Nothing brings competing characters together like marketing money! And of course, that can only escalate when we’re talking about America’s #1 annual TV show: The Super Bowl. Ladies and Gentlemen, are you ready?
Well, not really. But we we talked a bit about some of this on the most influential Super Bowl Commercials on this episode of Laser Time. Again, we’re not much for football. However, we certainly like jokes and big budget short films! So if we have to show up to your stupid Super Bowl party, why not look forward to the commercials in between? It does comprise the majority of the broadcast after all. So with that in mind, here are the most amazing, colossal, crossovers in Super Bowl commercial history. Below you’ll find unprecedented collaborations, otherwise impossible if not paid for by monolithic corporations and spooled out in 30 second chunks
7. Hulk vs Ant-Man for Coke Mini
I know what you’re saying. As unprecedented as it may be for Marvel’s movie characters to hock soda, those heroes “crossing over” is kind of the bread and butter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Well, if I may push up my glasses and piss nerd all over you, please bear in mind this spot aired in 2016. Not only had we not seen a green Bruce Banner outside of an Avengers movie since 2008…
As of this writing, the MCU’s Ant-Man and Hulk have never shared any screen time together, and from what I know of their upcoming movie slate, they probably won’t until at least 2018. This team up is a Coca-Cola EXCLUSIVE! Only right here, in a stupid Coke commercial, selling the famous diabetic cocktail in a slightly smaller can. I mean, admittedly, slogans like “Pay More, Drink Less, EXTRA TRASH!” make Coke Mini a tough sell, so you can understand why they’d opt to bring in the Marvel heavyweights. But Coke’s spendy desperation is the viewer’s gain! Because even though I can’t genuinely determine whether or not that’s Mark Ruffalo mo-capping Hulk in the commercial, I’m damn certain that’s Paul Rudd’s voice. That’s soda money for ya.
6. Michael Jordan meets Bugs Bunny in “Hare Jordan”
There’s a million ways to throw shade at Space Jam. Here’s just 10 of them! But perhaps the easiest is that Warner Bros’ 1996 stab at Who Framed Roger Rabbit is little more than a feature-length spin-off of a 1992 Nike commercial. Here’s the original Bugs/Jordan collaboration in the best quality I could find.
One of my biggest personal issues with Space Jam is that it’s not so much a crossover, as it is “Michael Jordan: The Movie! featuring the Looney Tunes.” I liked Jordan back in the day just like every red blooded American boy, but I love the Looney Tunes more, and too much of the Space Jam is anchored by Mike (a terrible actor) and servicing a boring sports story to boot. As much as it pains me to say, these Nike commercials actually do a far superior job at nailing the spirit and tone of why these cartoon characters have remained so popular for almost a century.
The Looney Tunes (some of my favorite characters in the universe) don’t have a lot to do, and rarely get to do what they do well, which is still a helluva disappointment considering Space Jam was their first (original) full-length movie after 50 years of short-form stardom. More ironically, the popular Nike commercials that followed “Hare Jordan” tend to feature more impressive animation, better gags, and somewhat astoundingly, puts Bugs and company to much better use in just a fraction of the time. Peep that video above to see what I mean.
A legit thing you could almost recently buy
No matter what I think, infusing Bugs Bunny with basketball is something that has strangely persisted throughout the last 25 years, up to and including these new kicks and this recent Nike commercial, featuring a direct reference to the original “Hare Jordan” and a bunch of modern athletes I’ve never heard of.
5. Jay Leno for The Late Show with David Letterman
I know people will care less and less about this commercial the more society moves along, but to call it unprecedented is the understatement of the millennium. This might very well be my favorite 15 seconds in the history of all American pop culture. For one, I know folks are used to their talk show hosts intermingling, be it for charity of out of viral desperation. But Leno and and the almighty David Letterman are the last of a bitter era of late night rivalries, where even a guest appearing on another show could get them blacklisted from the other’s. Joan Rivers got her own talk show and Johnny Carson never spoke to his friend and frequent guest host until his death, at which point I will assume they continued not speaking. Furthermore, Leno was fresh off his Tonight Show debacle, which saw him bombing in prime time, stealing his show back from Conan O’Brien in one of the most high profile network failures of the decade, and becoming the nicest villain in America television. Appearing in a commercial for Letterman’s show was something of an atonement.
And perhaps best of all, Letterman fucking hates Jay Leno. He’s never made a secret about it, and at the time this aired, had spent almost the entirety of the 2009 Tonight Show ordeal publicly hurling shit at Leno. Up until this commercial, the two late night adversaries reportedly hadn’t seen or spoken to one another in 18 years, but they managed to shoot this in secret and shock the world as two direct competitors appeared in a commercial to pimp the other’s show. Oh yeah, and Oprah, another talk show titan who has since quit their job, was there too! You can read more about the behind-the-scenes of the ad, including Leno sneaking into the Ed Sullivan Theater in disguise here.