5 When I Grow Up – Monster.com
Isn’t it just the cutest when a company makes kids say things that they’d otherwise never say? It’s a pretty overused idea, but in 2008 Monster.com used adorable kids to point out all the compromises you’ve made in your professional life. With kids saying what they want to be when they grow up, the ad features lines like “I want to claw my way up to middle management” and “I want to be paid less for doing the same job,” which is funny, because no kid says that! Right? It’s a cute ad, unless you watch it from your cubicle and really let the message sink in. Then it’s mostly just depressing.
4 Save It – E-Trade
Another 2013 addition to the list, E-Trade managed to make yet another funny version of what seemed like an already played-out campaign featuring their wisecracking baby. In this spot, the baby shows you just how easily you can blow your 401k by playing polo, commissioning a Napoleon-esque portrait, running with the bulls in Pamplona, taking his dog into space, hot-tubbing with a panda and buying and subsequently crashing a yacht. The point of the commercial is to tell you to save your money using E-Trade, but the real lesson here is that this baby seriously knows how to party.
3 Space Babies – Kia
Kia cashed in on the cuteness trend by pairing a baby with a bunch of baby animals, creating an unstoppable freight train of “Awwwws” with their 2013 Super Bowl ad for the Sorento. Featuring a bumbling dad trying to explain where babies come from to his older son, the ad tells the tale of babies journeying to Earth in space shuttles alongside other baby animals. Yeah, pair a surprisingly confident astronaut baby with some puppies, fuzzy penguins, pandas and lambs, all wearing tiny space suits, and you’ve pretty much got the recipe for the perfect viral storm.
2 Mean Joe Greene – Coca-Cola
For whatever reason, this one just sticks with you. Even if you weren’t old enough to remember it the first time it aired, you’ve seen it endlessly imitated and parodied since. It’s Mean Joe Greene playing Mr. Nice guy in a 1980 spot for Coca-Cola. Although the ad raises a lot of questions, like “why this kid is just hanging out in the tunnel by himself after the game?” and “why isn’t he covered with dude-sweat when Joe hits him with his game worn jersey?” it’s still an undeniable classic that we can’t ignore.
1 Darth Vader – Volkswagen
The dark lord of the Star Wars saga is one of the most imposing villains in cinema history, unless of course you find out there’s an 8 year old behind the mask. In 2011, Volkswagen released their Super Bowl commercial that featured a mini-Vader trying desperately to hone his grasp of “The Force.” After he’s unable to conquer his dog, the washing machine, a doll, and a peanut butter sandwich, he finally hits it big when he’s able to start his dad’s VW Passat. His reaction is priceless. Without saying a word or showing his face, this kid proves he’s a comedic genius with the body control of a tiny Dick Van Dyke. The embodiment of evil has never been so adorable.