The Sad, Somber Hilarity of's 'When I Grow Up'

Mullen's 1999 spot still stands out today

Humor on the Super Bowl is usually supersized and slapstick. But's "When I Grow Up" commercial, from 1999, was the opposite—exceedingly dry and especially hilarious, with kids around the country talking about the dead-end jobs they're looking forward to having. In our latest look back at memorable Super Bowl spots, we revisit Mullen's black-and-white comic gem, which proved quiet and subtle humor can break through on the noisiest TV night of all.


  • Judy John, Global Chief Creative Officer, Edelman
  • Danny Robinson, Chief Creative Officer, The Martin Agency
  • Matt Wallaert, Behavioral Science Expert 
  • Tim Nudd, Editor in Chief, Clio Awards and Muse by Clio

See more episodes of our series below:

Always 'Like a Girl,' From Online Viral Hit to Super Bowl Champion

The Sad, Somber Hilarity of's 'When I Grow Up'

Chrysler and Eminem's Epic Salute to Detroit and Its Auto Industry

The Enduring Charm of Coke's Mean Joe Greene Ad

The Night Alexa Lost Her Voice but Spoke Louder Than Ever

Eli Manning on His NFL Ad and Those Sweet Dirty Dancing Moves

The NFL's Epic Super Bowl Ad That Was 100 Years in the Making

When Every Ad Was a #TideAd: How P&G Hijacked the Super Bowl

Nothing but Net: Jordan and Bird's Epic Showdown for McDonald's

How Reebok's Terry Tate Smashed His Way Into Super Bowl History

Cindy Crawford for Pepsi: Two Icons, One Perfect Super Bowl Ad

Budweiser's 'Puppy Love' ... the Cutest Super Bowl Ad Ever?

How Doritos and Mountain Dew Created a Rap Battle for the Ages

Betty White and Snickers: A Match Made in Super Bowl Heaven

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