The Most Memorable Celebrity Super Bowl Ads of All Time (And How Much They Really Cost to Make)

Whether you’re a football fan or not, Super Bowl time means two things: the big game (of course) and the most epic commercials of the year. Ad campaigns for major brands will usually shell out millions of dollars for coveted Super Bowl slot. When you consider that nearly 100 million people usually watch the Super Bowl, it makes sense why brands will spend upwards of $5 million on just a thirty-second ad! 

Companies are willing to write that large of a check on such a short, limited-run spot because they know that a good commercial can double, triple – or even quadruple – their investment. And how do they snag such major word-of-mouth? Typicalyl through high-end (and surprising) celebrity cameos. Here’s what the most memorable Super Bowl commercial ads paid for those A-list talents. 

Featuring: Michael Jordan & Larry Bir
Game: Super Bowl XXVII
Celebrity Paycheck: $40 million*
Price Tag: $45 million*

McDonald's "The Showdown" Michael Jordan & Larry Bird @MichaelJordanMexico2 /

McDonald’s has been known to hire famous athletes, actors and actresses for their commercials – and the fast food giant almost always has a spot at the Super Bowl. The massive conglomerate has enough money to shell out big money for these ads – but perhaps none as memorable as their 1993 Super Bowl spot with two NBA legends. 

The classic ad features superstars Larry Bird and Michael Jordan playing one another in a game of “Horse” to determine who would win a Big Mac and fries. The Hall-of-Famers’ commercial cost a reported $45 million to make, including two huge paychecks for each of the famous NBA stars.

Featuring: Jeff Bridges & Sarah Jessica Parker
Game: Super Bowl LI
Celebrity Paycheck: $2 million*
Price Tag: $8 million*

Stella Artois' "Change Up The Usual" Jeff Bridges & Sarah Jessica Parker @0221serendipity /

Stella Artois made a big splash at the 2019 Super Bowl with this memorable ad. The brewing company brought back two iconic characters: Carrie from Sex and the City (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) and The Dude from The Big Lebowski (played by Jeff Bridges). The ad begins with the two classic characters sitting at a bar.

Instead of ordering their usual drinks, the duo decide to branch out and order a Stella Artois. Even just with its iconography alone, the ad was an instant classic and shot Stella Artois stock prices through the roof. Considering what they must’ve paid these two A-list stars, this was likely the outcome the company was hoping for. 

Featuring: Laurence Fishburne
Game: Super Bowl XLVIII
Celebrity Paycheck: $4 million*
Price Tag: $8 million*

Kia's "The Matrix" Laurence Fishburne @AutoMotoTV /

Laurence Fishburne played the legendary Morpheus in The Matrix, a role he reprised in this famous Kia ad promoting the K900. The spot featured Morpheus serenading the K900 passengers, a major departure from other Super Bowl commercial advertisers who chose more upbeat tunes.

The 2014 Super Bowl had a pretty huge audience. The cost to make the thirty-second ad was, at minimum, $4 million for production alone (not including Fishburne’s salary). It was watched by 112.2 million people (the second-most watched Super Bowl of all time). 

Featuring: Michael J. Fox
Game: Super Bowl XXI 
Celebrity Paycheck: $1 million*
Price Tag: $3.6 million*

Pepsi's "Apartment 10g" Michael J. Fox @vintageretroandclassics /

Starring Michael J. Fox, Pepsi’s hilarious “Apartment 10g” commercial made the third spot on ESPN’s list of the Best Super Bowl Commercials of All Time. The 1987 ad featured a beautiful woman moving in across the hall from Michael J. Fox in an apartment complex, and asking him for a Diet Pepsi.

It was one of Michael J. Fox’s most memorable ads, as well as one of his most charming performances. It was even recreated during the Spin City finale! Fox reportedly donated the $100,000 he got from the re-airing to a charity that supported research for Parkinson’s Disease.

Featuring: Danny DeVito
Game: Super Bowl LII 
Celebrity Paycheck: $2.7 million*
Price Tag: $7.7 million*

M&Ms " Do You Wanna Eat Me?" Danny DeVito @ IGN /

Danny DeVito dressed up like a human M&M certainly made the 2019 Super Bowl quite a memory. The commercial featured the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star running around asking everyone: “Do you wanna eat me?” The commercial (which admittedly exists between “funny” and “creepy”) reportedly netted DeVito a high paycheck.

Super Bowl 2019 pitted the Patriots against the LA Rams, and the end score was a slow-moving 13-3. The Patriots ended up winning, but their sixth title didn’t come easily. Unfortunately for M&Ms, Super Bowl LIII was panned as one of the most boring games in the history of the NFL. 

Featuring: Michael Jordan
Game: Super Bowl XXVI 
Celebrity Paycheck: $1 million*
Price Tag: $1 million*

"Hare Jordan" Ad @MrClassicAds1990s /

“Hare Jordan” was a play on Nike’s best-selling line of Air Jordan sneakers. This 1992 Super Bowl ad featured an animated Bugs Bunny alongside the legendary Michael Jordan himself. It was so popular that Nike saw a huge sales boost for their Air Jordan VII sneaker.

The LA Times said later that the “Hare Jordan” ad was likely a turning point for animation as well. This same matchup would later be recreated for the 1996 film Space Jam – and even repeated again in 2015 for Nike’s latest Air Jordan campaign.