5 of the Best & Worst World Cup Ads: Sorting the Amazing from the Absurd

July 5, 2014
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With the World Cup already in full swing and near its climax, we’ve seen high-tempo matches, plenty of goals, and a few extra-time heartbreaks along the way. In addition to having our eyes glued to action on the pitch, we’ve also enjoyed the advertisements that companies around the world have released around ‘o jogo bonito’ (The Beautiful Game) – they’ve either been brilliant or downright ridiculous. The following ads are our shortlist of the best and worst and we saved the best one until last!
Nike: The Last Game
This ad undoubtedly comes with the most hype, but it’s well deserved. Nike has a penchant for producing World Cup ads that don’t just sell the product, but capture the imagination through intricate storylines and fantastic displays of soccer brilliance. The company’s entry for 2014, The Last Game, certainly doesn’t disappoint.
In this ad, Nike has created a cartoon mini-movie where boring robots have taken over the soccer world. Results and automation have turned the game sour, with stadiums empty and crowds disillusioned. Ronaldo (the old one!) brings back the old guard, our current crop of stars, to take on the robots for a winner-takes-all showdown. Just as exciting as a real match!
Adidas: House Match ft. Beckham, Zidane, Bale and Lucas Moura
Including big names can sometimes turn ads into a snooze-fest and as the ad began, we thought the mute button would come in handy. However, Adidas have actually done a very clever job with this one, using a simple concept and turning into a solid ad that’s fun, modern, and shows off the product at the same time.
The big names in soccer, both active and retired, start things off as a few mates sitting around playing a game of FIFA (or similar) on a console. The ad is cranked up a notch when they decide to play the game for real, combining to show off the silky skills that made them famous.

Beats by Dr Dre: The Game Before The Game
Lasting over 5 minutes, we originally thought we’d be served another excellent mini-movie as with the first ad. How wrong we were. This ad tries to be just a little too cool, showing players as they’re psyching themselves up for the big game.
The problem? Nothing happens. It goes on forever, with each scene being a near carbon copy of the last. This ad shows that you can’t ride the coattails of the so-called celebrities. Just because you have van Persie, Neymar, and Sagna in your ad most definitely doesn’t translate to creative genius.
Nike: Winner Stays
Nike’s The Last Game edges it in terms of substance, but Winner Stays is a very decent entry indeed. It shows a band of English kids turning into their favourite soccer players, including big names such as Zlatan, Rooney, and Iniesta. It encompasses what we all used to do as kids: pretending to be our favourite players and playing the game for the pure fun of it.
While the ad doesn’t make complete sense and you can’t exactly call it developed in terms of its story, it’s nevertheless fun, exciting, and aesthetically top-class. Soccer players are doing what they do best (playing soccerl!), not sitting around listening to music or working on their acting chops – and that’s just the way it should be.
McDonald’s: Goal
McDonald’s has come up with a cracker here, producing what we think is the best ad of the World Cup so far, AND it doesnt have one burger shot in it! It shows a collection of kids pulling off viral-worthy trick shots in exotic locations. It shows soccer in its purest form, without the need for your Beckhams or Zidanes to bring glamour to the ad.
What really struck us with this ad are its simplicity, fantastic cinematography, a fitting soundtrack, as well as quality soccer performed by kids, women, and those that are a little long in the tooth. It shows the worldwide appeal of the game and we like how McDonald’s didn’t need to ‘boost’ the appeal by shameless injecting big names for no reason. Great effort!

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