The Top 13 Super Bowl Food Commercials, Ranked

Super Bowl commercials are big business for the companies vying for a very expensive time slot during the big game. From a financial standpoint, there is a lot on the line: A 30-second slot during the 2022 Super Bowl cost a whopping $6.5 million, according to Statista. But that was just the average price, with some companies paying more. That money spent seems to be worth the staggering cost, as Kantar reported a return of investment for those 2022 commercials at $4.60 for every $1 spent. Needless to say, companies would be wise to invest in a Super Bowl ad slot.

The challenge these brands face every year is producing a memorable ad that people will be talking about around the water cooler the next day. Inevitably, there are going to be some Super Bowl commercial flops, but the data suggests that the ones that rise to the occasion yield strong financial results. Let's take a look back at the most memorable Super Bowl food and beverage ads over the years.

13. M&M's: Sexy and I Know It (2012)

The M&M's company is no stranger to memorable Super Bowl moments. In 2012, it capitalized on what was one of the biggest songs around at the time, namely "Sexy and I Know It" by the group LMFAO. In the candy company's Super Bowl commercial, the central Red M&M's spokescandy rips off his outer red shell, exposing the milk chocolate layer underneath, due to an awkward misunderstanding. Using a popular song plus a little humor is an easy way to get people paying attention, and it seems to have paid off for M&M's.

12. Doritos: Man's Best Friend (2012)

Doritos is consistently a top performer in the Super Bowl. In fact, it's probably one of the food-related ads fans look forward to the most each year, like Budweiser is for its annual beer-related Super Bowl commercials. 2012 was one of the many other years Doritos stood out, relying on the classic age-old feud between cats and dogs.

In the that year's Super Bowl ad, we see a man being essentially blackmailed by his dog, whom he suspects is the cause for a missing cat. Bribed with a bag of Doritos, the man keeps silent when his wife asks about the whereabouts of their own cat while the dog watches on. It is a simple yet effective crowd-pleaser of a commercial, and one that fans still talk about to this day.

11. Pepsi: Cindy Crawford (1992)

Pepsi has been a Super Bowl stronghold for decades. Not only do Pepsi's Super Bowl commercials bring in major talent and over-the-top production value year after year, but the company was also the sponsor of the Super Bowl halftime show for 10 years (via CNN). But back in the day, years before Pepsi laid any claim to the halftime show or elaborate commercials, it kept things very simple by relying on pure star power.

If we had to name an "it" girl of the early 1990s, Cindy Crawford would be one of the first names that came to mind. Pepsi was well aware of this and recruited the supermodel to appear in its Super Bowl commercial in 1992. The ad itself is very simple: A red sports car pulls up along a dusty road, and Cindy Crawford steps out, walks up to a vending machine, buys a can of Pepsi, and drinks it as two young boys look on. That's all there is to it, but few could sell a can of soda quite like Cindy Crawford could.

10. Wendy's: Where's the Beef (1984)

Brands can learn a thing or two from Wendy's when it comes to giving an otherwise lifeless company some personality. The fast food chain has been known to throw some shade toward its competitors on social media in recent years, but Wendy's is no stranger to going after rival companies on the grounds that it serves a higher-quality product. As far back as 1984, Wendy's was creating advertisements that simply ask: "Where's the beef?"

In that year's Super Bowl commercial, three elderly women are inspecting a hamburger with quite a lot of bread, only to find out that there is hardly any meat in between the two buns. Wendy's even went so far as to claim in the ad that its modestly named Single hamburger had more meat than Burger King's Whopper or McDonald's Big Mac sandwiches — that is bold. One thing is sure: You can count on Wendy's for having no shame in calling out other fast food chains, even when it's on the nation's largest stage.

9. Doritos: Keep Your Hands Off My Doritos (2010)

Doritos are a snack that appeals to a wide audience, no matter how old they are. Whether you personally like Doritos or not, the company itself has made it clear in its ads that those who love the chips will do anything to get their hands on them.

In the brand's 2010 Super Bowl ad, Doritos leaned into the fierce fan loyalty it enjoys by featuring a man named Kyle visiting his girlfriend and meeting her young son, Jalen. Kyle makes the dire mistake of grabbing one of Jalen's Doritos, which prompts a slap to the face from the boy and one of the most memorable lines in Super Bowl commercial history: "Keep your hands off my mama. Keep your hands off my Doritos." Leave it to a young kid to carry the weight of a multimillion-dollar ad on his shoulders like no other.

8. McDonald's: The Showdown (1993)

In the 1980s and early 1990s, the basketball world was dominated by two towering figures: Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. So when McDonald's managed to get both superstars to appear in the same Super Bowl commercial in 1993, we can only imagine the number of households who put everything on pause to watch when it aired.

The campaign featured two separate installments totaling one minute and 30 seconds of ad time, which would cost quite a pretty penny in today's Super Bowl ad figures. In the commercials, Bird challenges Jordan to a one-on-one basket-shooting contest for the right to eat a Big Mac sandwich, with increasingly complicated shots to make as the competition wears on (and obviously, they both make all of the shots because it's Larry Bird and Michael Jordan). From Jordan's matching sweatshirt and shorts set to the music playing in the background, the commercials scream 1990s, and they went down in history as among McDonald's most memorable ad campaigns.

7. Pepsi: Now and Then (2002)

Many of the brands that succeed at Super Bowl commercials do so because they have been around long enough to understand what goes into a successful ad campaign. Pepsi embraced that philosophy in its 2002 ad, which featured pop singer Britney Spears at the height of her stardom in a lengthy 90-second commercial, going through several decades of Pepsi ads. Each era features the clothing, the music, and the vibes of each decade, from the 1950s to what was, at the time, the present day.

We're not sure what Pepsi's stronger argument was in this Super Bowl ad: if Pepsi is for every generation or if Britney Spears can seriously pull off any era as the absolute icon that she is. Regardless, the commercial was one to remember.

6. Snickers: The Brady Bunch (2015)

Some Super Bowl commercials go for explosive production value, while others go for the biggest celebrity endorsement they can afford. Other commercials, like the ones produced by Snickers, go for comedy gold, and that was surely achieved in its 2015 Super Bowl ad featuring the Brady Bunch. It had been several decades since the eponymous sitcom had aired on television, but the core demographic that grew up watching the show were surely tuned into the big game when this commercial aired.

The candy company's "You're not you when you're hungry" campaign was never more apparent when parents Mike and Carol Brady are trying to calm down their teenage daughter, Marcia. Only instead of Maureen McCormick, it is actor Danny Trejo they are talking to, thanks to some top-notch editing. And as the icing on the cake, Steve Buscemi makes a cameo as Jan. It's a hilarious commercial that further solidified Snickers' place as a brand to be on the lookout for during each Super Bowl.

5. Mr. Peanut: Death and Rebirth (2020)

In the digital age of social media, brands can reach out to customers well before the Super Bowl to begin their ad campaigns, which was exactly what happened with Mr. Peanut in 2020. While the big game aired on February 2, it was announced a couple of weeks prior that the Mr. Peanut mascot tragically died at the age of 104 in a precursor advertisement featuring Matt Walsh and Wesley Snipes (via YouTube). While causing some confusion among consumers, the announcement of Mr. Peanut's heroic sacrifice also generated some buzz for the company's Super Bowl commercial (via Insider).

The ad that aired during the big game reunites Walsh, Snipes, and an audience of other iconic brand mascots at the funeral for Mr. Peanut. Thanks to what are apparently magical tears from the Kool-Aid Man, Mr. Peanut is reborn. The bizarre two-part saga had viewers talking for weeks, which was likely exactly what Mr. Peanut had intended.

4. Mountain Dew Kickstart: Puppymonkeybaby (2016)

If you're talking about a Super Bowl commercial the following week with your friends or co-workers, then the company did its job. No matter how uncomfortable you feel about Puppymonkeybaby, Mountain Dew knew exactly what it was doing, and it succeeded.

Let's back things up and give you a fuller picture: The year is 2016, and Mountain Dew airs its Super Bowl commercial to advertise its Kickstart beverage, which combines three main ingredients (Mountain Dew, juice, and caffeine), creating a hybrid product. To drive the point home, three friends are visited by "Puppymonkeybaby," which is exactly as creepy looking as you think it is. To this day, the Mountain Dew ad is among the most bizarre and somewhat frightening Super Bowl commercials in history. Puppymonkeybaby even made a return visit in a 2022 commercial (via YouTube), proving that the disturbing puppy-monkey-baby hybrid still lives rent-free in our minds.

3. Flamin' Hot Cheetos and Doritos: Push It (2022)

In case anyone has any doubts as to the appeal of Flamin' Hot chips from Doritos and Cheetos, the brands argue in their 2022 Super Bowl ad that it can make a sloth run as fast as you've ever seen one move. Though one of the more recent commercials in this roundup, it is in the running for one of the most clever ads, in part due to how effective it is in advertising not one product but two.

Doritos and Cheetos are owned by Frito-Lay, and in 2022, the parent company decided to double-dip and advertise both products in its Super Bowl ad. In a slick two-for-one commercial slot, the ad features a woman exploring the great outdoors when she accidentally drops her open bags of Flamin' Hot Doritos and Cheetos onto the ground. The surrounding wildlife, including a sloth, a deer, and a bear, immediately descend on the snacks, and their sneezes and coughs from the heat come together in a percussive symphony of the song "Push It" by Salt-N-Pepa. Cute animals immediately draw viewers in, and when you combine them with an instantly recognizable song, you have an easy formula for a memorable Super Bowl commercial.

2. Doritos and Mountain Dew: A Song of Ice and Fire (2018)

What can be better than seeing Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman appear in the same Super Bowl commercial together? How about seeing Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman lip-sync incredibly fast in the same Super Bowl commercial? That is the gamble Doritos and Mountain Dew, two products ultimately owned by parent company PepsiCo, took in 2018, and it paid off big time.

Coming off of the massive success of the HBO series "Game of Thrones," Dinklage and Freeman appeared in a commercial aptly titled "A Song of Ice and Fire," inspired by the George R.R. Martin novel that was adapted into the television series. In the commercial, Dinklage lip-syncs to Busta Rhymes' iconic verse in "Look at Me Now" by Chris Brown in a fiery display for Doritos Blaze, and Freeman lip-syncs to "Get Ur Freak On" by Missy Elliot in a cool fashion for Mountain Dew Ice.

1. Snickers: Betty White (2010)

The late and oh-so-great actress and comic genius Betty White is front and center in an advertisement for Snickers in 2010, one which viewers surveyed by Mashed herald as the most memorable Super Bowl commercial of all time. As a part of Snickers' often memorable "You're not you when you're hungry" campaign, White is the substitute persona for Mike, a young and usually spry man playing football with his friends — except he's not quite himself without a Snickers.

The commercial was an instant success and is still talked about over a decade later. The ad even features a cameo appearance by the late actor Abe Vigoda. The commercial has been called one of White's greatest moments, and it's clear to see why. It's simply hysterical to see her getting tackled out on the field, but she takes it like a champ and throws in some sass for good measure. RIP, legend.

Static Media owns and operates Daily Meal and Mashed.