Many Americans watch the Super Bowl, and some even watch the game. For the rest of us, there are halftime shows (R.I.P. Left Shark) and the commercials.
Some infuriate us. Some touch us. Many make us laugh. But a few etch themselves so deeply into the American consciousness that they become pop culture references for years to come. “Bud. Wei. Ser,” anyone?
Thirty-second spots are selling somewhere in a neighborhood above $5 million for this year’s Super Bowl, but the more iconic Super Bowl ads stay with us longer than that.
See all of our most iconic Super Bowl commercials in one video above. And then take in five of our favorites:
Budweiser: Frogs (1995)
It changed the genre, transforming how we as a nation viewed beer and frogs. Forever.
The 1995 ad’s animatronic frogs were designed by the same studio that did the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.
Volkswagen: The Force (2011)
The most shared Super Bowl ad of all time features a little Darth Vader. He just wants to use the Force.
And he can, kind of, thanks to keyless ignition on the VW Passat in this 2011 spot.
It’s the dark side, made adorable.
E-Trade: Talking babies (2008)
Babies aren’t supposed to talk about investing!
E-Trade’s baby ads mark “one of the best uses of children as shills that I’ve ever seen,” one consultant told us.
Are the babies creepy? Yes.
Do the babies talk about investing in a casual, disarming way? Also yes.
Budweiser: Lost Dog (2015)
Budweiser struck at the heart with this 2015 tale of a horse, a dog and an owner who always wears a Budweiser hat.
It’s emotional. It’s heart-warming. It’s designed by a corporation to make us buy beer.
Tide: It’s a Tide Ad (2018)
Some may say it’s too recent to call iconic, but the series of Tide ads featuring “Stranger Things” star David Harbour apparently interrupting other ads to proclaim that “it’s a Tide ad” plays with the form in a meta way we’ve yet to forget.
More: Serena Williams Super Bowl ad salutes ‘ultimate first mover’
More: Doritos teams up with Chance the Rapper, Backstreet Boys for Super Bowl ad
This article updates a previous version published in 2016.