Characters are increasingly becoming the best part of football’s biggest night. Only two brand mascots were featured during Super Bowl XLIV in 2010 — Jack from Jack in the Box and the Budweiser Clydesdale Horses. By 2019, Super Bowl LIII featured at least seven characters in teaser and full-length commercial spots.
Brand mascots, which historically have always followed certain guidelines with their characters, get the rare chance to go off the script during the Super Bowl. Throughout the decade, their commercials have been almost always hilarious, silly, and sometimes… hot? (You probably know which commercial I’m talking about, and yes it is on the list.) Let’s take a look back at the best, most memorable brand mascot Super Bowl commercials from the 2010s.
1. M&M’s | Human
The M&M’S spokescandies have been regulars in the Super Bowl circuit since 2012. Picking just one of their BBDO-led game night commercials to highlight was not easy!
Red stripped down to his brown shell in 2012, and sang along to LMFAO’s “Sexy And I Know It.” See it was all an effort to impress Ms. Brown at a party, whom he thought was naked. Brown shell and all.
One year later, Red sang Meat Loaf’s “I’d Do Anything For Love.” This was before Red admitted he would, well, not do anything for love where it was implied he would be licked, chewed on, or baked alive.
Yellow, meanwhile, went through a frightening abduction in 2014. Nobody seems to talk enough about how Red’s counterpart was almost ground up into a sundae…
Eventually, the pair reunited with Orange in 2019 to act out as unruly backseat car passengers.
However, the M&M’S commercial that truly won the 2010s Super Bowl was 2018’s “Human.” In this spot, Red makes a wish on a lucky penny that he could be human. The character transforms into actor Danny DeVito, who plays Red’s persona perfectly.
Red/Danny gleefully dashes around New York City asking pedestrians if they want to eat him. Nobody does! It’s an M&M’S spokescandy dream come true. That is, until he forgets that being human means you shouldn’t stand in the middle of the road. A truck hits Red/Danny and he goes flying into a bodega. Red/Danny lives and is ultimately pleased with his new look, although Ms. Brown is quick to quip, “You’re still short and bald.”
2. Coca-Cola | Catch
As Super Bowl XLVI played on in 2012, one of the iconic Coca-Cola Polar Bears left his snowy cave in search of a Coke. He fumbles with the “catch” as a group of other polar bears tosses him a glass Coke bottle.
The bear slips all over the ice in an effort to hold it… wait… touchdown! He made it!
Interestingly enough, two versions of this commercial were prepped by Coca-Cola to subtly reflect the teams (the Patriots and the Giants) playing during the big game. Look at their scarves in the opening as the hint. The team with the losing colored scarf represented the bear that had to get up and get the Coke bottle.
3. Tide | Get Off My Horse
Households across America watched Tide take over Super Bowl 2018 with a series of “It’s Another Tide Ad” commercials.
Created by Saatchi & Saatchi New York, one spot featured actor David Harbour (the Tide ad guy) invading what initially looked like an Old Spice ad starring the Old Spice Guy played by Isaiah Mustafa. The Old Spice Guy is doing what he does best: looking effortlessly charming atop a white horse. That is, until it becomes clear that this is yet another Tide ad and one that hijacked an iconic spokesperson’s big moment.
4. Mr. Clean | Cleaner Of Your Dreams
You either loved to see or love-hated to see the newly seductive version of Mr. Clean. Leo Burnett Toronto pulled out all the stops in a newly CGI’d Mr. Clean, who made his debut during 2017’s Super Bowl LI. After all, he’ll clean your home for you from top to bottom… and you gotta love a man who cleans.
5. Bud Light | The Bud Knight
Dilly Dilly! Super Bowl 52 marked the first appearance of the Bud Knight, the new Bud Light mascot from creative agency Wieden + Kennedy.
The Bud Knight arrives in the middle of a medieval battle, presumably to save the day. Instead, he rides off to the nearby Ye Olde Convenience Store for a case of Bud Light. The Bud Knight admits to the villagers that he’s actually en route to a buddy’s 30th birthday. If the villagers survive they can stop by later— eh, you know what? He might as well vanquish their enemies now so they can party together!
6. Jack in the Box | #JACKvsMARTHA
Fast food’s iconic Jack of Jack in the Box fame has spent the last decade working the Super Bowl circuit to varying degrees of success. He bungee jumped in 2010, and joined a hair metal band called Hot Mess in 2013.
Jack even acted as a quasi-Christopher Columbus, with a Declaration of Delicious declared during the 2016 Super Bowl.
However, Jack may be at his best when he’s leaning into his competitive side. In 2018, ad agency David & Goliath took Jack toe-to-toe against the queen of domesticity, Martha Stewart. See, Martha made a sandwich that looked suspiciously like Jack’s latest menu offerings. Jack declared his sandwich could take on her sandwich any day of the week. Martha retaliated — by yanking Jack’s nose off his face. Ouch!
Don’t worry. Martha helped put Jack’s nose back on. And their Twitter feud was less of a war and more of an overall blip in the brand mascot social media landscape.
7. Planters | Crunch Time
It’s Mr. Peanut like you’ve never seen him before! The legendary legume made his debut at Super Bowl LIII in 2019, frantically swerving down side streets and roads in the famous Nutmobile. His mission? He’s saving fans, like Alex Rodriguez, from boring game day snacks.
Why chew on kale chips when there’s Planters Mixed Nuts? It’s crunch time for the game and the snack tray, and Mr. P’s your MVP.
8. RadioShack | The Phone Call
Watch this 2014 Super Bowl spot from GSD&M very closely and you’ll see why it made it on our list.
The premise? The 1980s called and want their store back. ‘80s icons storm the shop, ranging from hair metal bands to Jason Voorhees. Blink and you’ll miss the California Raisins pushing a stereo off the shelf. Guess they heard the news through the grapevine!