Top 22 Best TV Commercials of Each Year (2000 - 2021)

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Top 22 Best TV Commercials of Each Year (2000 - 2021)

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nancy Roberge-Renaud
Say what you will about commercials, but we occassionally get great ones. For this list, we'll be looking at the most memorable TV commercials from the years 2000 to 2021. Our countdown includes Dos Equis' "The Most Interesting Man" from 2007, Snickers' Betty White collaboration from 2010, Jeep's "Groundhog Day" from 2020, and more!
Transcript
Say what you will about commercials, but we occassionally get great ones. For this list, we’ll be looking at the most memorable TV commercials from the years 2000 to 2021. Our countdown includes Dos Equis' "The Most Interesting Man" from 2007, Snickers' Betty White collaboration from 2010, Jeep's "Groundhog Day" from 2020, and more! What’s your favorite commercial during this period? Let us know in the comments!

2000: "Whassup"

Budweiser

This is perhaps one of the most recognizable commercials of our time, as it basically became a viral sensation before viral sensations were even a thing. Budweiser’s “Whassup” commercial aired during Super Bowl 34 in January 2000 and is still quoted to this very day. The man behind the campaign was Vinny Warren, a creative director at DDB ad agency in Chicago. Originally taken from a short film titled “TRUE” about a few friends hanging out on the phone, Warren and his team added in a few beers and the rest is history. Budweiser would go on to show their versatility when they aired a memorable (and touching) tribute to 9/11 victims in 2002’s Respect campaign. Cheers to them!

2001: “Basketball Freestyle”

Nike

Did Nike aid basketball’s “cool factor” over the years? We think so. In 2001, their “Freestyle” commercial aired, in which a mix of professional and street basketball players showed their skills. The sounds from their moves subsequently formed a catchy hip hop beat. Director Paul Hunter, who has an extensive resume of ads and music videos, has said it was his favorite project. The commercial was so popular that it even spawned a spoof in the comedy “Scary Movie 2.” And by featuring the likes of up-and-coming rookies such as Lamar Odom and Darius Miles, as well as a then pro Vince Carter, it remains a truly impressive piece of visual and auditory magic.

2002: “The Joy of Pepsi”

Pepsi

During the late 90s and early 2000s, Britney Spears was arguably at the height of her career. So, it was only a matter of time before the singer was recruited for an ad campaign. Soft drink giant, Pepsi, ultimately won that bid in 2002. Their commercial, “The Joy of Pepsi,” is much like a music video, complete with choreographed dancing and earworm beats. Of course, Pepsi has a long history of celebrity spokespeople, from Michael Jackson to Ray Charles to David Beckham. Britney Spears’s turn at the “soda mic” was certainly a memorable one, not to mention a true testament to her charismatic talent.

2003: “Terry Tate: Office Linebacker”

Reebok

In this commercial, former wrestler and football player, Lester Speight, plays Terry Tate, a linebacker hired by the company Felcher and Sons to keep its office workers in line. The contrast between the two worlds is what makes this so hilarious to watch, as the meek office workers are schooled by a freight train of an athlete. From Mitch getting tackled for taking an extended break to Gene being berated for playing Solitaire, this commercial is wildly entertaining. Reebok found it to be so successful that they produced 6 episodes of these Terry Tate ads. Although, some would argue, 6 wasn’t enough!

2004: “Getting Dressed”

Lynx

Did you know that commercials can win awards, much like films and TV shows? Well, this 2004 ad won 5 of them, and was shortlisted for 3 more. The celebrated commercial features a couple waking up in bed and proceeding to get dressed. However, all of their clothes are spread throughout the streets. The pair follow the trail of discarded pieces until they get to the grocery store where we learn that they abandoned their shopping carts to, well, you know. It also features Israel Kamakawiwòole's soothing cover of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Who knew a body spray ad could be so adorable?

2005: “Bouncy Balls”

Sony Bravia

In 2005, Sony wanted to promote the color intensity provided by its new television. A quiet, San Francisco morning is gradually flooded with multi-coloured bouncy balls, as they tumble and bounce down its steep streets. What makes this commercial so amazing, is the impressive practical effects used to accomplish it. Director Nicolai Fugslig shot the commercial using 250 000 bouncy balls, which were actually released down the hills. 50 students on roller skates were hired to sweep the balls at the bottom of the hill. Coupled with the soothing sounds of Jose Gonzalez’s “Heartbeats,” this ad makes for the most mesmerizing of scenes.

2006: “Evolution”

Dove

Dove has always been big on realness, and this 2006 ad is lauded for its authenticity. In it, we see a woman walk into a studio to shoot an ad for a fictional foundation make-up. We are then shown a rapid progression of the lengthy make-up and hair styling prior to a photoshoot. This is followed by shots of a computer editing her image to the point of making her perfect, albeit unrecognizable. Finally, the woman’s image is shown on a billboard for all to see. Safe to say that Dove’s message is loud and clear with this commercial!

2007: “The Most Interesting Man”

Dos Equis

We still don’t quite know who this man is, but we do know that he’s the most interesting man in the world. In fact, his blood smells like cologne - so says this commercial. This particular Dos Equis ad campaign was wildly popular, becoming quite the meme sensation as a result. The ads feature the stories of a random gentleman who is clearly far more interesting than the rest of us. American actor Jonathan Goldsmith played the character for ten years, before being retired and “sent to Mars.” His only regret, of course, was “not knowing what regret feels like”.

2008: Super Bowl Baby Commercial

E-Trade

When E-Trade debuted its 2008 Super Bowl commercial featuring a talking baby, it became a surprise success. Tor Myhren, the chief creative officer at Grey ad agency at the time, claimed that he was terrified when he and his team presented the ad to E-Trade. It was his first big gig at the firm, and they were presenting a talking baby for a notoriously expensive ad space. Turns out Tor had no need to be nervous, as the talking baby was a huge success among viewers. E-Trade even received its biggest ever surge of new accounts the following day. Sometimes it’s the simplest (and strangest) ideas that make for success stories.

2009: Free Doritos

Doritos

Doritos never ceases to entertain with its seemingly random commercials, and this one is no exception. An office worker claims to have a working crystal ball and surprises his skeptic coworker by making his “free Doritos” prediction come true. How? Well, he launches the ball at the vending machine, breaking the glass and therefore making all contents “free.” This prompts the skeptic to ask the crystal ball if he’ll be getting a promotion, only to launch it into his boss’s nether regions. Nobody does 30-second silliness quite like Doritos!

2010: Betty White

Snickers

You can never go wrong with the late Betty White, and clearly Snickers knew this. In 2010, the candy bar company launched a commercial campaign starring misplaced actors who were revealed to be normal people in need of a snack. The ads featured such talents as Danny Trejo, Willem Dafoe and Joe Pesci, among others. However, the most memorable ad sees Betty White playing football with “the guys.” When accused of “playing like Betty White,” she strikes with a stinging comeback, before eating a Snickers and regaining her true self - a hungry young man. The entire sequence is comedy gold and we can thank Betty White for pulling it off in hilarious fashion!

2011: “The Force”

Volkswagen

In 2011, ad agency Deutsch Inc. produced a commercial for Volkswagen to be aired during that year’s Super Bowl. However, their ad was 60 seconds in length, whereas the TV spot was for 30 seconds. The company thus made the decision to release the full ad on YouTube a week prior to the big game. It turned out to be a great decision, one that changed the future of Super Bowl ad space. Social media spaces could now be leveraged for “full-length versions” of ads. As for Volkswagen’s commercial, it was quite endearing. A tiny Darth Vader unsuccessfully “uses the Force'' on various household items, until he reaches the family car - thanks to his dad, of course!

2012: “Just My Shell”

M&Ms

The Super Bowl appears multiple times on this list for a reason: it is the time where brands pull out all the stops and really show off their stuff - quite literally for this entry. For 2012’s big game, M&Ms (which stands for Mars and Murrie) decided to introduce a new character, Ms. Brown. She’s a strong, intellectual lady. However, her candy shell is brown. This leads those certain males to giggle at the assumption that she’s nude. And while the candy brand had quite a few commercials featuring the talking M&Ms, this one quickly became one of the most popular.

2013: “Whisper Fight”

Oreo

Oreo aired an ad during that year’s Super Bowl in which a fight breaks out over which part of the cookie is better - the inside cream or the outside cookie. The entire debacle takes place in a library though, leading to everyone whispering amidst their destructive arguing. A fire breaks out, and the firemen storm the library, whispering “fire!” The police soon arrive and proceed to whisper into a megaphone. Seeing everyone follow the library rules throughout its dismantling makes for an amusing commercial. As for the debate, we vote for “the cream.”

2014: “Winner Stays”

Nike

Nike’s 2014 World Cup ad reminds us of Snickers’ “you’re not you when you’re hungry” adverts, but with a twist. The commercial sees urban soccer players actually transform into actual World Cup stars the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and others. There’s even a cameo by Ronaldo’s then-girlfriend, Irina Shayk, who can be seen waving from the crowd. Nike ads often hold a “dream big” message, and this one takes it to the next level. It also shows us that with a little imagination, we can all be stars. Oh, and The Hulk shows up too, for some reason. So there’s that.

2015: “Unskippable: Elevator”

Geico

Geico has always been a great source of entertaining ads, and in 2015, they had fun with the concept of skipping online ads. The ad campaign focussed on the idea of getting the message out rapidly, telling us we can’t skip the ad because it’s already over. However, the actors in the commercial remain frozen in place until the actual end of the ad, which naturally makes for some hilarious sequences. The “Unskippable: Elevator” commercial is but one of their ads, but it’s the most memorable. The comic relief is strong, as is the message. Mission accomplished Geico!

2016: Dachshund Stampede

Heinz

The Heinz company was established in 1869, and if you’re keeping count, that’s over 150 years of coming up with ads. It seems they’ve always had a good PR department, however. Just ask Matt LeBlanc! The company’s 2016 Super Bowl ad was definitely one of their best. A herd of Dachshunds in little hot dog costumes stampede towards humans dressed as condiments. Yes, this is a “weiner” joke. It’s just a fun visual to take one. The ad is also expertly topped with Harry Nilsson’s “Without You.” Plus, anytime you add cute dogs to a commercial, you’ve already won us over!

2017: Yes, It’s a Buick

Buick

In another “ordinary people transforming into famous people” ad, this commercial sees a woman pulling up to a children’s football game in a Buick. However, a man in the crowd doesn’t believe it, declaring that “if that’s a Buick, my son is Cam Newton.” As it is indeed a Buick, the man’s son turns into star quarterback Cam Newton and resumes playing with his young friends…with disastrous results. Things get even more comical when the coach’s words turn him into supermodel Miranda Kerr. This gag could have gone on for another 30 minutes and we wouldn’t have complained.

2018: “Thank You Mom”

P & G

In need of a good cry? Watch this ad. This 2018 ad from P&G for that year’s Winter Olympics is so beautiful that it makes us all want to hug our mothers. Heck, it makes us want to hug all mothers. The commercial depicts a number of children who are picked on for their differences. However, they all have a dream of achieving athletic greatness, and their mothers are shown to be there every step of the way. This sentimental commercial shows us that there will always be someone there for us, be it our mothers or someone else in our lives. Ok, go call your mom now.

2019: 100 Years

NFL

Football fans tuning into the Super Bowl in 2019 were understandably delighted when this commercial aired. With the NFL celebrating its 100 year anniversary, they put out an ad featuring a black tie affair. This hilariously turns into an impromptu game when a football is knocked off a cake by Marshawn Lynch. The party is naturally rendered to complete chaos, as current and former players take part in a brutal game of football. There goes the fancy tables and decor. The ad was directed by Peter Berg, who directed the film “Friday Night Lights,” and therefore was no stranger to filming football plays - although not quite like this. Plus, it serves as a veritable “who’s who” of top NFL players!

2020: “Groundhog Day”

Jeep

The 1993 film “Groundhog Day” is a cult classic. Its star, Bill Murray, is an audience favorite. So, why not reunite the actor with his famous movie role in a commercial? Jeep’s 2020 Super Bowl ad features present day Bill Murray once more awakening on the same Groundhog Day as he did in the film - but there’s a twist. With a new Jeep Gladiator parked on the road, Murray takes a groundhog and proceeds to go on many adventures throughout their repeated days. Bonus points go to actor Stephen Tobolowsky, otherwise known as Ned, for reprising his role.

2021: Alexa’s Body

Amazon

Amazon clearly had fun with this one. In this ad, the Amazon Echo Dot, a spherical ball with a blue light, is being shown off. When conversation turns to Alexa’s “perfect vessel,” a woman in the ad sees a bus drive by with a photo of actor Michael B. Jordan on its side. This leads to a rather comical fantasy montage where Alexa is shown to be the hunky actor. Of course, the woman’s husband grows increasingly jealous, only adding to the humor of the situation. Ok, now we wanna know what Siri would look like. Your move Apple.
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