It’s no secret to anyone that the World Cup is kind of a big deal; it’s like the Super Bowl for futbol or the Olympics if the whole world agreed to only play one sport. But as major brands seek to stake claim to global audiences, the World Cup has become increasingly important as a major marketing platform, especially brands that seek to capitalize on the growing immigrant populations - Latino, African, Asian and European - inside the USA.
Yes, that means some of these ads are made with people with funny accents, or who aren’t even speaking English at all. Because FIFA the (ahem) governing body that oversees the World Cup, isn’t just positioning itself as a major sporting event like the Super Bowl or the World Cup; it has become clear that, even in America, the World Cup has achieved that status on its own.
The only evidence you need is these awesome video ads from all the usual globally branded suspects to see how important it has become to capture and capitalize upon all the positive emotions that the beautiful game inspires in the rabid World Cup fan base. Some are from official FIFA partners like Adidas and Coca-Cola, and some from brands that just *really* love soccer.
And of course, they are going to have to be good to beat this Adidas ad from the 2010 World Cup featuring Snoop Dogg, Daft Punk and David Beckham in the dive bar from Tatooine from Star Wars.
As reported by John Oliver on his HBO Daily Show spin-off Last Week Tonight, FIFA has forced Brazil to change its laws regarding beer consumption at soccer arenas because Budweiser is a major sponsor of FIFA and FIFA gets what it wants. In its “Rise as One” ad, Team Budweiser depicts its product in its golden splendor cut against scenes of roaring stadium crowds and people celebrating in the streets of various global villages.
In its “One World, One Game” ad, Coca-Cola creates a little multi-lingual reality show, where the Coca-Cola brand invites football teams from impoverished and isolated parts of the world to the big game in Brazil, followed by their World Cup campaign slogan: “Everyone’s invited.” Well, maybe not *everyone*... but these lucky few were. In the end, not a bad way to spend a global ad budget.
While it’s not an official FIFA sponsor, you wouldn’t know that from watching this video, called “Now Is What You Make It,” of a making music in his non-American hometown as he happens to bump into a half-dozen global soccer superstars, like Robin van Persie, David Luiz, Sergio Ramos, Sergio Agüero, Jack Wilshere and global big-shot Lionel Messi. Apparently, FIFA hasn’t found a way to stop these athletes from appearing in ads from non-sanctioned partners, and Pepsi and its #futbolnow hashtag campaign are direct beneficiaries. Oh, and also Pepsi is experimenting with an interactive component with this video, giving its audience an even closer look at its favorite soccer superstars.
Official FIFA partner Adidas, a brand whose name is synonymous with European soccer since before Nike was synonymous with American basketball, features an ad that is supposed to be a dream that Lionel Messi had, directed by Brazilian native Fernado Meirelles (City of God). As a concept, not so great, but who cares? It has Messi in it and the soundtrack is by Kanye West, so everyone wins.
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Just like its fellow non-FIFA-approved brand Pepsi, Nike builds a soccer-themed ad campaign populated with soccer stars without ever mentioning “World Cup” or “FIFA” once, and no one except FIFA accounts receivable will ever notice the difference. The ad features its own slate of soccer greats, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Junior., Wayne Rooney, and Andres Iniesta. The spot plays on the idea that school-yard athletes pretending to be their favorite players, and it’s all fun and games until the Incredible Hulk shows up.
6. Banco de Chile
Remember the Chilean miners? You know, the 33 men trapped for 69 days in a Chilean mine back in 2010? The people of Chile remember them, so Banco de Chile sent all 33 miners back to the scene of their desperation in the Atacama Desert, to scoop up sand to christen Team Chile’s training camp in Brazil. Chile’s draw in World Cup group play is considered the “Group of Death,” but Mario Sepulveda, the miners’ leader, has a message for the world, "We are not scared of the Group of Death!" bellows Sepulveda. "We don't care about death." That’s some strong stuff.
7. ESPN - Team USA
I... I believe... I believe this... I believe this ad... I believe this ad is catchy! I believe this ad is catchy! I believe this ad is catchy! ESPN is the official broadcast partner for the FIFA World Cup in the USA, airing all 64 matches from June 12 to July 13, which is a big deal for ESPN, which gets shut out of Olympics coverage by NBC Sports every two years. So this ad celebrates not just the USA Men’s Soccer team, but ESPN itself.
8. McDonalds - GOL!
It was Americans who created the YouTube genre of “impossible to hit basketball shots,” so it makes sense that McDonalds has taken this genre and created an ad campaign featuring five unlikely soccer stars doing amazing things with the ball -- just like the Golden Arches exported America’s taste in fast food to the rest of the world. The only difference here is that watching this 2-minute McDonalds ad doesn’t feel like empty calories.
9. Volkswagen 2014 Golf GTI
Featuring famous soccer commentator, Andres Cantor, and his son (apparently), this ad trades on Cantor’s familiar voice and trademark, “GOOOOOOOOOAL!” As an ad making use of a commentator instead of a player, it’s certainly more effective (and far less creepy) than Visa’s attempt to capitalize on Cantor from 2010. If you are looking for an ad from a German company designed to appeal to an Hispanic-American audience, here you go.
10. Cyborg Exoskeletons
Um, so. Did you hear that the first ball at the World Cup will be kicked by a paralyzed teenager with a pair of cybernetic legs? Yeah, it’s true, and it’s all a product of a major research project that has been worked on by scientists from universities all over the world in a true global partnership. People are saying, with a straight face, that these robot legs could replace the wheelchair. And when the entire world sees a kid stand up from a wheel chair to kick the first ball of the 2014 World Cup, it might just do it.