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In honour of Super Bowl XLVIII, the Wildcats at Unruly have shared with us their latest research on Super Bowl ads and have also revealed the top 20 Super Bowl ads of all time.

Last year’s collection of Super Bowl ads attracted twice as many shares as the previous year, in fact the number of video shares has grown 30x in the last three years. The trend is set to continue in 2014 with brand new ads from Budweiser, a British villains themed Jaguar ad and a Scarlett Johansson starring SodaStream set to be unveiled.

Here are some of the highlights from Unruly’s research, followed by the top 20 Super Bowl ads of all time.

  • Super Bowl Monday recorded the most amount of shares over the weekend: 3.3m. This is nine times bigger than Super Bowl Sunday itself.
  • The percentage of viewers who also shared the ads nearly doubled between 2012 and 2013. In 2012 it took 57 views to generate one share. In 2013 it took 31 views.
  • The average length of the top 10 Super Bowl ads more than doubled in three years, from 42 seconds to 89 seconds. 
  • 60% shared ads of all time were launched before Super Bowl Sunday, thereby using word-of-mouth and early publicity to generate extra shares. In fact seven of the top 20 ads used teasers to build hype.
  • The top 20 ads from the 2013 Super Bowl accounted for 93% of the shares, leaving over 70 ads fighting over the remaining 7%.

For more information and further insight from Unruly, download Unruly’s Super Bowl Playbook.

In the meantime, here are the top 20 Super Bowl ads of all time. 

01: Volkswagen – ‘The Force’ (2011) 5.2m shares

The most popular Superbowl ad of all time is this little charmer from two years ago, expertly appealing to a broad spectrum of audiences using one of the most warmly regarded franchises of all time.*

*Before 1999.

02: Budweiser – ‘9/11 tribute’ (2002) 3.3m shares

Aired only once, this touching tribute to those lost in 9/11 has trended every September since 2002.

03: Budweiser – ‘Brotherhood’ (2013) 2.7m shares

Also featured in Unruly’s 20 most shared video ads of 2013, this has the honour of making my mum cry at least twice.

04: Ram Trucks – ‘Farmer’ (2013) 1.9m shares 

If I could stand up, put my hand on my heart and sing the US national anthem I would. However the cord on my headphones is quite short and keeps me somewhat chair-bound.

05: Fast & Furious 6 – ‘Big Game Spot’ (2013) 1.5m shares

The highest charting film trailer, this was the first glimpse of the latest episode in the reinvented and widely reappraised franchise. 

06: OK GO/Chevrolet – ‘Needing/Getting’ music video (2012) 1.2m shares 

The only ‘trackvert’ to feature in the top 20 (that’s a portmanteau of track and advert, trend fans) here OK GO slide further and further into brilliant video/forgettable song territory that is entirely of their own making. 

07: Volkswagen – ‘The Bark Side’ (2012) 901,401 shares

Further capitalising on the Star Wars angle, this is possibly an exercise in endurance rather than delight.

08: Fast Five – ‘Trailer’ (2010) 888,686 shares

The second most popular film trailer to chart is another in (The) Fast and (The) Furious franchise. Here the fifth installment stripped back even more than its definite articles.

09: Star Trek Into Darkness – ‘Official Teaser’ (2013) 707,457 shares

The world’s first glimpse of the latest Star Trek film, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and so very much lens-flare.

10: M&M – ‘Sexy and I Know It’ (2012) 545, 601 shares

Anthropomorphic chocolate, ‘nudity’ and LMFAO make for one of the most indefinably perverse adverts in recent memory.

11: Samsung – ‘The Next Big Thing is Already Here’ (2012) 499,093 shares

Advertising the Galaxy S III, this cheekily rips into Apple without being too explicit in its intention. It’s a subtle and delicately played advert.

12: Chrysler – ‘Imported From Detroit’ (2011) 449,541 shares

Detroit’s two most famous sons, Chrysler and Eminem, join forces for this paean to the motor city.

13: Reebok – ‘Terry Tate Office Linebacker’ (2003) 421,553 shares 

My very favourite advert of all time celebrated its 10th anniversary last year and it just gets better and better every damn time I watch it. Although I had forgotten it was advertising Reebok. 

14: Volkswagen – ‘Get In. Get Happy’ (2013) 372,460 shares

Volkswagen is dominating this ‘all-time’ chart and here’s number three of four. How do you feel about this advert? I would say its a bit… iffy.

15: Volkswagen – ‘The Dog Strikes Back’ (2012) 321,705 shares 

Here’s Volkswagen’s fourth & final entry and its highest budget Star Wars partnership. The Dog Strikes Back (links to the NFL website).

16: Best Buy – ‘Justin Bieber and Ozzy Osbourne’ (2011) 262,667 shares

At last, a legitimate reason to add Justin Bieber to our meta-tags.

17: Jeep – ‘Whole Again’ (2013) 241,442 shares 

Jeep partnered with Operation Safe Return for this tribute to US troops.

18: Cowboys & Aliens – ‘Trailer’ (2011) 229,808 shares

That’s approximately 200,000 more than the amount of people who went to see it at the cinema. 

19: Doritos – ‘Goat 4 Sale’ (2013) 215,550 shares 

This fan-made advert won Doritos ‘Crash the Super Bowl’ competition and is certainly one of the more idiosyncratic ads to ever be shown at that time. Therefore it’s brilliant.

20: Doritos – ‘Best Part’ (2011) 214,962 shares

Finally, Doritos dominates the bottom two spots with oddness and revulsion. Good work, Doritos. Carry on as you are.

For more viral ad winners, take a look at 2013’s most shared video ads.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 16 January, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (4)


Peyton Manning

Hey man, the superbowl isn't this weekend!

almost 3 years ago

Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff, Editor at Methods Unsound / Search Engine Watch

Way ahead of you, but thanks for the quick spot.

almost 3 years ago


Richard Guereca

Great ads. I always felt that humorous ads are the ones that are remembered. A good laugh and a flash of the product and it gets locked into my memory. I'm trying to use wit and humor on my internet marketing blog as well.

Thanks for sharing.

almost 3 years ago



You really can't say of "All Time" when you are missing some real classics such as Apple's 1984 Big Brother commercial or Coke's Mean Joe Green's classic. Those commercials had staying power, meaning they were talked about for years and made an impact on sales without the help of Youtube or social media.

almost 3 years ago

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