News & Views

The Most Shared Super Bowl Ads Of All Time

by Contagious Contributor

Unruly Media's head of content, David Waterhouse, provides some pre-match build up with a look back at the most shared Super Bowl spots ever.

For many brands, the Super Bowl is the biggest event in the advertising calendar. Besides celebrating the abilities of muscle-bound giants to run into each other at full speed, Super Bowl weekend has also traditionally been a showcase for the biggest, flashiest and weirdest advertising the world’s biggest brands have to offer.

This aspect of the Super Bowl was an analogue joy for most of the tournament’s history, with only the keenest of the keen recording the best game ads onto VHS. However the internet has utterly changed how we consume Super Bowl commercials, with shareability and rewatch value determining which ads ‘win’ the weekend.

To prepare for the upcoming ad bonanza, we’re happy to share the top ten most shared Super Bowl ads of all time.

10. Volkswagen: The Bark Side – 918,587 shares
From: Super Bowl 2012

As the title suggests, Volkswagen’s The Bark Side is an homage to Star Wars and the follow-up to The Force, our number one spot (but more on that later). Combining two timeless advertising ingredients  nostalgia and cute animals  we can’t imagine there was ever much doubt this spot would do well. After all, who can resist a puppy dressed as an Ewok?

9. Paramount: Fast and Furious 7 trailer – 1,317,954 shares
From: Super Bowl 2015

Paramount’s trailer for Fast & Furious 7 came an impressive second in last year’s Super Bowl ad race, thanks to its ambitious storytelling, all-star cast and a sequence in which a sports car flies between two skyscrapers.

8. Chevrolet: Needing/Getting from 2012 – 1,342,199 shares
From: Super Bowl 2012

Chicago’s OK Go have managed to carve out a unique place for themselves in the music industry by producing high-concept, hugely shareable videos, often with the help of corporate sponsors. The video for their song Needing/Getting is so impressive that Chevrolet released it as its primary Super Bowl campaign in 2012, and we can see why. We bet you won’t be able to turn it off.

7. Fast & Furious 6: Big Game Spot – 1,504,906 shares
From: Super Bowl 2013

The Fast & Furious franchise has a happy history with the Super Bowl, having previously cracked the most-shared ads back in 2013. If you needed any proof that game day is a fine time to launch an action film, then here’s your evidence.

6. Ram Trucks: Farmer – 1,940,642 shares
From: Super Bowl 2013

Ram Trucks’ 2013 hit Farmer taps into something essential about the spirit of Super Bowl ads: they often celebrate the quintessentially American. The spot is no exception, using a famous speech by Paul Harvey titled ‘God Made a Farmer’ to venerate rural, working class America.

5. Budweiser: Puppy Love – 2,015,010 shares
From: Super Bowl 2014

Thanks to a run of incredibly successful ads, Budweiser have managed to make themselves synonymous with Super Bowl entertainment. Their recent campaigns have revolved around a few unchanging elements: puppies, sentimental and the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales. 2014’s Puppy Love certainly ticks all three boxes.

4. Budweiser: Lost Dog – 2,543,232 shares
Year: Super Bowl 2015

Last year, Budweiser managed to top the ad race with ‘Lost Dog’, a slightly more harrowing play on the formula that involves an epic return to the brand’s iconic farmhouse.

3. Budweiser: Brotherhood – 2,945,145 shares
Year: Super Bowl 2013

Okay, you get the idea  while all their ads are reasonably similar, Budweiser do have a gift for wrenching those Sunday afternoon emotions. The masterstroke in 2013’s Brotherhood is a mournful cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide.

2. Budweiser: 9/11 Commercial from 2002 – 3,490,685 shares
Year: Super Bowl 2002

By far the oldest ad on this list, Budweiser’s 2002 Super Bowl commercial predates the social web as we know it. However the spot has been so widely shared because of the brand’s tribute to the events of September 11th 2001, only a few months after they had occurred. That, and the fact that it was only ever aired once, has made Budweiser’s spot somewhat iconic.

1. Volkswagen: The Force – 5,356,887 shares
Year: Super Bowl 2011

Topping the chart, Volkswagen’s The Force may seem like an odd contender for the most-shared Super Bowl ad of all time. It’s a cheery parody of a ‘70’s sci-fi classic, starring a precocious boy in a Darth Vader costume. But long before Kim Kardashian #BrokeTheInternet, The Force became an unprecedented viral phenomenon, setting the gold standard for all Super Bowl spots since.