Thursday, 10 June 2010

World Cup Preview Part XI: The Adverts

One thing you can count on come World Cup time, apart from a key England player getting injured (too soon?), is that there will be a flurry of World Cup adverts. Some of them will have clearly recognisable World Cup themes, while others, as Adidas showcase perfectly this time around, will have nothing to do with the World Cup. Here's a look at some of the best adverts 2010 has to offer:


Nike's 'Write the Future' advert is an astonishing piece of television, fantastically shot and humorous as well as dramatic. Featuring some of world football's biggest names, as well as great cameos from Roger Federer and Kobe Bryant. The only downside is that Ronaldinho, who gets a lot of focus in the advert, is not at the World Cup. Then again, how can you have a major Nike football advert without Ronaldinho?


One of the silliest World Cup adverts, but also the most fun. The World Cup is in Africa for the first time, so obviously some of the world's top footballers had to visit the African Savannah in search of a can of Pepsi. Along the way they encounter some cheeky local kids, colourful body paints and a football pitch whose boundaries are made entirely out of people. I won't totally ruin the end, but let's just say that the spectacors pull a really clever trick that leaves the Pepsi stars, who had enjoyed 100% possession up to that point, looking a bit silly in the end. Strange to see Arsenal's Andrei Arshavin in the advert with Russia not at the World Cup, but how could you have a Pepsi advert without Andrei Arshavin? Oh wait, that doesn't work quite as well as the last one.


Mildly amusing advert featuring Little Britan favourites Andy & Lou, as well Fabio Capello and some England substitutes. On a side note, how frustrating must it be for Theo Walcott to sit on his sofa and catch glimpses of himself in both Nike & Nationwide's World Cup adverts? I'm sure it's nothing a few weeks on a tropical beach can't cure.


On paper it looks like a great idea. Get a former England World Cup star to perform his rap from the greatest football song ever written, albeit with a slight Mars Bar themed lyric change. In reality it ends up slightly hollow using the song to promote a chocolate bar. Also, watch this advert alongside the original 'World in Motion' video, and John Barnes appears to be acting as a cautionary tale for the effects that 20 years and an overindulgence in Mars Bars can have on your physique. I think it was a wise choice to go with the baggy red jumper rather than the tight England shirt he sported in 1990.

The Mars Ad men have been hard at work this time around, producing two adverts. This one features former England international greats (and the England women's coach) talking about how eating Mars Bars helped them achieve their footballing dreams. At least I think that was the point.


An inspiring piece, operating more as a kick up the backside to England's squad than an actual advert for Carlsberg. The advert also features one of the most ridiculous lines ever written. "Who says you can't be a world beater twice?." Erm, I'd go with nobody, seeing as Argentina & Uruguay have won it twice, Germany three times, Italy four and Brazil five.


Absolutely brilliant. Coke have hit gold here, combining England's top player with one of its funniest comedians, with predictably hilarious results. I might go out and buy a crate of Coca Cola just to say thankyou for them bringing this into my life.

From the sublime to the ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, this is a great advert with great music and celebrations, but also features some of the most over-the-top claims I've ever heard. Apparently Roger Milla was the first player ever to dance after scoring a goal, and he also taught the world "how to live." Why stop there? Didn't Roger also invent electricity, win the Eurovision song contest in 1993 as well as becoming the first man to circumnavigate the globe in a rubber dinghy?


Finally, the one you've all been waiting for. No doubt inspired by the recent line of incredible Star Wars themed trainers that Adidas have released. However, it has absolutely no relation to the World Cup whatsoever. I'd imagine the discussion between the Adidas advertising executives went something like this: 

Ad Man #1: "I think we should shoot an advert featuring some of our most recognisable Adidas faces and set it in the bar scene from Star Wars, then release it in June." 
Ad Man #2: "Do you think our computer geeks will be able to do that?" 
Ad Man #1: "Of course. What do you think we're paying them for?" 
Ad Man #2: "Oh wait, you said June. That's the month the World Cup starts, you know, the greatest sporting occasion in the world. With us being predominantly a sports brand, shouldn't we do something related to that?" 
Ad Man #1: "Yeah, I guess you're right, but this advert will be so cool! Can't we just put a board outside the bar saying that the World Cup games will be shown inside? Oh, we'll obviously have Becks in it too." 
Ad Man #2: "Ok, that seems like a fair compromise." 
Ad Man #3: "Can we also have Snoop Dogg wielding a lightsaber?"

As a stand-alone advert, it is one of the coolest ever made. As a World Cup advert, it makes no sense whatsoever.

This concludes the round-up of World Cup adverts, hope it's been a wild ride looking at what the brands had to offer. If I've missed any crackers, or if you have any thoughts on them, feel free to comment below.



    I've been showing this to my students for the last couple of years - good to see it's been picked up in one of the best adverts for the world cup.

  2. That addidas advert is class, but like you said nothing really to do with the world cup! I would imagine you captured the advertising board room conversation perfectly