The turf of Superbowl XLIII is tilled with the seeds of glory and paid for by the cost of commercial airtime. This year NBC made $206 million from ads alone. Here now, the best!
Preparing this list it occurs to me, though the theory isn't fully formed as you can see, that Superbowl commercials form a neat arc. Starting in the 1970s, the ads were brazenly and unironically sexy. This overt sexiness carried over into the 80s where commercials often included famous football players. The player involvement and sexytime boob shot flagged in the early nineties. By 1998, ad teams had come up with a new trope: silly anthropomorphized animals.Lizards, raccoons, horses, a menagerie of beasts. By 1998, there was a preponderance of silly creatures. Starting in the aughts, these silly animals themselves were replaced by overt sexiness though this time the boobs were accompanied by a self-knowing wink. This brings us to today, when boobs and winks are used to sell the majority of products. As Hamilton Nolan noted on Friday this seems to be the season of the hard sell. Winking has turned into blinking which has morphed into squeezing ones eyes so tight the frigid economic apocalypse isn't let in at all.