Catch up on the Superbowl ads, quarter by quarter

Kim LaCapria

Superbowl ads. They’re like the Superbowl of TV commercials.

Companies spend millions for 30 second spots during football’s biggest game every year, and this year’s rate is thought to have been about $3 million per slot. Iconic Superbowl ads started to enter the national consciousness in the 70s, with a Joe Namath Noxema spot. An ad from 1980 for Coke has become a cultural touchstone, making grown men weep on television for its depiction of “a better time.” And Apple makes the list of most talked about ads with a 1984 ad for the brand that was kind of 1984-themed. Ten years ago, the Superbowl was riddled with ads for various “dot coms” that later went on to crash and burn spectacularly.

2010 had many well-hyped commercial dramas leading in to the Superbowl. “Bible thumping crybaby” (thanks, Gawker) Tim Tebow grabbed headlines for a much-ballyhooed “pro life” ad that apparently underwhelmed, and a gay dating site called Mancrunch was left out of the lineup, arguably because it was too gay for the Superbowl. The Doritos ad featuring a little boy slapping his mom’s date did well, as did a Budweiser parody of Lost. Betty White, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Oprah and Jessica Simpson all made appearances.

If you missed any of the big Superbowl spots (or all of them), you can watch them here.