With the World cup approaching the likes of Nike and Addidas will undoubtedly be working on new adverts to coincide with the competition, with this in mind I’ve decided to list my own favourite football advertisements.  It’s an eclectic mix featuring cowboys, high art, airports, steel cages and inventive use of the word ole!

5.  Pepsi 2003

Set in the Wild West a group of Manchester United cowboys featuring the likes of David Beckham and Juan Sebastian Veron ride into town.   A showdown with the local Real Madrid boys kicks off when Iker Casillas dares to intercepts Beck’s Pepsi in the town bar.  An act of such insolence can not go unpunished and Beckham defeats the goal keeper in a western style penalty shoot out, with a little help from his horse of course.  However the Pepsi isn’t safe quite yet as the ad ends with a clearly enraged Roberto Carlos emerging from the barbers to challenge Beckham once more.   Funnily enough Real and United meet in the Champions League quarter finals that year with the Spaniards emerging victorious, I can only assume they celebrated through cracking open a few Pepsis’.

4.  Nike 2004

Nike can pat them selves on the back for introducing Spanish into the vocabulary of English school children as following this advert pieces of skill across the country were accompanied by a shout of ole!  The ad sees Brazil taking on Portugal but as the players wait in the tunnel Luis Figo cheekily nutmegs Ronaldo and exclaims ole!  All hell  breaks lose with the likes of Denilson, Carlos, Quaresma and Ronaldinho attempting to bamboozle one with another with an array of tricks and flicks sound tracked by Perry Como’s ‘Pappa Loves Mambo’.  However the Tom foolery is brought to an abrupt end when the referee executes a crunching tackle on Ronaldinho and forces the game to begin.  There are two versions of the advert one featuring a cameo from Francesco Totti and the other featuring Ruud Van Nistelrooy.

3.  BBC Euro 2004

The most cultured of the adverts on this list, the BBC promoted the upcoming European Championships by portraying some of Europe’s finest footballers through the style of Europe’s finest artists.  For example we see a Picasso style Raul and Zidane and Henry in the style of the French masters (I won’t pretend to know enough about art to tell you exactly who they are!).  All of this is sound tracked by the haunting ‘Balcony Scence’ from Craig Armstrong (written for the 1996 film production of Romeo and Juliet) and never fails to send shivers down my spine.

2. Nike 1998

Released ahead of the 1998 World Cup this advert epitomises everything people love about Brazilian football.  Let’s face it who wouldn’t love to parade around an airport showing off your dribbling skills and mesmerising security guards?   The music is ‘Mas Que Nada’ by Tamba Trio and the samba sounds just make you long to be a Brazilian.

  1. Nike 2002

For me nothing can beat the ‘secret tournament’ of 2002 in which teams of three competed inside a steel cage.   No other advert contained as many star playerswith as many silky skills, although some of the teams did seemed a little bit mismatched. I mean let’s face it the team containing Fabio Cannavaro and Rio Ferdinand was never going to win a contest based on skill!  The eventual winners were ‘Triple Espresso’ which contained Totti, Henry and Hidetoshi Nakata.  The advert was so successful it even got Elvis back in the charts with the remix of ‘A Little Less Conversation’ topping charts across the globe.  The king of all football adverts?  Quite possibly.

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