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Fashion and the Super Bowl: A run down of the industry’s most impactful commercials

By Rachel Douglass


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Fashion |In Pictures

Rakuten's 2023 Super Bowl commercial, 'Not So Clueless', featuring Alicia Silverstone. Credits: Rakuten.

The final picks for the Super Bowl, the National Football League’s (NFL) championship event, are beginning to narrow down. Next to this, brands that have snapped up a famously prime ad spot during the game are also preparing to unveil their always highly anticipated commercials. Now worth around seven million dollars, these 30-second slots are no joke. And with CBS reporting in November that such places had already sold out, it seems that the sizable price tag has not deterred businesses from stepping into the arena.

While clothing and retail aren’t exactly the biggest categories to take up these placements – with beer, car and technology brands largely dominating – many labels have still made their impact over the years, some of which continue to return in the hope of appealing to the Super Bowl’s widespread viewership. Looking into the past ahead of the Big Game on February 11, FashionUnited has rounded up some of the most iconic fashion ads to grace screens since the dawn of the Super Bowl.

1987: Foot Locker

Foot Locker was the first sports fashion brand to snap up a spot on the Super Bowl ad roster – which were going for an average of 645,000 dollars per 30 seconds, at the time – kicking off the industry’s streak in exhibiting glitzy ads during the game alongside the annual regulars, such as Bud Light and RC Cola. The retailer’s clip portrayed a typical American football game albeit in space, with players donning futuristic getup as they floated through a galactic-like pitch.

1992: Nike Air Jordan

Four years prior to the release of what was set to later become a cult classic film, Space Jam, characters of Looney Tunes had already teamed up with famed basketball star Michael Jordan in Nike’s 1992 Super Bowl commercial. In the comedic, one-minute long clip, Bugs Bunny faces off against overpowering basketball players before slipping on a pair of Air Jordan sneakers, allowing him to ultimately beat the competition with the help of Jordan himself.

1993: Lee

The reliance on famous figures didn’t stop there. Celebrities soon became an integral part of such advertisements, as evidenced by Lee’s own clip, airing the year following. In it, actor Alan Cumming is driving up to a house where his potential date is waiting for him. Upon his arrival, however, the young woman panics and attempts to struggle into a pair of jeans without success, leading to a series of events that eventually give Cumming’s character the wrong impression. In the end, the storyline looked to push Lee’s relaxed fit jeans as an easy, slip-on alternative to regular styles.

1995: Nike

Often considered one of the best Super Bowl commercials of all time, Nike’s 1995 spot stuck more closely to the topic at hand: American football. In the clip, the late actor Dennis Hopper stood before the Nike logo – notably the first-time the ‘swoosh’ appeared alone without the brand’s name – as a crazed referee, reciting a passionate 90-second monologue about how much he loved the sport.

1999: Victoria’s Secret

While for the most part, sports brands had predictably led the way in terms of securing the now prestigious ad placements, it wasn’t until 1999 that a new fashion category set about making its own mark. Victoria’s Secret opened the door for a wider range of fashion labels to test out the competitive space, with an ad featuring familiar faces – namely former ‘Angels’ Tyra Banks and Stephanie Seymour – promoting the brand’s first-ever live streamed fashion show. Hosted a mere 72 hours after the football game, the online event drew in 1.5 million viewers, according to reports by Broadcast.com at the time.

2003: Hanes

If there was one year when the presence of fashion brands really took off, however, it was 2003. With the prices of ads now hitting up to 2.2 billion dollars, things were also getting more serious as placements began reflecting the increasingly pricey budgets. Hanes offered up a prime example of such, appointing both Michael Jordan and Jackie Chan for its commercial exhibiting a new selection of tagless T-shirts.

2003: Levi’s

Following in the footsteps of its denim peer Lee, American clothing brand Levi’s also ventured onto the football scene. Its 2003 ad, ‘Buffalo vs. Jeans’, showcased the brand’s Type 1 style, which were ultimately discontinued just two years after the launch. At the time, market experts cited the brand’s marketing as one of the reasons for the jeans’ failure, with the Super Bowl ad occasionally referred to in relation. In the one-minute clip, two models could be seen sporting pairs of Type 1s while facing a stampede of buffaloes barging through a seemingly abandoned cityscape.

2003: Reebok

Reebok’s short series of commercials depicting the story of Terry Tate was officially launched during the ad break of Super Bowl XXXVII. Dubbed ‘Terry Tate: Office Linebacker’, the initial ad, which later went on to become a six episode long series, saw the fictional Felcher & Sons hire Tate, an American football linebacker played by Lester Speight, as a “motivational” force for the office, tackling co-workers for slacking off or making mistakes. While the ad itself had experts doubting its success at bolstering Reebok’s image, USA Today’s Ad Meter reported that it had been downloaded over seven million times from the brand’s website, making it one of the most successful campaigns in Super Bowl history.

2011: Skechers

Skechers signs multi-year Shape-Ups partnership with Kim Kardashian and Kris Jenner. Credits: Skechers.

Tongue-in-cheek humour continued in 2011, when footwear specialist Skechers appointed Kim Kardashian to be the face of its own campaign. In the commercial, the budding reality TV star could be seen sporting a pair of the brand’s Shape-Ups and “breaking up” with her personal trainer due to the shoes’ benefits. While at the time the ad seemed to be a hit, Skechers later faced major lawsuits in regards to the contents, dealing with costs of up to 40 million pounds imposed by the Federal Trade Commission, which alleged that the company made “unfounded claims” about the toning footwear.

2012: H&M

H&M Launches David Beckham Bodywear Spring Collection. Credits: H&M.

Swedish retailer H&M made its Super Bowl debut in 2012 alongside former footballer David Beckham and his collaborative bodywear line. The commercial had a prime position in the second quarter of the game and was designed to captivate viewers while showcasing the new collection. Following its unveiling, the ad’s performance put it at the top of social media, according to a report by Forbes, initially raking in 109,000 comments.

2012: Skechers

Mr. Quiggly in Skechers' 2012 Super Bowl ad. Credits: Skechers.

Hoping to learn from its past grievances, Skechers reentered the Super Bowl race with an ad that replaced Kardashian with a new star in the form of a French bulldog. Dubbed ‘Mr. Quiggly’, the fluffy friend was seen alongside investor and TV personality Mark Cuban, sporting athletic gear – including the brand’s Gorun 2 performance footwear – and racing against others of his type. By further leveraging the power of social media, the ad brought in a significant amount of cross-platform views upon its reveal, putting it in the number three spot on the USA Today’s Ad Meter for that year.

2013: Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein’s spring 2013 ad campaign was its first Super Bowl debut. Supporting the launch of Calvin Klein Concept, its latest men’s product offering, the clip saw model Matthew Terry depicted as an archetype in a modern “man versus machine” setting. Commenting on the ad, former chairman of PVH, Manny Chirico, had said the high profile marketing investment demonstrated the group’s commitment to “fueling the growth of the entirety of the Calvin Klein franchise” and illustrated its “first step towards a more unified brand vision”.

2014: H&M

David Beckham on the set of H&M's Super Bowl commercial. Credits: H&M.

After missing the year prior, H&M returned to the Super Bowl for the second time with a feature that once again exhibited Beckham’s bodywear collection. Similar to the last placement, the retired football star could be seen doing stunts on a rooftop and baring all for the millions of viewers watching. It was the first to incorporate an interactive shoppable feature, allowing those specifically watching on a Samsung Smart TV to immediately buy items shown in the ad through H&M.

2016: Victoria’s Secret

Ahead of the Super Bowl’s 50th anniversary, some of the most iconic ‘Angels’ of Victoria’s Secret – namely Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio and Elsa Hosk, among others – took to the pitch for a promotional video, each sporting American football gear while competing in a game of the sport against their aptly named rivals, the ‘Devils’. While the ad itself didn’t end up debuting during the game’s slots, it still drew a lot of attention, entertaining the masses with sexual innuendos and its humorous approach to the merging of fashion and sports.

2016: Marmot

Often considered one of the more bizarre Super Bowl ads to get a feature, outerwear specialist Marmot’s storyline followed a budding relationship between a man and a marmot. The duo could be seen camping, hiking and making snow angels, before going on to a clip of the man attempting to kiss the marmot only to get rejected. Upon airing, some saw the ad as homophobic, while other viewers took the concept simply as a funny bit. At the time, president of Marmot, Mark Martin, told a local Fox 2 station that the company had spent an entire year’s marketing budget on the commercial.

2023: Skechers

Snoop Dogg wearing Skechers Hands Free Slip-ins in Super Bowl commercial. Credits: Skechers.

Skechers returned in 2023 for another go at the Super Bowl commercial spot, this time appointing brand ambassador and famed rapper Snoop Dogg as the face of the ‘All Walks of Life’ clip. Alongside his friend and celebrity chef Martha Stewart, Snoop showcases Skechers’ Hands Free Slip-Ins collection in snapshots of his day, throughout which he changes into various branded outfits for differing activities.

2023: Temu

Just four months into its actual existence, e-commerce giant Temu already snapped up two major slots during the Super Bowl. The ads for the US-Chinese company pushed the message “shop like a billionaire”, illustrated by a woman trying on a stream of various clothing through her smartphone. For many, the ad’s presence was not a welcome one. Social media users had questioned whether Temu was promoting overconsumption, while others further highlighted allegations of possible cheap labour and pollution that had begun to mount against Temu following the clip’s release.

2023: Rakuten

‘Not So Clueless’ campaign - Alicia Silverstone Credits: Rakuten.

Japanese e-commerce group Rakuten tapped designer Christian Siriano for its own ad, in which it reimagined the iconic film Clueless and Cher Horowitz’s yellow plaid attire. Over a 30-second slot, actress Alicia Silverstone reprised her 90s role, arguing the merits of Rakuten’s cash-back programme in a classroom setting. On the ad’s debut, Rakuten said the decision to secure the prestigious campaign slot was a bid to cement the brand’s presence in the US. The company went on to expand its revived Clueless world into multiple campaigns and social media content following the big event.

Who is on the bill for 2024?


Despite the hesitancy surrounding its participation last season, Temu has seemingly opted to place another ad during the 2024 Super Bowl. This was revealed in a recent lawsuit initiated by the e-commerce giant against rival Shein, which it had accused of “mafia-like” anti-competition practices.

The lawsuit read: “In the months leading up to Temu’s major upcoming advertising campaign for Super Bowl LVIII in February 2024, Shein has resorted to even more desperate and coercive measures, including physical detention of merchants who dare to work with Temu, personal threats and illegal seizures of merchants’ personal devices to obtain access to the merchants’ Temu accounts and Temu’s confidential information and trade secrets.”

Calvin Klein
Foot Locker
Super Bowl
Victoria's Secret