There is something about big-time soccer that brings out great advertising.
Every four years, companies like Nike and Budweiser and McDonald’s build entire ad campaigns around their sponsorship of the World Cup. Since at least 2002, they’ve often been brilliant and have always been highly-anticipated, sort of how we used to anticipate Super Bowl ads but don’t anymore because it’s been so long since there’s been a really great crop of them.
Last week, the ad connoisseurs at Tampa ad agency Schifino Lee tweeted that they thought this McDonald’s ad might just be the best World Cup ad ever made:
I have to admit, that’s pretty good. It’s fun, through and through, and some of those trick shots—assuming they’re not assisted by CGI—are nothing short of amazing.
But it’s still not my favorite World Cup ad. That’s still the “Secret Tournament” ads by Nike, for the 2002 World Cup:
I prefer this one for two reasons: First, Eric Cantona is perfectly cast as the game-master; and second, Luis Figo gets thrown off a ship (I was never a big Figo fan during his playing days).
My drinking buddy Ken—who does not work in advertising but is the highly-suggestible type—weighed in on the matter. This one, from 2010, is his favorite:
“I’m a sucker for cameos,” he says, “and I love the hero or zero message.” Me, I like Bearded Wayne Rooney living in a trailer. Also the guitar part of the song that plays during Rooney’s segment rocks pretty hard.
Ken also mentioned this next ad, and while I have to disqualify it because it doesn’t seem to be advertising intended specifically for the World Cup, it’s worth looking at too:
I think the first-person POV is very effective, and I dig the way it begins and ends in very similar situations: you’re in exactly the same spot you started in, but at the same time you’re a million miles away from there.
Ken’s take: “I like the puking.”
And that’s why we’re friends.