What’s that? The Clippers couldn’t hang against OKC? The Dodgers are charging ahead in their all-too-familiar mediocrity?
Well, suit up, nerds: IT’S SOCCER SEASON. With nod adieu to LA’s regular and often lackluster sports season (save for those Kings!), we are excitedly switching gears for a some play time on the world stage. This glorious, gripping, international tournament filled to the brim with sanctimonious pledges of national pride, bandwagon fans, and an insane cavalcade of talent has finally reared its head again. The World Cup has got us in a tizzy, and we are counting down the days before the epic tourney completely sidelines our social calendar for the next month (not to mention the secret, bootleg, live streaming sessions we’ve got on lock on that minimized internet browser on our work computer. Sorry, boss.).
This year, Brazil’s main TV network has already racked up over $600 million in sponsorship plugs, creating some of the best advertising hype we’ve since since last year’s Super Bowl. While we anxiously anticipate USA’s first game against Ghana on June 16th (insert iconic Macaulay Culkin face here), peep our picks of some of the best commercials to gear you up for the World Cup 2014.
Nike, “Risk Everything”
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
Nike, which is not, in fact, a World Cup partner, is shattering Adidas’ soccer supremacy with these new batch of ads for Brazil’s 2014 World Cup. Created by Wieden + Kennedy and directed by Jonathan Glazer, the 60-second spot below portrays Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Brazil’s Neymar and England’s Wayne Rooney preparing for the World Cup under intense psychic stresses of soccer superstardom and an ominous, compelling, stopwatch score. Welcome to the pressure-cooker, boys. We’re watching.
ESPN, “The World Cup Comes Home”[via Sean Bulvo | The 93rd minute] The commercial conveniently forgot about the barrios, kidnappings, and massive gang-violence but who cares, because, after watching this, I want to buy a ticket to Brazil immediately. Those girls are beautiful. . . and I think I saw soccer in their somewhere. I was a little distracted.
Pepsi, “Now Is What You Make It”
Agency: 180 Los Angeles
First off, this is the nicest favela I’ve ever seen.
Secondly, Who is this Stony kid?? I officially hate him. Nonchalantly ripping a newspaper out of Lionel Messi’s hand? No biggie. Putting your grimy drumsticks all over David Luiz’s soda? This guy. Stony, DO YOU EVEN KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE RIGHT NOW? Messi, I will personally stitch your paper back together and read it to you personally if I can get in the next ad.
Aside from this oblivious, ungrateful youth, the commercial also stands out because of its interactive features: Viewers can click to “dive deeper into Stony’s world” by unlocking additional features. Other featured players include Robin van Persie, Jack Wilshere, Sergio Aguero, Sergio Ramos, and, oh, Janelle Monae as struggling, side-hustling, street performer (take a peak at the behind-the-scenes footage here).
Nike, “Winner Stays”
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
Nike gets it’s sense of humor back with a star-studded, four-minute TV spot, featuring Ronaldo, Neymar, Rooney, Ibrahimović, Higuaín, Piqué, Iniesta, David Luiz, Tim Howard, and many others. Plenty of great comic relief and explosive action shots. Be sure to tune in at 2:24 when Kobe Bryant drops yet another Jumping-On-The-FIFA-Bandwagon-Because-I-Secretly-Always-Wanted-To-Be-A-Professional-Soccer-Player cameo.
Sorry Adidas—as good as this clip is, Nike kinda trumped you in it’s World Cup brand awareness. Nevertheless, the ad is a great addition to the pool. Set the The Kinks, “All Day And All Of The Night” the ad introduces Brazuca, the match ball of the 2014 World Cup, and life from Brazuca’s point of view. More than one million Brazilian fans voted to name the ball brazuca, which “is used by Brazilians to describe national pride in the Brazilian way of life. Mirroring their approach to football, it symbolizes emotion, pride and goodwill to all.”
Visa, “Everyone Is Welcome”
A FIFA World Cup in Brazil is just like Visa. Everyone is welcome. We’ll see about that.
Agency: Lew’LaraTBWA, Brazil
Daaammnn, Gatorade went and got that Disney money. The ad cleverly pairs Lionel Messi, David Luiz, Sergio Ramos, and Landon Donovan with the soundtrack from Cinderella (masterfully remixed by David Banner), showcasing the magic and hard work that go into creating amazing soccer moments.
ESPN, “I Believe”
Don’t get me wrong, I will be rocking my USA jersey hard throughout this tourney, but there’s a difference between “believing” and actually winning. This ad could use a lot more actual scoring highlights and a little less of the cheesy “I Believe” fan chant. R. Kelly believed he could fly, and look where that landed him (unless soaring directly to prison counts?). Nevertheless, we can’t help but love any and all USA plugs, so it makes our list for the pure hopefulness of it all.
Powerade, “Nico’s Story”
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
This one is sure to tug at your heart strings. Powerade, the official beverage partner for the FIFA World Cup, shares the amazing story and strength of Nico Calabria, an athlete born with one leg. The short documentary campaign portrays the raw and inspiring willpower of a young man who refuses to let any challenge stand in his way.
Adidas, “Samba Collection”
Woah. Induce epileptic seizure now. But great music by Buraka Som Sistema.
ESPN, “Global Issues”
In their latest installment of commercials, ESPN produced this little devil—a short, sweet, and hilarious ad with an ending we can all commiserate with.
Emirates, “All-Time Greats”
Agency: IMPACT BBDO
The new Emirates commercial is kind of genius. The spot features soccer icons, Brazilian Pele and Portuguese Ronaldo on their swanky, first-class flight, where both of them have their own set of fans. Take a gander, we wont ruin it for you.
Adidas, “The Dream”
Directed by Fernando Meirelles (City of God) and launched during the UEFA Champions League final, the clip depicts Lionel Messi experiencing an edgy World Cup dream—all set to a killer new Kanye track, “God Level.” Other featured players include Dani Alves, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Luis Suárez, Xavi, Jordi Alba, Mesut Özil, Robin van Persie, and David Villa.
ESPN, “Time Zones”
ESPN is really hitting the nail on the head with these charming, entirely relatable clips of what soccer fandom truly encapsulates. I’m already breathing a sigh of relief that I won’t have to wake up at 4 AM this time around just to watch Ghana dash our World Cup dreams (I’m lookin at you, Asamoah Gyan…)
Agency: Y&R Brasil
The clip stars Brazilian national team players David Luiz, Thiago Silva, and Marcelo dribbling, driving, crossing, and battling the odds to make their flights home. Go, you Brazilian kings, go!
Budweiser, “Believe As One”
Part of Budweiser’s “Rise As One” campaign, the new commercial features lush black and white scenes of fans around the world getting hyped for the game, interspersed with dazzling gold bottle shots of the brew. All set to an anthemic, orchestral score that will surely make you forget how shitty this beer actually is.
The campaign also includes an online documentary series co-produced with Vice, as well as a six-part documentary to be broadcast on Fox.
McDonald’s does viral, trick-shot videos now. In the new TV spot, soccer enthusiast of all ages come together to perform their best trick shots. Along with the commercial, McDonald’s is planning on outfitting its french fry packaging with a fresh augmented reality, World Cup-themed design and a new app that somehow seamlessly connects fries with soccer. Organic branding, y’all. Organic.
Panini, “Who Do You Collect?”
We get it Kobe, you’re amazing at everything. But real talk, you are a grown ass man—with body hair, a high-profile career, and the ability to vote. And you wanna tell me you sit around swapping World Cup stickers with Andrew Luck? Get it together, man.
Visa, “Everywhere You Want To Be”
Agency: ALMAP BBDO
It’s been eight years since French soccer star Zinedine Zidane dropped a head-butt on his Itailan rival to turn a boring tie-game World Cup Final into a hilariously memorable and meme-worthy World Cup Final. In the clip, Marco Materazzi (headbutt-ee) is replaced with Italian World Cup Champion Fabio Cannavaro (who was on the field playing for Italy at the time of said head-butt) for a light-hearted reunion of rivals.
Nike, “Take It To The Next Level”
Yah, we know, this ad is likely five years old by now. But it might be the best of Nike’s bunch, and totally worth another nod. Directed by Guy Ritchie, the ad depicts the roller-coaster ride of a young soccer player from his beginnings competing at the highest level for his country from a first-hand perspective. All before GoPros were actually a thing.
Know of any other great adverts? Comment below with you picks.