5 Unexpected Pop Culture Pairings That Made Weird Super Bowl Ads

Brian Linder
TV Movies
TV Movies Comics

It’s time for the big game, but football isn’t all fans are excited about. Super Bowl ads aired during the annual NFL showdown are as big of a deal as the action on the field.

Each year advertisers showcase their most epic commercials as part of the broadcast. In their quest to grab the spotlight, brands often tap into pop culture trends, pairing with fan favorites from movies and TV. Sometimes the results are amazing, other times… it’s kinda weird.

Check out these unexpected pop culture pairings in Super Bowl ads…

Remember that time Volkswagen combined the Star Wars cantina aliens and a really fat dog? That didn’t make sense.

Everybody knows about the adorable ad Volkswagen made for the Super Bowl in 2011. That was the one with the little boy dressed like Darth Vader who “uses the Force” to start his parents’ car. But you might not remember the follow-up ad which included Star Wars in much stranger way.

Leading up to the 2012 Super Bowl, Volkswagen released a Star Wars teaser for their ad with a group of costumed dogs barking the Imperial March. That was pretty cool. But the commercial itself didn’t deliver. In it, we meet an overweight pup working on his fitness to a James Brown music montage. What’s the Star Wars connection? In the end, characters from Star Wars are seen talking about the ad in the Cantina. It’s just weird.

When Marvel had people cosplay as the Avengers and X-Men in an ad selling Visa check cards… and then Underdog showed up? Also weird.

Admittedly, 2005 was a strange time for Marvel’s superheroes. We were still a few years away from the first Iron Man movie, so the Marvel Cinematic Universe versions of their characters that everyone knows today hadn’t been created yet. So, when it came time to collaborate with Visa on this Super Bowl ad featuring Thor, Captain America, Spider-Man and more, they shamelessly stuffed actors into what look like Halloween costumes. The whole thing is awkward. And while the guy doing the Spidey voice kinda saves it, but then Underdog shows up out of the blue, making the ad a real head-scratcher.

Just so you can see what a different 8 years makes, here’s the Super Bowl ad Marvel did last year for Coke, featuring Ant-Man and Hulk.

Everything Terry Crews touches turns to gold. So, obviously, Toyota’s 2015 ad pairing Crews with the Muppets is no exception. There are singing vegetables. And chickens. It’s wonderful.

Crews pulls over to help the passengers of a broken down bus only to have his brand new Highlander bum-rushed by Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem. We’re then treated to a trippy music montage of the band and Crews driving (and singing) through a bingo hall, a vineyard, a farm, and a Mardi Gras parade.

Literally, the entire ’80s bombarded a RadioShack in this strangely delightful 2014 Super Bowl ad unveiling the retail store’s makeover. The nostalgia level is cranked to 11 with Alf, Hulk Hogan, Chucky, and so much more.

It’s like someone dared RadioShack to make this “the 80s called, they want their store back” ad, and they just totally went for it. There are SO many ’80s icons in this, it’s remarkable: Jason Vorhees, Kid ‘n Play, Teen Wolf, Cliff Clavin, Hulk Hogan, Sgt. Slaughter, Slim Goodbody, Ponch, the California Raisins, Alf, Q*bert, Chucky, Bubo from Clash of the Titans, and that’s not even the full list. The real icing on the cake is watching the Delorian from Back to the Future drive away with all the stuff.

This year, Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot and Transporter star Jason Statham are joining forces for an action movie ad to sell… a website creation tool. Okay?

When Felix, a business owner in a disruptive world, has to deal with Gal and Jason destroying his bistro, he keeps his cool. Why? Because he uses Wix.com to create his website. Sure, why not? Wix knows they’re going gonzo with this over-the-top ad — they even hired Transporter helmer Louis Leterrier to direct it.

Book on the lookout for more weirdly awesome ads during this year’s Super Bowl on Sunday, February 5.

Brian Linder
Brian is a Sr. Content Producer at FANDOM. He's been on the fan-media scene since dial-up. Arriving at FANDOM via IGN, Brian was a founding editor at early Star Wars fansite TheForce.net and co-created the movie site, FilmForce, acquired by IGN in 2006. He's a fan of space operas and superheroes.
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