World Cup Ads

This Saturday marks the official start of the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and the advertising world has been hard at work working soccer fans into a fever pitch and inserting their products into the mix. Thankfully, a lot of the ads this year have been superb. From the much-hyped, celebrity-stuffed Nike ad, and a genius bit of a history lesson from Coke, to an inspiring team talk for the Three Lions from Carlsberg, there’s been absolutely no shortage on creativity this time around.

Here are eight of my favorite World Cup spots from around the world.

Carlsberg – Team Talk
This blood-pumping bit of patriotism might be lost on people outside the UK, but I love it. It’s packed with British sporting legends, and I think Saatchi & Saatchi London did a great job of capturing the sense of excitement the English feel going into this year’s cup. Creatives: Rob Potts and Andy Jex, ECD – Paul Silburn

Nike – Write the Future
This star-studded six minute epic was directed by Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel) and took to the web like wildfire. According to Mashable it was watched by 7.8 million people in the first week, making it the fastest growing viral ad in history. (Wieden + Kennedy)

Visa – Football Evolution
Also from Saatchi & Saatchi London, this is a clever take on how immersive watching your football team can be. It’s also a testament to the power of exercise! Creatives: Jonathan Santana & Xander Smith, ECD – Kate Stanners

Pepsi – Oh AfricaAnother spot that’s packed to the brim with famous footballers. It does a great job of incorporating the fact that it’s the first World Cup to be played on African soil as well. Make sure you watch to the end for a hilarious moment from Messi. (Pepsi)

ESPN – Robben Island
This is a moving look at the history of South Africa and their connection to soccer. Set in the prison Mandela was held in, ESPN touches on the heart and soul of this year’s host country. (Wieden + Kennedy)

Coke – History of Celebration
Nothing’s more exciting in football than a great goal . . . except maybe a great goal celebration. (Santo)

Nike – Mandingas
Perhaps none of the national teams have as rich a world cup history as the Brazilians. This ad for Nike focuses on the almost religious level of superstition and commitment surrounding the beautiful game there. The six minute spot gives us the origin of the Brazilian Blue team shirt, as well as a mythical look at Maicon, Fabiano and Robinho’s childhoods. From NAZCA/Saatchi & Saatchi. CD’s – Fabio Fernandes / Eduardo Lima.

Guinness – PoemThis is actually a Guinness ad made by Saatchi & Saatchi Cape Town a few years back that proposes – “one day, one day soon – an African team will win the World Cup. The 2010 tournament answer is “halfway there.” CD – Eric Frank.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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