Super Bowl

Throwback Thursday: The Weirdest Products to Ever Get Super Bowl Ads

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It may have been surprising the first time a maker of car floot mats bought multi-million-dollar time in the Super Bowl, or when a lumber company showed up last year, but there's almost no kind of product that hasn't advertised in the Super Bowl once.

While the vast majority of inventory on advertising's most expensive stage goes to automakers, beverage marketers and snack makers, they have always been accompanied by, let's say, others.

In 2005, the same year that Burt Reynolds pitched FedEx in the big game ("Top Ten") and Cedric the Entertainer delivered a safety message for Bud Light ("Dance"), Dennis Rodman and members of the Chicago Bears appeared in a Super Bowl ad for quartz bath and counter tops.

The world's biggest and most expensive stage for branding has also hosted direct-response ads you might more often expect in late-night TV. Nestled among the big branding extravaganzas of 2009 (see Coca-Cola's "Avatar" for example), Ed McMahon and M.C. Hammer offered to buy viewers' jewelry.

In 1985's Super Bowl XIX, the likes of Apple, Bud Light, Hyatt and the Marines were accompanied by a 1-800 pitch for Soloflex ("Work of Art"). Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man was more or less the celebrity endorser. For three straight years, Johnson Controls advertised its building services including fire safety systems ("Superdome," for example).

But perhaps the least conventional Super Bowl ad of all time, also from 1985, was the futuristic "Brilliance" from The Canned Food Information Council. "Even in the year 3000," it begins, "the question will be: What's for dinner?"

From the files of the Super Bowl Ad Archive. Adapted from an article originally published in December 2016.

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