You!

Year: 2012
Client: Honda
Creative Agency: Mullen
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.

The 80’s Wants Their Store Back

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.

The Red Key

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.

A Very Brady Superbowl

Year: 2015
Client: Snickers
Creative Agency: BBDO NY
TV/Movie Brand: The Brady Bunch
Snickers launched ‘A Very Brady Teaser’ a few weeks before Superbowl which created a lot of buzz. The full version was released on YouTube 4 days out from Superbowl, and had racked up over 7 million viewers by Superbowl evening. The spot continued with the popular ‘You’re Not You When You’re Hungry’ Snickers theme that has in the past featured Betty White, and has been a regular advertiser at Superbowl. Using existing footage, mixed with new footage, this had early speculation on being the favourite for the year.

Life Sized Pacman

Year: 2015
Client: Bud Light
Creative Agency: Energy/BBDO
TV/Movie Brand: Pacman
Retro gaming brand Pacman is used in this commercial to create a life sized game which most of us are desperate to be a part of. The maze was created with fine attention to detail, to the point that it was actually entirely to scale down to the spacing between the power pellets and each curve in the walls. By Superbowl evening it has reached over 13 million views on YouTube.

Classic Liam Neeson

Year: 2015
Client: Clash of Clans
Creative Agency: Barton F Graf
TV/Movie Brand: Taken
Now Liam Neeson is not actually playing his character from Taken, however the script and themes are clearly borrowed from the popular movie. It seems that Neeson applies the same gritty approach to Clash of Clans as his character does in the Taken franchise.

What is ‘The Internet?’

Year: 2015
Client: BMW
Creative Agency: Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners
TV/Movie Brand: Today USA
This is a very unique and the first clip licensing commercial we’ve seen using a show format like Today USA. Here we take a look back at 1994 where personalities Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel were trying to get their head around something called ‘the internet’. 20 years on, and the same conversation is happening in the new BMW.

Say My Name

Year: 2015
Client: Esurance
Creative Agency: Leo Burnett
TV/Movie Brand: Breaking Bad
This was a surprise, mainly because there was no tease and no release of the ad prior to Superbowl. It launched during the 2nd quarter and featured Walter White from Breaking Bad, giving fans of the show something to talk about after the series finished in 2013.