By Nick Ramsey
More than 3.2 billion television viewers watched at least one minute of a game during the 2010 World Cup — that’s nearly half of the world’s population – and many predicted the viewership to be even higher this year. To help capitalize on such a sizable audience, a wide variety of brands took advantage of this global platform and created brilliant advertisements that tugged on the heartstrings of viewers and inspired soccer fans across the globe. However, some brands missed the mark, coming up short in reaching their audience and being direct in their messaging. Now that the World Cup has ended (Congratulations Germany!), let’s take a look back at some of the best and worst ads from this year’s tournament.
Top 3 Campaigns
McDonald’s scored big on this ad, creating a montage of seemingly average fans performing incredible trick shots. The ad is entertaining to watch, appeals to sports fans worldwide and encourages viewers to visit gol.mcd.com to participate in the McDonald’s’ “Peel. Play. Olé Olé.” competition, which provided an opportunity for customers to win a trip to the World Cup final in Brazil.
Beats – Game before the game
Beats uses Brazil’s poster boy Neymar da Siva Santos Jr., among other famous celebrities and athletes, to embrace the pregame routine, which of course features the brand’s signature noise-cancelling headphones. This ad gives viewers an inside look at how some of the world’s best get ready for the game, while clearly communicating the message that the top athletes from across the globe use Beats headphones to prepare for competition. Although the YouTube version lasts five minutes, shorter versions of the ad ran on TV.
Nike – Winner Stays
Nike has consistently produced some of the top ads for major athletic events, and the 2014 World Cup was no exception. This ad shows average fans playing a pick-up game of soccer, and then morphing into their favorite players and moving onto the world stage. The ad shows that Nike is the apparel of choice for athletes on any stage, whether it is a backyard pick-up game or the World Cup final. The excess of soccer superstars doesn’t hurt either, as the ad features Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Neymar and more. Similar to the Beats ad, the full YouTube ad lasts four minutes; however, shorter versions of the commercial appeared on TV just a few days after its Internet debut.
Worst 3 Campaigns
Burger King – Whopper Fanatic
Burger King embraces the stereotypical American lack of interest in soccer in this ad, and encourages people not to watch their favorite teams play. The restaurant even offers a free Whopper to those who come to eat at Burger King wearing their team’s jersey during that team’s match. However, individuals who do own a jersey are likely to be invested fans, and not willing to miss an event that occurs once every four years. Burger King tries to use humor in the ad to appeal to the stereotypical American, but the messaging and target audience remain unclear.
Kia – Adriana Lima Brings Fútbol to Sports Bar
This ad features supermodel Adriana Lima changing the TV channel in a bar from NASCAR to soccer, as three men sit speechless, dumbfounded by her beauty. While viewers may enjoy the ad’s humor and the attractive model, the connection to Kia is unclear. The Kia Sorento appears only briefly at the beginning and end of the ad, and could be easily missed by World Cup fans. Even if the connection to Kia is made, the commercial doesn’t highlight any of the car’s features.
Hooters – Coach Gruden Knows Fútbol
The international restaurant chain definitely lost with this ad, which showcases a stereotypical American ignorance of soccer, or “fútbol.” Former NFL coach John Gruden and others sports figures don’t understand what the Hooters waitress is saying when she references “fútbol,” because all they know is American football. The ad ends with the tag line, “No matter what football you like, watch it at Hooters.” Unfortunately, the ad just comes across as ignorant and cheaply made—better luck in 2018, Hooters.