The Best Super Bowl Commercials Featuring TV Shows

The Super Bowl is the biggest TV event on the calendar. It's only fair then that some beloved TV characters feature in its ads.

Super Bowl Commercials
Photo: Art by Chloe Lewis

It’s that time of the year again: the big game is upon us. The Super Bowl is a yearly tradition in most American households, and it unites families and friends for a variety of reasons. For football purists, seeing who holds the Lombardi trophy at the end is the most important part of the evening. Others are just waiting for the halftime show to see their favorite musical act on stage. And then there are those who don’t want to miss a single one of the million dollar commercials that companies have put on air throughout the game. 

The creativity used by marketing teams throughout the business world has led to some of the best ads of all time, and we want to focus on the commercials made especially for us TV fans. These are the eight best Super Bowl commercials of all time starring our favorite small screen legends!

Breaking Bad: Esurance (2015)

With Breaking Bad having just recently ended less than two years before this commercial, the critically acclaimed drama was still on the minds of fans all over the globe when this Esurance ad ran during the game during 2015. Bryan Cranston brilliantly gets into full character as Walter White tries to coerce a pharmacy customer into saying his name and taking some medication that doesn’t really belong to her. The only thing that could have added even more to the commercial was Jesse Pinkman screaming a signature line in the background!

The Sopranos: Chevrolet (2022)

Meadow and AJ Soprano (Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Robert Iler) were never all that popular on The Sopranos, but time heals all wounds. Fans of HBO’s OG mobster drama were elated to see Tony Soprano’s (James Gandolfini) children emulate the iconic opening crawl of the show in last year’s Super Bowl ads. Creator David Chase directed the commercial, leading to some people analyzing whether the 60 seconds are part of the show’s canon, henceforth looking for references to what happened in the controversial series finale over 15 years ago. 

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Rick and Morty: Pringles (2020)

Rick and Morty’s unique sense of humor and creative storytelling have made it a cult classic and modern marvel of animation. Pringles decided to capitalize on the show’s success by incorporating the dynamic duo into an ad in 2020 in which the self-aware Rick realizes he’s trapped in a commercial for the stackable chips. The tone of this spot is especially on the nose for hardcore fans. 

MacGyver: Mastercard (2006)

MacGyver is one of the most beloved dramas of the 1980s that fans still reminisce about all these decades later. The character’s defining trait was his ability to wiggle his way out of any problem with minimal resources, and Mastercard plays on this with one of their signature estimations of how much everyday items cost to purchase. Richard Dean Anderson’s thirst for adventure? Priceless!

The Simpsons: Coca Cola (2010)

The Simpsons has had a lot of phases since its premiere in the late 1980s; that’s what happens when your show goes on for over three decades. It speaks to the greatness of the Springfield cast of characters that they can make you smile all these years later when put in the same setting. This Coke commercial unites the citizens of the town using the simple happiness of a Coca Cola, even the stingy and callous Mr. Burns, who has just lost his entire fortune. 

Game of Thrones: Bud Light (2019)

Game of Thrones final season was one of the most hotly anticipated climaxes in TV history. The finale let a lot of people down, but at least this Bud Light ad happened before those dark times. The introduction of the phrase “dilly dilly” and the Bud Knight character were both subjects of online discussion and memes for months after the fact. This is a sign of a truly successful commercial!

Full House: Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt (2014)

There’s so much going on in this yogurt commercial for Dannon that it almost requires repeated viewing. The star of the ad is John Stamos’ famous good looks. Add in some sexual energy that was rarely used in Full House along with the buddy-commentary of Dave Coulier and the late Bob Saget and fans of the corny 1980s sitcom had good reason to get nostalgic on Super Bowl Sunday seeing this reunion of the stars. 

The Brady Bunch: Snickers (2015)

The Brady Bunch is an archetype of the sappy family sitcom that so many of us grew up on. The conflicts were miniscule, but the parenting and the solutions that solved them were always treated with mega-importance in the fictional Brady family. This hilarious ad uses the skills of Danny Trejo and Steve Buscemi to poke fun at the exaggerated arguments and emotions of a typical day in the 1970s middle-class household. Nothing a Snickers can’t solve though, right? 

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What’s your favorite Super Bowl commercial featuring TV characters? Let us know in the comments section!