We used to hate television commercials. It comes in just as the show’s plot is coming its climax. Or sometimes, the commercials are too long that when the game comes back on, you would have missed a highlight reel play. No amount of replay can recapture the feeling of watching a crucial play as it happens. The result: we end up cursing the exact company who paid for the commercial spot because it wanted to get our business.
But there are commercials that are not produced just like any other TV ad spots. Commercials lining up to get spots in the Super Bowl have been particularly well produced, as they have become an integral part of the show as important as the game itself. Who can ever forget Mean Joe Greene’s Coca-cola ad, or the 1984 Ridley Scott Orwellian classic that introduced the Mac, or the bullfrog trio’s pitch for Bud-wei-ser.
Indeed, television commercials have become entire productions themselves. It costs a lot of money to produce them, sometimes running into a million dollars or more.
Here is a list of the top ten most expensive television commercials ever made:
10 Guinness Beer - $20 million
The commercial featured no star names or celebrities and no special effects. The star of the show was the beer itself, and it featured some amazing domino engineering. It took a minute and a half before Guinness Beer was unveiled with the tag line “Good things come to those who wait.” Was the hefty $20 million price tag used to spend for the production of the commercial worth it? Only the makers of Guinness Beer can answer that question. They will just have to learn to wait and hope that good things do happen in the form of $20 million in sales.
9 George W. Bush - $14.2 million
George W. Bush was president of the United States when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center towers in 2001. He milked the tragedy’s sentiments by running an ad in 2004 that featured a girl who lost her mother during the terrorist attack. Maybe he felt he had to, as he faced a strong challenge from John Kerry. Having won by the narrowest of margins in 2000 against Al Gore, Bush left no stone unturned in order to win re-election. What’s $14.2 million if it means getting four more years?
8 Aviva Insurance - $13.4 million
In 2008, Norwich Union was in the process of re-branding itself as Aviva Insurance. The company probably felt that their brand name is as ubiquitous as Coke or Apple, and it needed help in educating the public about their new name. So they got the services of various celebrities. Walter Willis, Eleanor Nancy Gow, Vincent Damon Furnier and Richard Starkey were all asked to tell the public that changing a name is not a hindrance to one’s success. They have since become huge stars using the names Bruce Willis, Elle MacPherson, Alice Cooper and Ringo Starr. And Norwich Union has become Aviva Insurance.
7 Chrysler 200 - $9 million
This ad is more than just about the Chrysler 200 vehicle. It was also more than just about the comeback of Chrysler as an important player in the automotive industry. It was about the return of Detroit, the Motortown. The ad starred rapper Eminem, and it played out the theme of the city being to hell and back. It was once the richest city in America, before unemployment soar as the car industry went south. But it has since risen again and hopes to hit the comeback trail strongly. The American auto industry is back, and they have $9 million to spare to announce it.
6 Carlton Draught - $9 million
The Australian beer maker’s ad was entitled Sky Troop and featured hundreds of skydivers jumping from a plane with a huge Carlton Draught. The beer then smashed two Jaguars and a car. It was a great follow up to the Big Beer Ad that generated 36 million in sales, though the cost of that particular commercial was never disclosed.
5 Pepsi - $7.53 million
It is one of the most discussed Super Bowl ads. This 2002 commercial featured Britney Spears, appearing through time from the 1950s to the present, as she sings the joys of Pepsi transcending generations. She pitched the soda for those who think young, and the message seemed to have gotten through. The ad was talked about for months after, and Pepsi eventually decided to retain Britney as its endorser the following years.
4 Honda - $6.5 million
The Japanese carmaker is renowned for their affordable vehicles, and they spent an astounding $6.5 million to drill that fact into the head of consumers. The well produced commercial utilized a domino effect featuring the different components of the car just coming together perfectly in the end.
3 Ferrari - $3.9 million
Ferrari makes great, classy and timeless vehicles. The company knew this and utilized it to the hilt in a commercial that featured some of their older cars, along with the latest models. The result was an ad that would just tickle the fantasy of any car lover. The ad cost probably shot up because of the price of the Ferraris used for the commercial.
2 Go Daddy - $2.4 million
One of the funniest ads to be aired was the Go Daddy commercial in 2005 that starred Candice Michelle of World Wrestling Entertainment. It featured the sexy Michelle appearing as a resource person during a Congressional hearing, hoping to direct people to the Go Daddy website in order to get a domain name. The commercial was later banned by Fox, which refused to air the ad again. Go Daddy ended up as a big winner though, as they became the number one domain registration site in the one year period after the ad was shown.
1 Apple - $600,000
The ad featured a heroine saving mankind from conformity by breaking the glass boundary. It introduced Macintosh to the public, and we know how big Apple is now. The commercial was aired during the 1984 Super Bowl. It is now a considered a classic.