The 10 Most Expensive TV Commercials Ever Made

most expensive commercials

Which is your favourite commercial on TV? Most people often dislike commercials because they always "interrupt" their favourite shows, but with time, people get used to them and start enjoying them; especially the funny or very creative ones. Have you ever wondered just how much money it takes to make a commercial? Commercials are all about money because it costs a lot to produce them, to pay for a slot in which they will appear on TV, and the cost can go up depending on how long they will run on TV.

The aim of the company that is funding the commercial is usually to create awareness of a product or service or to promote itself. Therefore, most companies want their commercials to air when all your attention is on your TV because those few seconds is all it takes to change your perspective on a particular product, to introduce you to a new item, or to keep you thinking about that product or company. So when you are singing along to a commercial, be sure the next time you get to the store you will most likely buy the product that has been ringing in your mind. That is exactly why that particular commercial was made.

Many companies spend huge sums to produce commercials that will run for just a few seconds on TV, commercials that either meet their purpose or seriously fail to wow the masses. At the end of the day, creativity is what will make people love a commercial, but the problem is that the creativity we are talking about does not come cheap. Here are 10 commercials that will shock you by just how expensive their production costs were:

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10 GoDaddy.com - $2.4 million (2005) 

This 30 second GoDaddy.com commercial might be one of the funniest commercials you will ever see, but Fox officials at the 2005 Super Bowl do not share the same view on the ad. This commercial features Candice Michelle, a famous and very beautiful wrestler, appearing before a censorship committee wearing a very tight tank top. The tank top's strap flies off as she is talking about GoDaddy.com, a situation that makes the committee very uncomfortable. The commercial shows an elderly man gasping for air from his respirator, another member telling her how uncomfortable she is making everyone, and it ends with an elderly woman suggesting that Candice should wear a turtleneck. Despite the commercial being pulled out of the Super Bowl, being banned from TV in the United States and in different parts of the world, it surely accomplished its purpose. This $2.4 million ad made GoDaddy.com the number one website for purchasing different products for many years after that.

9 Ferrari/Shell - $4.5 million (2007) 

People who drive Ferraris and those who just stand on the sidewalk as they watch one drive past them may all have different experiences with Ferrari, but the conclusion is all the same; Ferrari makes amazing cars. This 2007 commercial shows a Ferrari driving through different cities of the world, speeding down the roads and turning heads everywhere it goes. It eventually drives into a Shell station to refuel, ready to go for another lap around the world. This commercial is straight to the point; Ferraris are the best cars to drive anywhere in the world, and there is only one fuel station you need to refuel at, anywhere you go. This commercial cost $4.5 million to produce, and it is well worth the cost.

8 Honda - $6.5 million (2003) 

"Isn't it nice when things just work?" Those are the only words you will hear in this amazing Honda commercial, which took 606 takes to achieve the most exceptional results. This two-minute commercial was mainly designed for the United Kingdom market, and it was tremendously successful the whole world over. This commercial received a lot of positive criticism and earned Honda a lot of money through the increase in sales experienced after it first hit TV screens on April 6, 2003. What is even more amazing about this commercial is that nothing about it was computer generated, and the whole ad eventually took just two continuous takes owing to the size required for the entire sequence.

7 Pepsi - $8.1 million (2002) 

Pepsi and Coca Cola are the world's leading soft drink giants, partly because they rake in billions of dollars in profits every year and one can find any of these drinks in shops in the most remote parts of the world. Therefore, it is well within the budget of Pepsi to spend $8.1 million on a commercial, since its marketing and advertising budget is always in the hundreds of millions of dollars (or even billions of dollars) per year. This one-and-a-half-minute Pepsi commercial first aired in 2002, and it shows how people have found joy drinking Pepsi since the 1950s to present day. Britney Spears dances through the transitions from 1958 to today, and presents Pepsi as the drink "for those who think young."

6 Carlton Draught – $9 million (2008) 

Carlton Draught has got to have the most creative people working on their commercials because they are never anything less than spectacular. Following up from their Big Beer ad in 2005 which led to record beer sales during that period, Carlton Draught spent some $9 million to make another amazing commercial just three years later. This 2008 commercial featured hundreds of Carlton Draught skydivers jumping from a plane, creating different shapes and words in the sky, and finally landing in a stadium full of fans during a match's halftime break. The huge beer from which the skydivers jump ends up destroying some vehicles in the town, a rooftop and crashes into the living room of an old couple. This idea is simply crazy and bizarre, but it led to sales of over $36 million during that period, making the commercial well worth every penny.

5 Chrysler - $12 million (2011) 

Although most people who saw this commercial did not think that it was worth anything close to the $12 million it apparently cost, the commercial was a risky move that the company felt it had to make. Despite the fact that at the time Chrysler was being bailed out by the government, the company managed to raise the cash for the commercial that did not go down well with the critics. Featuring the celebrity rapper Eminem, the commercial focused on Detroit, its hardworking people, its music, its art, and even its abandoned buildings, and packaged it as the city from which Chrysler is imported. The concept appealed to Eminem so much that he signed the deal, after overlooking even more lucrative deals where he would have made more money.

4 Aviva Insurance – $13.4 million (2008) 

When Norwich Union was changing its name to Aviva Insurance in 2008, a spectacular commercial was necessary for the whole world to know about this. The problem was that the company at that time was not as popular as some of the leading brands out there, and most people actually heard about the company for the first time from this commercial. In order to make everyone aware of the name change and to justify the move, the commercial went for celebrities who had changed their names at some point in their careers and had reached greater heights thanks, in part, to their new names. Some of the big names in the commercials included Bruce Willis, Ringo Star, Alice Cooper and others. The big names might have been the reason for the commercial ranking as one of the most expensive commercials in history.

3 President George W. Bush’s Political Ad Campaign – $14.2 Million (2004) 

Did you know that the 2012 presidential race cost over $2.6 billion? Yes, it did, and the next one will cost far more. However, even when the advertising campaigns of the candidates run into hundreds of millions, no single advertisement has ever come close to what George Bush spent on one of his campaigns back in 2004. This advertisement features Ashley Faulkner, a girl who had lost her mother during the 9/11 attacks on American soil and goes on to show how President Bush cares for every individual's safety. What really made the ad so expensive was the period that it ran on TV and the number of states it was running in. This $14.2 million ad, together with others, worked its magic because it convinced America that she needed George Bush as her president for one more term.

2 Guinness – $16 million (2007) 

When celebrating your birthday, you are allowed to be a little extravagant, right? Well, Guinness took its 80th birthday celebration to a whole new level; by spending $16 million on a commercial. With the slogan "Good things happen to those who wait," the commercial that was shot in Argentina shows a whole village waiting for the revelation of Guinness beer after thousands of objects together with dominoes have to knock each other down one by one. Some of the objects in the sequence include cars, tires, padlocks, suitcases, crutches, chairs, and almost anything that can be found in a village. The commercial does not feature any celebrities, but the concept, the setup, and the use of all the resources is what must have pushed up the cost to $16 million.

1 Chanel – $33 million (2004) 

The most expensive commercial to date is for Chanel No.5. When you watch this commercial, you will first be convinced that you are watching a trailer for a movie that is about to hit the big screens. This commercial is indeed a feature film because the $33 million used to produce this commercial is a budget for an actual movie or two. It features Nicole Kidman and Rodrigo Santoro as characters that meet in a taxi and fall in love. Nicole is a Marilyn Monroe-style celebrity actress running away from paparazzis while Santoro plays the role of a simple waiter. This commercial is so expensive because of the wonderful concept, its execution, the people and resources that made it all happen, and of course, the $3 million that was paid out to Nicole Kidman for her participation. In response to the commercial, the sales for Chanel No. 5 went through the roof that year, an investment that undoubtedly bore fruit.

Sources: money.cnn.com, guinnessworldrecords.com, autoblog.com, telegraph.co.uk, dailymail.co.uk

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