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Vote on your favorite superbowl commercials here"

When people watch a television program just so they can see the ads, you've reached a very weird place in culture that is worth studying.

Thanks to Mickeleh for the "Announcerman" voice over:


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A Bunny
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[voice of Mickeleh] This is "An Extremely Brief History of Super Bowl Commercials"... with Hank Green. [Hank] In 1967, the first ever Super Bowl aired.

Since that 1967 broadcast, the Super Bowl has become America's most-watched yearly event! And advertising dollars have skyrocketed. Along with that skyrocketing, Super Bowl advertisers had to justify the amount of money that they were spending, and thus Super Bowl advertisements have become a spectacle in and of themselves, with nerds like myself and housewives across the nation proclaiming that they watch the Super Bowl just for the ads.

And when people are enjoying the advertisements more than they are enjoying the actual program, we have reached a kind of cultural nexus that I believe is probably worth studying. In 1973, the first ever super-high-profile Super Bowl ad was aired. It featured the sexy steamin' vixen Farrah Fawcett spreading Noxzema cream all over Super Bowl quarterback Joe Namath's face.

And it was... hot, and set the bar high for rather inappropriate Super Bowl advertisements that later GoDaddy would... incinerate. In 1980, Mean Joe Green tossed his game-worn jersey to a young boy in return for a Coca-Cola. This advertisement became such a touching social phenomenon that it later became the only advertisement ever to have a full-length movie based upon it.

In the actual 1984, Apple channeled George Orwell's "1984" and somehow tried to make the case that IBM was Big Brother which, looking back, doesn't really make sense. Nonetheless, it raised the bar for Super Bowl advertisements about two miles. I think the word we're looking for here is "epic." In 1985, Apple went from "epic" to "epic fail," with an advertisement that portrayed IBM users as lemmings blindly walking to their deaths.

Turns out, that one didn't win them many fans and was instrumental in getting Steve Jobs fired from his job. In 1989, Budweiser started the Bud Bowl, which was just, like, a miniature beer-based Super Bowl. I remember, as a kid, really liking the Bud Bowl, which makes me question whether it was a good marketing strategy for an alcoholic beverage, but moving on...

In 1997, zombie Fred Astaire, we're assuming, because he was dead, did a dance with a Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner. In the year 2000, more than a dozen dot-com companies blew their funding, paying more than $2 million for 30-second spots. Most of those companies no longer exist, including, a company that paid you to email your friends advertisements.

The bankruptcy of this company is one of the primary reasons that I believe, deep down in my heart, that people are not jerks. Last year, in 2009, the first ever 3D television commercials debuted at the Super Bowl, with advertising agencies giving away 3D glasses to individuals and passing them out at bars across the country. And this year, in 2010, for the first time in almost 40 years, the cost of a Super Bowl advertisement... is dropping.

This reflects the fundamental weakening of television and the rise of YouTube! Or, possibly not, but you can use YouTube to help decide which Super Bowl advertisements were the best of 2010. All you gotta do is click here and choose your favorites. [voice of Mickeleh] This has been "An Extremely Brief History of Super Bowl Commercials"... with Hank Green.