For many, the Super Bowl means epic shootouts, defensive shutdowns and last-minute, game-on-the-line Hail Marys. For others, it's all about another skirmish: The Battle of the Brands. Every year, companies spend millions of dollars for just a few seconds of airtime in hopes of getting consumers attention\u2014and then, maybe, their money. Whether funny, sad, self-referential or downright weird, Super Bowl ads have become a spectacle and tradition in their own right. How did the commercial sideshow become as engrossing as the main event? Between the first Super Bowl in 1967 and through the mid-80s, Super Bowl commercials were generally repeats. It was Apple's iconic 1984 commercial that turned them into a bespoke phenomenon, after which more brands started to create ads specifically for the big game. Not that the playbook for a successful Super Bowl ad hasn't changed. While they were once top-secret, many companies today pre-launch their ads online, or post "teasers," to drum up attention. The average cost to air a 30-second Super Bowl spot is now $5 million, while it costs essentially nothing to upload a video to YouTube. (Of course, that excludes the cost of creating the ad itself which can range from tens of thousands of dollars to many, many millions.) Is television in danger of pricing itself out? Analysts say not anytime soon. \u201cThe Super Bowl is still the biggest marketing event of the year in this country, by far,\u201d says Tim Calkins, a professor of marketing and creator of the Kellogg Super Bowl Advertising Review at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago. \u201cThe Super Bowl is more and more unique, as media is fragmenting, and there are more and more media properties vying for people\u2019s attention." In other words, there may be more and more places to see ads (of all kinds), but fewer and fewer places where a mass audience can see the same ads all at once. Roughly 112 million people watched the Super Bowl last year, despite the NFL's\u00a0ratings decline\u00a0overall. A similar number are expected to tune in to this year's contest, between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. The ads will be there. Ahead of the game, TIME ranked the most influential Super Bowl ads ever. The list\u2014which is ordered by influence\u2014was assembled and deliberated on at (extreme) length by TIME's entertainment, culture and business staff. 1. "Bud Bowl I" Budweiser (1989) For viewers tuning in to watch the '49ers take on the Bengals back in Super Bowl XXIII, there was a nice surprise awaiting them (even more surprising than the Bengals making the Super Bowl): the Bud Bowl! What remains a cultural icon, with branding still showing up all over the internet and in print media, Bud Bowl began as a fun way to watch some stop-motion beer go head-to-head, in the ultimate battle to determine which was superior: Bud Light or Budweiser. The ad opens with the last play of the 3rd quarter and even takes a fade-to-black break in-between quarters, before returning to a giant hand grabbing a couple beers out the fridge, bringing the game to a surprising conclusion. Who won? The thirsty viewer did, that's who. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v5_c1lKJMS2o 2. "Cindy Crawford" Pepsi (1992 & reaired in 2001) This 1992 ad capitalized on supermodel Cindy Crawford's sex appeal while subverting viewers\u2019 expectations by revealing the focus to be on Pepsi's newly redesigned can\u2014and not on Crawford (exactly). This year marks the ad\u2019s 25th anniversary, and still, it endures as a classic pairing of star power and marketing with a not-quite-unwholesome twist. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vgYQbQmtA6IU 3. "Betty White" Snickers (2010) Snickers\u2019 2010 ad spot featuring an 88-year-old Betty White laid the framework for the candy brand's now-familiar \u201cYou\u2019re not you when you\u2019re hungry\u201d campaign while becoming a viral hit in its own right. The popularity of the commercial was a testament to the five-time Emmy winner\u2019s enduring charisma as an actress. That was only further confirmed by White's career revival following the ad spot, included a hosting gig on\u00a0Saturday Night Live\u00a0and a return to the small screen with\u00a0Hot in Cleveland. The Snickers campaign, meanwhile, has since featured stars like Liza Minnelli and the late Robin\u00a0Williams. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vbXL8QPWLbBo 4. "The Showdown" McDonalds (1993) By playing off the famous rivalry between Michael Jordan and Larry Bird, "The Showdown" popularized the now-iconic basketball saying "nothing but net" in the middle of the biggest football game of the year. The catchphrase has become one of the most recognizable phrases in the sports world, permeating\u00a0other pop culture arenas. Remakes and parodies of the original ad\u2014including a 2010 Super Bowl spot staring LeBron James and Dwight Howard\u2014have been cropping up ever since https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v_oACRt-Qp-s 5. Always \u2014 "Like a Girl" https:\/\/youtu.be\/XjJQBjWYDTs Women make up the majority of consumers,\u00a0commanding\u00a0a whopping 70% to 80% of all consumer purchases. So why aren\u2019t more advertisements made to resonate with them? That's in part why Always\u2019 2015 ad for feminine care projects stole the show during a night dominated by displays of hyper-masculinity. By recasting the phrase \u201clike a girl," the spot made an emotional appeal for women to empower themselves, especially when it came to sports. Join Always in our epic battle to keep girls' confidence high during puberty and beyond. Using #LikeAGirl as an insult is a hard knock against any adolescent girl. And since the rest of puberty's really no picnic either, it's easy to see what a huge impact it can have on a girl's self-confidence. Making a start by showing them that doing things #LikeAGirl is an awesome thing! "In my work as a documentarian, I have witnessed the confidence crisis among girls and the negative impact of stereotypes first-hand," said Lauren Greenfield, filmmaker, and director of the #LikeAGirl video. "When the words 'like a girl' are used to mean something bad, it is profoundly disempowering. I am proud to partner with Always to shed light on how this simple phrase can have a significant and long-lasting impact on girls and women. I am excited to be a part of the movement to redefine 'like a girl' into a positive affirmation." So tell us... what do YOU do #LikeAGirl? For the past 30 years, Always has been empowering girls globally, bringing puberty education to millions of adolescent girls. 6. "When I grow up..." Monster.com (1999) https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vmyG8hq1Mk00 Monster.com was, for a time,\u00a0the\u00a0place to find a new job online. Its 1999 Super Bowl ad effectively used kids to exploit adults' feelings of dissatisfaction with their career path, striking because its young stars were striving for something besides the top job. 7. Pepsi \u2014 "Delivery Guys" https:\/\/youtu.be\/qy4_XKYo0rQ Should a brand's advertising ever show its competitor's products? That may be par for the course today, but\u00a0Pepsi\u00a0took a big risk with this 1996 spot, wherein rival delivery guys bond, then fight again, over a glass of Pepsi-Cola. Ads like these gave rise to the general rule that you'll never see the dominant competitor in a corporate rivalry show their rival's wares in an ad. Meanwhile, it laid the groundwork for now-famous comparison spots like Apple's iconic "Mac vs. PC" ads. 8. "Do Something Manly" Snickers (2007) https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vOooij6sQYgI Here's an ad that actually got Snickers into quite a bit of hot water, though if you don't take it too seriously, it's actually very amusing. The ad opens with a couple guys working on a car, something many consider to be a relatively masculine affair. One of the guys pulls out a Snickers and starts eating it. Noticing the delectable treat (but not the guy eating it), the other fellow goes to town on the opposite end, Lady in the Tramp-style. The two men then share an accidental moment of unintended intimacy \u2014 recoiling with horror, one says, "I think we just accidentally kissed," followed by "Quick! Do something manly!" For some reason, doing something manly means opening your shirt and ripping out a handful of chest hair. Whether or not this is how most men behave (it's not, especially the chest hair part) isn't really the point. The ad is funny because of its stupidity, but it also works for Snickers by saying the candy is so good this might happen (though if you pay attention to who's eating a foot in front of you, it probably won't). The company took a lot of flack over the ad, which was ultimately pulled off the air, but \u2026 come on. You laughed at it, too. It's okay to admit it. 9. "Rex's Worst Day" Budweiser (2000) https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vO7OtFWoD468 How do you make a dog cry? That's the question posed by this Budweiser ad from Super Bowl XXXIV. The spot opens on a Western film scene with a dog sitting atop the corpse of a man, but the dog looks way too happy. A director calls "cut," and it's time to motivate the dog. The solution is to have Rex think about his absolute worst day \u2014 luckily, the dog understands English, because that's exactly what we're treated to. We then see Rex on a beautiful day \u2014 he notices a Budweiser truck passing by, and decides to follow it. He leaps into the air to cross over the fence and face-plants into the van that's parked there. The dog howls remembering this and pleases everyone on-set. The ad is all about the desire to get a Bud (and how much dogs love their beer, evidently). It's funny and ridiculous at the same time, but also perfect for a brand that is best known for its silly commercials starring animated beer bottles, frogs, and just about anything else you can think of. Fermented bread was never so adorable. 10. NO MORE \u2014 "Listen" https:\/\/youtu.be\/rTJT3fVv1vU This 2015 PSA from the NO MORE movement, which featured a real 911 call, became the first-ever Super Bowl commercial to address domestic violence and sexual assault. The airtime was donated by the NFL as part of a campaign to manage controversy surrounding its handling of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice's assault of his then-fianc\u00e9e. NO MORE ran a similar ad in 2016 that also garnered major attention. 11. "Hare Jordan" Nike (1992) https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v2feix1APAqs Before there was 1996's\u00a0Space Jam,\u00a0there was this 1993 ad featuring the first buddying up of "Air Jordan" and "Hare Jordan." The ad was visually significant for blending real-world footage with cartoon images, a style pioneered by films like 1988's\u00a0Who Framed Roger Rabbit?\u00a0Meanwhile, it treaded new ground for the well-worn approach of pairing two American icons to drive sales\u2014with the twist that, in this case, one of those icons was fictional. 12. "The Force" Volkswagen (2011) https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v1n6hf3adNqk After not running a game day spot in over a decade, Volkswagen kickstarted a new era of Super Bowl advertising by unveiling "The Force" online the week before the championship. The early release\u2014which has since become a widespread practice\u2014created unprecedented pre-kickoff buzz around the commercial, helping it earn the titles of\u00a0most-shared Super Bowl ad of all-time\u00a0and second most-shared TV commercial ever. 13. Budweiser \u2014 "Puppy Love" https:\/\/youtu.be\/dlNO2trC-mk 2014\u2019s most popular Super Bowl ad was also one of its most adorable: the sweet love story of an adorable golden retriever puppy and one of the beer brand\u2019s iconic Clydesdale horses. Set to the dulcet tones of Passenger\u2019s \u201cLet Her Go,\u201d the ad racked up tens of millions of online views and proved that the combination of fluffy animals and a heartfelt message, divorced from the product itself, is often a winning combination. 14. Wendy's - Where's The Beef? https:\/\/youtu.be\/R6_eWWfNB54 \u201cWhere\u2019s the Beef?\u201d started out straightforward enough: as a way for Wendy\u2019s to call out rivals McDonald\u2019s and Burger King for skimping on their hamburgers. But the catchphrase quickly earned pop culture valence and was used to call into question seemingly anything appearing to lack substance. The 1984 ad, which was first broadcast in the days leading up to Super Bowl XVIII, not only\u00a0helped to boost Wendy\u2019s revenue\u00a0by 31% that year, it played a supporting role in the 1984 Democratic primaries, when former Vice President Walter Mondale used the phrase to criticize policy proposals from Senator Gary Hart. The slogan has been credited for helping Mondale revive his flagging campaign, not to mention sell more meat. 15. Budweiser \u2014 \u201cRespect\u201d https:\/\/youtu.be\/5ZIxFd5I280 Budweiser\u2019s Clydesdales are a regular presence during the Super Bowl. But \u201cRespect\u201d stands apart. The ad\u2014without narration\u2014paid tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. It also featured footage taken by the first film crew allowed to operate in the airspace above lower Manhattan since the attacks. Ten years later, Budweiser released an updated version showing\u00a0One World Trade Center\u2019s construction in progress. The original ad aired only once and laid a template for brands to tastefully respond to national crises. 16. Pepsi \u2014 "Britney Spears" https:\/\/youtu.be\/yu5dIRv9Czc What's the recipe for unprecedented ad success? Hire the world\u2019s biggest pop star, wearing a Pepsi-brand outfit (plus belly button ring, natch), and give her a song and dance to a catchy jingle. Spears\u2019 seminal 2001\u00a0Pepsi\u00a0ad was more a full-scale music video than a commercial, sharp choreography included. It even featured a cheeky cameo from one-time presidential hopeful Bob Dole and heralded a new era of matching musical talent with mass-market products. 17. Coca-Cola: \u201cHey kid, catch!\u201d (Super Bowl XIV, 1980) https:\/\/youtu.be\/xffOCZYX6F8 Voted the best Super Bowl commercial of all-time in 2011 by readers of Advertising Age, Coke\u2019s \u201cHey Kid, Catch\u201d told a full, heartstrings-pulling story in 60 seconds while setting the standard for featuring sports celebrities in commercials. The 1980 ad was so popular that the following year NBC released\u00a0The Steeler and the Pittsburgh Kid, an hour-long TV movie based on the ad, in which \u201cMean\u201d Joe Greene adopts a 9-year-old boy. Multiple versions of the ad were created for international audiences, some featuring soccer stars like Diego Maradona. 18. Budweiser: Frogs (Super Bowl XXIX, 1995) https:\/\/youtu.be\/pVcbasIb8lQ One of the most well-known ads in Super Bowl history, this Budweiser commercial helped prove the enduring power of a catchphrase. As with Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" before it, the "budwei-ser" slogan permeated consumer culture and helped the campaign survive for years before Bud's formula evolved. Its trans-state-like delivery only made the message sink in deeper. 19. E*Trade \u2014 "Wasted" https:\/\/youtu.be\/BnQMq5wtZcg E-Trade, a favored online platform for digital day-trading, was one of the first brands to break the fourth wall of Super Bowl ad spending with "Wasted," a 2000 spot featuring, well, a dancing monkey. The ad was doubly effective in that it ridiculed the immense cost of Super Bowl advertising and its questionable efficacy while simultaneously driving home the brand's\u00a0raison d'\u00eatre:\u00a0Helping users make the most out of their own money. 20. Budweiser \u2014 "Whassup?" https:\/\/youtu.be\/JJmqCKtJnxM The ad textbooks tell you to put the product front and center, to make it inescapable. The point, after all, is to get people interested enough to buy whatever\u2019s being shown. Beer ads, in particular, tend to show some sort of young, college-aged, aspirational lifestyle. But in Budweiser\u2019s \u201cWhassup\u201d ad, the beer is subtle, in the background, almost beside the point. The focus of the ad is dudes being goofy, and it arguably began an entire genre of Super Bowl commercials designed merely to entertain. The \u201cWhassup\u201d phrase was widely parroted by real-life dudes in the days and months afterward while also spawning a number of other \u201cWhassup\u201d Budweiser spots. 21. Apple \u2014 "1984" https:\/\/youtu.be\/2zfqw8nhUwA The ad that broke all the rules and wrote a few new ones. Directed by renowned Hollywood filmmaker Ridley Scott, this spot is considered the first Super Bowl ad that was a more than a 30-second jingle and more like a short film. After it was broadcast (just the once), Super Bowl ads were expected to be elaborate, plot-driven commercials. Broadcast during a hot Cold War, Apple's ad played on people\u2019s fears by likening its rival,\u00a0IBM, to an Orwellian Big Brother, set on dominating the personal computer industry. And featuring a female heroine, the ad appealed to younger consumers with more liberal views on gender roles. 22. "The Clydesdales Brotherhood" https:\/\/youtu.be\/8v6KKMtjm54 23.\u00a0Budweiser Lost Dog Super Bowl Commercial https:\/\/youtu.be\/TPKgC8KPBMg In the emotional spot, directed by Jake Scott, the Budweiser Clydesdales help the puppy learn the true meaning of friendship by reminding us that #BestBuds always have your back. Some more fun facts about \u201cLost Dog\u201d: \u00b7 Eight puppies \u2013 seven females and one male \u2013 are featured in Budweiser\u2019s \u201cLost Dog\u201d spot, all of which were just 11-12 \u00bd weeks old at the time of filming. \u00b7 Seven Budweiser Clydesdales underwent training for three months to fine-tune their skills for Budweiser\u2019s \u201cLost Dog\u201d ad. \u00b7 Budweiser\u2019s \u201cLost Dog\u201d ad was shot at a ranch outside Santa Barbara, Calif., in early December. \u00b7 In Budweiser\u2019s \u201cLost Dog\u201d ad, actor Don Jeanes reprises his role as Budweiser Clydesdale trainer for the third time. Don is originally from Houston and now lives in Los Angeles. \u00b7 The song in the spot, \u201cI\u2019m Gonna Be (500 Miles)\u201d is performed by Sleeping At Last. Last year, Budweiser broke records with its Super Bowl spot, \u201cPuppy Love,\u201d which was a Top 10 branded content video and Top 10 video overall on YouTube. Not much to say about these last two Budweiser commercials except bring out the tissues. My absolute favorites. I saved the best for last. Budweiser has always won my vote for the sweetest commercials. Credits:\u00a0TIME and Grunge What was your favorite Superbowl commercial? Share this story on Facebook with your friends.