Average 30-second ad cost that year: $1.3 million
Fumble: A sloppy borscht of clichés and fear-baiting, this ad featured Russian military men freaking out as they wondered whether a hacker had sent them fake nuclear codes. Because Cold War paranoia was all the rage in 1998 and totally relevant to personal computer security. Ever.
The final score: After a series of complex mergers, acquisitions, and name changes, the shell of Network Associates now goes by the name McAfee. The company has seen plenty of controversy, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission's 2006 suit claiming the company had overstated its net revenue by more than half a billion dollars between 1998 and 2000 the thick of the Network Associates era. McAfee also saw a global rupture of its security system in 2010 and a hacker campaign in 2011. The question is, though, were they Russian?
Crystal Pepsi, Pets.com, Napster, more who coughed up big bucks for Big Game -- and went down the drain