Best Super Bowl ads (Part Three)

Apple, Atari and E*Trade are three tech companies that made big waves in Super Bowls past.

APPLE, “1984”

According to Steve Hayden, a co-creator of Apple’s “1984” commercial, this was Steve Jobs’ campaign brief: “I want to stop the world in its tracks.”  Mission accomplished. “1984” didn’t just announce the Macintosh’s arrival on the marketplace, or provide some modicum of entertainment during a lopsided Super Bowl between the Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins. It was a political message, one that trumpeted how technology and personal computing could empower the masses, while positioning Apple as the rebellious, counterculture brand of non-conformists.  More than a quarter century later, many people think it’s not only the greatest Super Bowl ad, but the greatest commercial ever produced. (Matt Lundy)

E*TRADE, “Monkey”

This spot is often held up as the defining commercial of the high-flying, first-wave dot-com bubble, when everyone and their brother was setting up websites, taking them public and eventually losing bucketloads of money. Here, just as the bubble was popping, E*Trade used a dancing monkey and two plaided-up simpletons to show how to waste $2 million on Super Bowl ad space. But really, it gets across the brand’s point that, while you may not be blowing your cash on dancing monkeys, you could be wasting it elsewhere. Created by San Francisco-based agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, where creative director Gerry Graf (who went on to make many other funny spots) teamed up with director Bryan Buckley, the spot is simple, entertaining and effective. Plus, who doesn’t like a dancing monkey? (Jeff Beer)

ATARI, “Easy Hook-Up”

The idea of owning a personal computer was just starting to emerge as a very real possibility for the non-nerd population when Atari enlisted Alan Alda to demonstrate just how easy it was to hook up an Atari XL to your TV. The MASH star did it in 26 seconds flat, while explaining that this machine of the future could do more than 2000 things. Hey, that’s a lot of things. (JB)