Nike’s Mega-Super-Uber-Titanic 2010 World Cup Ad

May 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

So this is out there:

From my multiple views, I caught

  • Didier Drogba
  • Fabio Cannavaro
  • Wayne Rooney
  • Theo Walcott
  • Franck Ribery
  • Landon Donovan
  • Tim Howard
  • Fat Wayne Rooney
  • Roger Federer
  • Luis Fabiano (I think)
  • Ronaldinho (yawn)
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Homer Simpson
  • Gael Garcia Bernal

Seriously. Give me a year and I wouldn’t have come up with this list.

Besides it being the “We Are The World” of soccer commercials, Wieden+Kennedy, Nike’s ad agency, pretty much nailed it, right? As with all soccer commercials, there’s a little too much emphasis on the individual pyrotechnics, not enough passing or spacing dynamics or defense (no goalies???), but they got the physicality and visceral part of the game spot on. One of the only negatives I really have isn’t one that can be fixed: this ad is just screaming for Lionel Messi’s inclusion, but he’s an Adidas man.

As a guy who, in all honesty, has grown used to the besieged and belabored mentality of a Soccer Fan Always Defending His Love, seeing this strong push by US companies to get America in on the action, it’s…both exciting and unsettling.When you’re used to being the only one in the room who loves Robinho, the sport almost becomes a pure mind exercise, a hypothetical thing. To then have other people talk about it feels like someone else, unprovoked, talking to you about his/her personal relationship with your imaginary friend. But such is the life of an fanboy.

So watch this ad in all its hyper-glossy, frenetic, overly-corporate glory. The Wayne Rooney segment is some of the more inspired ad-work I’ve seen in a while.

And on a personal note, I was teaching in Rwanda back in 2006, during the World Cup. I watched the final in a small house, sitting in plastic chairs in a room with cement floors and walls covered in a mottled yellow paint. I was the only one in the room who was (1) white, and (2) cheering for Italy against France (Rwanda’s a French speaking country). The Drogba segment brought back a lot of pleasant memories, of the volatile swings in emotions for some of these African communities that happen during a single 90 minute game.


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