Super Bowl LII is just five days away and tonight CBS is counting down the greatest Super Bowl commercials of all time. “Super Bowl Greatest Commercials 2018” will be hosted by former NFL quarterback and CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason and Daniela Ruah from “NCIS: Los Angeles.” Tonight, viewers will be able to vote live for their favorite Man vs. Beast commercials while the special pays tribute to some of the greatest Super Sunday spots from McDonald’s, Apple and Budweiser.
CBS Local talked with executive producer Bob Horowitz about what people can expect tonight, what makes an effective Super Bowl ad and if Super Bowl commercials are still worth the money.
What makes a great Super Bowl commercial?
Bob Horowitz: Super Bowl commercials have to hit on one of two fronts. Either they have to tug on the heart strings and be emotional and warm and fuzzy or there has to be shock value. It has to be very funny, which takes it to the water cooler component the next morning.
What can people expect when they watch the “Super Bowl Greatest Commercials 2018” special on CBS tonight?
BH: The special tonight touches on both emotion and humor. If you look at pitchmen in Super Bowl commercials, they can be a celebrity or a baby and then you have Madison Avenue, which has invested big time in animals. That’s everything from puppies, to Clydesdales to frogs. Tonight, we are going to let the viewers decide which commercials resonate the most.
What are some of your favorite Super Bowl commercials of all-time?
BH: The Mean Joe Greene Coca Cola kids spot from 1980 is a terrific spot because it lives on forever and ever. It was that touching moment between Mean Joe and the kid. Another great spot was the McDonald’s Nothing But Net spot with Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. We are celebrating the 25 year anniversary of that tonight. I love that spot. I love the Apple 1984 commercial with the big product launch for the Macintosh. That really brought Super Bowl commercials into the forefront as major impactful vehicles for Madison Avenue to sell products on Super Bowl Sunday. I really kind of attribute the 1984 spot to taking Super Bowl commercials to that level where everyone is talking about them year in and year out.
There is a hefty price tag associated with Super Bowl commercials. How much value do these ads still carry for companies?
BH: I think Super Bowl commercials are probably the one guaranteed media buy that exists. There’s only one place to watch the Super Bowl, which is on network TV. It’s an event that pulls women as much as men. When you advertise during the Super Bowl, you know you are going to get that audience. It doesn’t matter if the matchup is the New England Patriots vs. the Philadelphia Eagles or if it was the Jacksonville Jaguars against the Minnesota Vikings. The Super Bowl is going to get a good rating year in and year out. It’s not just about the three hours of the game, it’s also about the build up and lead up where you’re hoping to get your product message out there as apart of a viral campaign and that costs money. A Super Bowl commercial investment goes far beyond the money you pay to a network televising the game.
Which sponsors will you be thinking about on Sunday?
BH: I’m interested to see Doritos back in the Super Bowl. Doritos for 10 years did their whole campaign of crash the Super Bowl, which were user-generated spots where they had average Joes and Janes creating Super Bowl commercials. Two years ago was the last year of that, so Doritos is back in the game with a whole new campaign. There’s a Hyundai spot I’m really interested to see that they’re doing last minute this week in Minneapolis. Then, how can you go into a Sunday and not be excited about what Budweiser has up their sleeve.
Check out “Super Bowl Greatest Commercials 2018” tonight at 8pm EST/PST on CBS.