The CCO of global clients at Wunderman Thompson gives a three-a-side reflection of some of the golden oldies of football ads compared to some of the top tryouts for this year
The lovely people at LBB asked me to talk about my favourite current or past football World Cup ads. That’s nearly as good as getting paid to play football. Well, sort of. *Whistle blows*. Here goes. For me, a great football World Cup ad needs one important ingredient - the tension of competition. Well, no-one is interested in friendlies. So, I thought I would inject a bit of competition into this: 2022 football World Cup ads against all the old ones. Kicking off with...
Lays - 'Beckham / Payton 2022' vs. 'Messi 2014'
'Beckham / Payton 2022'
Directed by Michael Bay and produced by Great Guns, the two sports legends settle the big debate on the World Cup game being called football or soccer over a bag of chips. The spot is beautifully directed and the two heroes look like they are having a lot of fun. It’s something every fan could relate to. The competitive edge isn’t as hard core as I would have liked, but I still loved watching this.
Messi walks around a city, and as you would expect, everyone wants a selfie with Messi. With every selfie, the fans also want one of his crisps, and soon, Messi is out of crisps. It's a shame they didn't make it out that the selfie-seekers where not after his crisps, nor a selfie with Messi.
Narrated by Stormzy, this adidas World Cup commercial is kicked off by Jude Bellingham and Pedri, while Lionel Messi, Karim Benzema and Heung-min Son also take centre stage. Achraf Hakimi and Serge Gnabry also star, and this is all about getting the guys together to get the bus to the World Cup. For me, this ad has no competitive tension. Without it, I think they have missed a chance to really connect with the whole point of the World Cup.
'Secret Tournament 2002'
The 'Nike Secret Tournament' for the South Korea and Japan World Cup is all about competition, and for me, set the benchmark for footballing skills. 24 players - eight teams - of the world’s best footballers were split into eight three-a-side teams. Refereed by legend Eric Cantona, the 'Scorpion KO' saw the eight teams compete in a cage on a ship with only one rule: first goal wins. The producers of the advert nailed the soundtrack. ‘A Little Less Conversation’ by Elvis vs JXL was one of the biggest hits of 2002. My biased view is that it’s impossible not to be transported back to 2002 whenever you hear the song, which reached number one in 250 various charts across the world including the UK that summer.
Quilmes Beer - 'Coincidences' vs. Budweiser - 'The World Is Yours to Take'
Argentinian brewery Quilmes has released a commercial, which compares 'coincidences' between 2022 and 1986, the last time Argentina won a World Cup. Playing on the classic superstitious nature of all football fans this film really does make you feel like the Brand understands real football. The competitive nature of the film is subtle, which to me is just right.
'The World Is Yours to Take'
Football megastars Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr and Raheem Sterling feature in Budweiser's official World Cup commercial, which showcases the tension - and excitement - in the tunnel before the players take to the pitch. I really like the insight of this film. I just wish they had captured the realness of the tunnel. The execution feels like Payton Manning and his mates at American football created this. If only they had got the producers of Nike 'Park Life' or 'Take It to the Next Level'.
1-1 (Quilmes 5-4 on penalties).
That’s full time. I would like to say it was a close contest, but I can’t help thinking that the 2022 World Cup ads I’ve seen have been a bit of a letdown. World Cup football ads should be showstoppers; make you feel like running out and buying the brand because of its passion and understanding of the game. They should make you feel like you are watching Maradona or George Best for the first time. Take a look at Nike’s 'Good V Evil' for an example...