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5 Classic Super Bowl Commercials That Still Warm Our Hearts

A look back at some of the ads that made a lasting emotional impression on us all

spinner image A puppy and a clydesdale look at each other in a Budweiser Super Bowl commercial

Every year since 1967, Americans have huddled around the television on Super Bowl Sunday in hopes of watching a great football game. For those who aren’t sports fans, there’s still reason to tune in: the clever commercials that offer advertisers a chance to make us laugh, cry and, yes, buy stuff.​​

This year you can expect the usual lineup of commercials from companies selling cars, beer and chips, featuring grownup celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum, Ken Jeong, Kris Jenner, Terrell Owens, Vince Vaughn, Wayne Gretzky and the return of the beloved Budweiser Clydesdale horses.

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In anticipation of the big game on Feb. 11, here are five commercials from Super Bowls past that were especially successful in warming viewers’ hearts — and still do today. Plus, watch one of our favorite Super Bowl commercials from last year's game.

Coca-Cola: “Mean Joe Greene” (1980)

NFL star “Mean” Joe Greene turned out not to be so mean in this Coke commercial. Although it first aired in October 1979, it wasn’t until its Super Bowl debut in 1980 that it gained widespread attention. Prepare for goose bumps.​

Wendy’s: “Where’s the Beef?” (1984)

Character actress Clara Peller, then 81 years old, uttered the iconic catchphrase that still makes us smile nearly four decades later. That Peller’s complaint to her two friends was about something as mundane as the disappointing size of a hamburger patty doesn’t diminish the lasting cultural significance of the three words she uttered: “Where’s the beef?”​​

McDonald’s: “Mike’s Story” (1991)

​Everyone loves a tale about overcoming obstacles and finding success. That’s what McDonald’s portrayed in 1991 in “Mike’s Story,” a touching reminder that anyone has the ability to achieve the best version of themself. Grab the Kleenex.​

Nike: “There Is No Finish Line” (1991)

Another commercial from 1991, this one took your average running sequence and combined it with inspiration, athleticism and heart. Through perseverance and a slick pair of shoes — Nike was selling a product, after all — there really is no finish line, the company wants you to believe.​​

Budweiser: “Puppy Love” (2014)

Budweiser has landed on a winning formula for tugging at viewers’ heartstrings: mix adorable dogs with majestic horses. Success struck again eight years ago with “Puppy Love,” a vignette that brought together an irresistible yellow Labrador puppy and an impressively maned steed — not to mention their human owners. Our tears are still drying.​​

Doritos: “Jack’s New Angle” (2023)

In a deeply satisfying 90-second morality tale and showbiz satire, the shape of the orange treat inspires Jack Harlow to infuse his music with tink-a-tinky triangle sounds. Missy Elliott calls him out for abandoning rap for the only instrument funnier than a cowbell, but his new sound inspires a nationwide triangle craze — only for him to humiliatingly lose Best Triangle Player of the Year to Elton John, 75, abandoning his piano for a giant triangle and wearing a loud pink and orange Dorito-themed jacket. Good to see a grownup put the youngsters in their place, and spoof his own famous fashion sins.

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