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.

Let Noxema Cream Your Face
Talky sex puppet Farah Fawcett creams all over Joe Namath's face during SUperbowl VII in 1973.


Miller Light
In 1980, MIller LIght ran a series of ads featuring Colts QB Bert Jones and Steelers lineman LC Greenwood in a series of epistolary encounters not dissimilar to Griffin & Sabine.

GM Robot
Wall-E meets that Pixar lamp meets Brazil and the Industrial Revolution. 2007


Pepsi P. Diddy
Pepsi plays on the idea that P. Diddy is such a sell-out that he would produce a rap song featuring a can of soda pop. And—and here is the real stroke of genius—P. Diddy is such a sell out that he actually does end up producing a rap song featuing a can of soda pop. Fuck you, Pepsi.

PETA Veggie Love
There is a lot of hullabaloo surrounding this ad which was rejected by NBC for broadcast during the afternoon's game. Whilst I disagree with NBC's reasong (they claimed it was too sexy) I do think this ad is genuinely horrible. A girl shoving a stalk of broccoli up her cooter doesn't make me want to stop eating meat even a little. So you thought this was a best of list but it's not really because this ad is blech.