In three weeks, this year’s biggest event will take place in South Africa, the football World Cup. It is hard not to get super psyched, especially when the commercials from the apparel makers are starting to roll.
As a kid I would spend the spring going to the sporting goods store back home at least five times per week just to look at the new football shoes, but even more when the run up towards a big championship kicked off. And the commericals! It was all we ever talked about. Showcasing all the stars doing cool stuff, the new shoes or the official championship ball. Good memories, all of it.
Even though I was an Adidas-kid, suitable for a defender like me, I have to say that Nike always had unbeatable production values. Plus, Eric Cantona was in almost all of them. Below, I am using this valuable blog space to show my favorite Nike football commercials, so that everyone can get into the World Cup-mood.
I think this was the one that started the whole deal with big production values and cameos with as many stars as possible at the same time, which makes this sort of a milestone. Swedish hero Tomas Brolin is featured and does a nice bicycle kick, which means that this clips is from around 1995, but noone is cooler than Eric Cantona.
This was probably the coolest thing I had seen at the age of 14. A task force of football players stealing a ball that is rounder from an army of ninja robots. Plus, the thing Edgar Davids does around 1:15 became the most important trick to learn for any aspiring football pro around 14 years old.
The first-person perspective follows the development of a faceless player as he progresses, all to the sounds of “Don’t speak” by Eagles of Death Metal, which was a great choice. People who watch a lot of football might wonder why Marco Materazzi would ever be a target player, but maybe he was too lazy to run back…
Perhaps not the best one, but this sort of established the rule that Brazilians should never be in football commercials. The guy hitting the post in the end is Ronaldo, not to be confused with Christiano Ronaldo from Portugal. In 1998, he was the biggest star by far. But a few hours before the big final, Ronaldo has an epileptic seizure, plays a shitty game and France wins. Four years later, Ronaldo was the big hero when Brazil won the final against Germany, but this time he wasn’t in any commercial before the championship. As reigning champions, Nike did another team commercial with Brazil for the WC 2006, but they failed to live up to the expectations this time.
Last but not least, the 2010 commercial. The Wayne Rooney part is my favorite, but it holds a high level throughout the whole 3 minutes. The Brazilian guy dribbling is Ronaldinho. To show further proof for the Brazilian Nike commercial curse, Ronaldinho was cut from the final World Cup roster and will have to watch it from home. When will they learn?
Ok, so those are some cool clips and all, but the point is that since 1994 and the time of the first of these commercials, Nike has gone from $45 million in football apparel sales to $1.7 billion (sources for then and now) . That is some ROI if I ever saw it.
Fredric Axelsson, who folds up his collar and says au revoir