You’d have to be wearing an eye mask or your fingers planted in your ears if you’ve failed to notice that the World Cup starts this Saturday.
Just incase you have been swaddled in cotton wool, or perhaps momentarily distracted by Miss Bradshaw (put down the Jimmy Choo’s and focus now), here is Nike’s official World Cup advert. It’s hit TV screens, traversed facebook and consequently ended up a viral sensation. On youtube today it has had 12,876,967 hits. I always find it funny that we rate how successful something is by how many mouse clicks it has received, but by anyone’s standards, that is a lot of thumb action…
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu of Babel and 21 Grams fame and coming in at 3 minutes long, the ad is a mini feature film in its own right. It’s slick, it’s dynamic, it’s overflowing with sports talent (Rooney, Drogba, Cannevaro, Ribery and even Kobe Bryant) and it’s clearly been made with big bucks. Bagging an Oscar nominated director could be a nod to a massive ad budget, or less cynically, also points to sports ever-growing move into a larger, glossier and more coveted cultural arena.
Focusing on the possible outcomes of the footy games – for the players, the fans and the rest of the world, the ad is a combination of theoretical possible match outcomes. My favourite is the Rooney script – seen fully bearded living in a caravan, his career having taken a turn for the worse after ‘stuffing’ up at the crucial time. Alongside all the big name flashiness of the ad, this comedic self-awareness – showing stock markets rise and crash and new born babies named Wayne – sits well, highlighting the absurd impact the World Cup will have on the UK, whether you’re fan or not. For anyone who’s said ‘it’s just a game right?’ The ad says – wrong. For the players, fans and potentially the national (global?) economy it will have a much wider resonance.
Shame that it features two players who won’t actually be playing in any of the matches – Ronaldinho and Drogba (recent injury), but that’s a risk the ad agency have to take when plotting a campaign in advance. But then it does feature Homer Simpson, himself the king of welcoming cameos into his home, to even up the balance ;0) This is certainly a crowd pleasing ad. It’s got me excited about Saturday and I’m not a living, breathing die-hard football fan. So in my book it more than does it’s job.