Our Favorite Game Day Ads

By Erika Stutzman     |     February 03, 2017

As we head into what is arguably the biggest television advertising weekend of the year, as marketers we wanted to review our past faves.

The screen-shot-2017-02-03-at-12-23-05-pmcommercials played during Super Bowl LI are likely to once again be the most talked-about television advertising spots of the year. Social media has amplified the ad spend dollars for the brands that can afford game day ads (an understandably small universe). Many of the full spots have already been viewed on YouTube and spread around Facebook and Twitter.

Social media has also changed the scope of what brands are capable of. Consider the wow-huh-what? factor of #SNICKERSLive, a 36-hour livestream event surrounding their game day ad.



It’s hard to overstate the impact Apple’s “1984” had on television advertising that year. The announcement of the coming Macintosh computer made waves at the time, and continues to be studied by marketing and film students today. (And the book it was based on, Orwell’s “1984,” is now making waves for wholly different reasons.) In addition to being stunning to look at, the ad established the Mac (and in turn, Apple) as a cool, anti-establishment game changer long before Steve Jobs’ product announcements became must-see TV.

— Erika Stutzman, Editorial Director


The Doritos 2016 ad was definitely a hit with the guys at the Super Bowl party I attended. As a father that has endured the “abuse” from a pregnant wife, this one really made me laugh. However, women did not find it as funny. Go figure. Very memorable, and an interesting incorporation of the popular product.

— Brian Bishop, Account Director


Budweiser has a longstanding reputation for having iconic and memorable game day ads, but this ad from 2015 was a real tear-jerker. The 62-second commercial tells the heart-wrenching story of a lost puppy heroically saved by the famous Budweiser Clydesdales. I’m not crying, there’s just something in my eye.

         — Austen Overman, Account Manager


In this 2017 ad, actor John Malkovich attempts to claim his domain, JohnMalkovich.com for his new fashion business. Unfortunately, his domain is already taken. He preps an email to the site owner in typical John Malkovich tone…which means several *bleeps* throughout his email typing. Squarespace highlights a frustration that many people experience, bringing some humor to it with the very sarcastic and authentic tone of John Malkovich.

— Brian Bishop, Account Director


Shock Top took advantage of their product’s unfiltered nature in the form of bar banter with the already identifiable Shock Top tap handle. The campaign featured TJ Miller, a very “unfiltered” standup comedian, trading trash talk with the animated tap handle. The first video introduced the love/hate dynamic duo trading one liners. Longer form video revealed TJ and the Shock Top handle watching the Superbowl together, riffing on the 2016 Super Bowl commercials. It highlighted what marketers have known for years: The only thing better than watching the Superbowl with friends  is watching the commercials with friends.

— Max Morganfield, Account Supervisor


This Newcastle Brown Ale commercial really breaks the fourth wall. It was written by marketers for marketers, about the gimmicks all marketers follow. Technically, it’s not a game day ad, but by emphasizing that it’s not an expensive Super Bowl event ad ($4 million for 30 seconds) it performs as both a parody and a mainstream football commercial.

And Aubrey Plaza is hilarious.

— Maya Shaff, Account Director


This iconic Coca-Cola ad from 1979 became an instant classic, and set the bar for many event commercials that followed. Some of the elements may now seem overplayed decades later, but they were unexpected at the time. It plays against the Mean Joe Green stereotype/persona, and has a cute kid/aww factor. Bowing to tradition, the product is still the star here, with the Coke as both a hero, which bridges a human divide, and something that looks refreshing and delicious.

— Erika Stutzman, Editorial Director


I remember clearly the first time I watched this and even now, it brings tears to my eyes. I was watching the game and room fell silent. It reminded me that not everyone is watching the game in a safe space.  There was a follow up ad last year that was also impactful. The domestic violence stats are astounding and it’s a great reminder to be on the lookout for warning signs.

— Martha Brown, Account Supervisor

About Erika Stutzman

Erika Stutzman was an award-winning reporter and editor for 20 years at newspapers in Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, Washington, D.C. and Boulder, Colorado. Erika enjoys helping Room 214’s team and its clients tell their own unique stories in compelling ways. If she's not writing, she's probably skiing, camping, trail running or at the farmers' market.

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