Fast food restaurants go to great lengths to produce memorable ad campaigns every year, but they pull out all the stops to keep football fans thinking about food on Super Bowl Sunday.
With so many different companies competing for the audience’s attention, only the silliest and strangest Super Bowl spots manage to stand out from the pack. And once they do, there’s a good chance we’ll be discussing those special spots around water coolers for days to come — and watching them online for decades.
When it comes to Super Bowl spots, there's no shortage of great ones. But these fast food companies have presented us with exceedingly silly, exceedingly strange, and exceedingly under-clothed Super Bowl commercials over the years. Here are a few of the silliest:
Carl's Jr.'s '"Too Hot for TV" Spot, 2015
For Super Bowl XLIX, Carl’s Jr. went a step further with their tradition of putting bikini-clad models in burger commercials and instead gave viewers a completely nude one: Guess model Charlotte McKinney walked around a farmers' market in the buff to promote the chain's All Natural burger. (In an interview with Esquire, McKinney says Carl’s Jr. actually approached her after seeing the 2014 interview she did with FOX 411.)
Pizza Hut's "Elvis" Commercial, 1998
If anything could bring Elvis back from the dead, it was Pizza Hut’s “Edge Pizza” — or at least that’s what this Pizza Hut ad from Super Bowl XXXII was getting at. Nowadays, this commercial might be more famous for featuring a pre-fame James Franco as one of the sarcastic kids in the beginning of the commercial. (He’s the one in the blue shirt.)
McDonald's "The Showdown," 1993
Michael Jordan and Larry Bird battled it out for a Big Mac in these classic McDonald’s spots that aired during Super Bowl XXVII — but just to be clear, it’s Bird who initiated the bet. "We actually had to have Larry challenge Michael to the game because we couldn’t have Michael make the challenge because of his gambling situation at the time," explained Jim Ferguson, one of the creative directors behind the spot.
Wendy's "Where’s the Beef?" 1984
Judging by the reported uptick in Wendy’s revenue following the airing of this Super Bowl XVIII ad, viewers were absolutely tickled with Clara Peller’s cantankerous delivery of “Where’s the beef?!” In a strange turn of events, however, Peller was fired one year later for uttering her famous catchphrase in a Prego pasta sauce commercial, thereby violating her contract.
Denny's "Nanerpus," 2009
Denny’s introduced viewers to something called “Nannerpus” during Super Bowl XLIII … and then immediately squashed him before our very eyes. But hey, at least Denny’s made up for it by offering everyone in America a free Grand Slam Breakfast the following Tuesday.
Taco Bell's "Viva Young" Commercial, 2013
Taco Bell’s 2013 Super Bowl spot follows a sextet of senior citizens on a wild night out. After breaking free from their nursing home, they go clubbing and pool-hopping, stopping only briefly to seduce young twenty-somethings and rampage through the neighborhood. So what fuels their elderly escapades? Crunchwraps and Doritos Locos Tacos, of course.
Jack in the Box's "Hang In There Jack" Ad, 2009
Jack in the Box's ad during Super Bowl XLIII didn't promote any specific menu items or meal deals, but it did show the company's mascot getting blindsided by a bus. Ending on a cliffhanger, the commercial was the first in a month-long ad campaign which culminated with Jack waking from a coma and announcing his ideas for a new logo, newly-designed restaurants, and a new website.