If you’re not invested in rugby football, then you’re probably tuned in to the Super Bowl for the halftime show and the new ads. So far, the crowd-favorites from this year are the new Marvel trailers, another Game of Thrones teaser in partnership with Bud Light, and a Chance the Rapper x Backstreet Boys collab for Doritos.
This is also the time when people get nostalgic for some of the iconic Super Bowl ads of the past, especially those led by badass women. Not saying that there aren’t female-led commercials this year—in fact, AdWeek noted that there’s an improvement in female representation.
In light of that, we decided to list down the commercials that have stuck with us and how it showed that women dominate the Super Bowl, too.
Cindy Crawford (Pepsi, 1992)
Cindy Crawford was the ’90s supermodel and her appearance in Pepsi’s 1992 commercial was considered huge back in the day. Instead of solely focusing on the model’s physique, the ad shifted it to highlight the Pepsi’s redesigned can.
Fast forward to 2018, Cindy and Pepsi recreated this commercial with similar elements. Her son, Presley Gerber, also made an appearance.
Britney Spears, Pink, and Beyoncé (Pepsi, 2004)
I remember this commercial like it was just yesterday. Britney Spears, Pink, and Beyoncé were all dressed as gladiators in a Colosseum-like setting. But instead of battling each other to the death, they joined together and sang a powerful rendition of Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” Their goal? To steal a cooler of Pepsi and literally overthrowing the emperor played by Enrique Iglesias—because powerful men aren’t the only ones deserving of an ice-cold drink. Also these ladies deserve more than being used for deadly entertainment, don’t you think?
Melanie Amaro (Pepsi, 2012)
X-Factor 2011 winner Melanie Amaro starred in a Pepsi commercial alongside Elton John. Here, she goes against a greedy king who sends subjects down a dungeon and doesn’t share his cooler of Pepsi to commoners. (What is up with heads of state and not sharing their soda?!) Melanie then sings “Respect,” wins a can, and offers the cooler to everyone in the room. Meanwhile, Elton falls to the dungeon to wallow in his past greediness. Poetic justice and equality for all!
“Like a Girl” (Always, 2015)
This ad didn’t contain any A-list stars but feminine hygiene brand, Always, won points with viewers when they started the #LikeAGirl campaign. In 2015, they asked adults and children what it meant to “run/throw/fight like a girl.” It’s a simple ad that destroys the stigma that being feminine is considered weak.
Helen Mirren (Budweiser, 2016)
For Budweiser’s 2016 ad, they got Helen Mirren to do a PSA on drunk driving. There’s just something about a British lady sternly, but gently, reminding people of something that’s supposed to be common sense. (But seriously, you don’t need Helen Mirren to tell you that.)
Serena Williams (MINI, 2016)
Serena Williams starred in MINI’s #DefyLabels ads. The first one emphasized the fact that the Mini Cooper is a car for everybody and that it’s not just for chicks, short people, and gays. It also brings to light the stereotypes people have to deal with based on the car they’re driving.
Following that Super Bowl ad, Serena appeared in another one where she’s dispelling all the stereotypes that have been thrown at her—from being “too strong” to “being too focused in tennis.” It’s a confident commercial that shows that she’s not going to let labels bring her down, and that’s the motivation that every woman needs.
Art by Marian Hukom
For the latest in culture, fashion, beauty, and celebrities, subscribe to our weekly newsletter here
5 Super Bowl performances Lady Gaga has to beat
Adam Levine was shirtless at the Super Bowl but he didn’t get blacklisted
Justin Timberlake paid tribute to Prince during his Super Bowl performance
Here’s why people aren’t excited about Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl halftime show