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20 years of Nike’s World Cup ads

Nike has launched yet another brilliant advert for the World Cup but how does it compare to their previous efforts?

I’ve taken a look at Nike’s World Cup adverts over the last 10 years to investigate.

Interesting to see a certain Ian Wright figuring in 1994….yep, that’s right, we didn’t make it to the World Cup in the USA that year, thanks Graham Taylor!

Nike is once again not an official sponsor of the World Cup. Sponsoring events such as the World Cup and the Olympics is not its strategy, something which worked out well last time

The brand prefers to invest heavily in individuals such as Eric Cantona, Ronaldinho and Christiano Ronaldo. Adidas on the other hand do target big sporting events.

The adverts that Nike release fit perfectly into their strategy of encouraging aspirational motivations among their target audience.

But that’s enough analysis. That can wait for another blog post. Time to sit back and enjoy some true works of genius…

2014: Brazil 

Ok, so I’ll start with Nike’s latest advert that was launched at the end of April this year and is part of their “Risk Everything” campaign. The advert has been a phenomenal success with over 71 million views on YouTube since its release in late April.  

The advert shows the transformation of teenagers playing on a park pitch to global superstars playing in a huge stadium, which will no doubt appeal to Nike’s target market.

Nike is effectively showing the dreams of its target audience on screen. Look out for a nice cameo from another Nike athlete, Kobe Bryant.

Whisper this around anyone who works for Nike but it is very similar to Adidas’s advert for the Germany World Cup in 2006.

Nice touch with the Beckenbauer and Platini inclusions, and the comedic insult at Defoe’s expense: 

NB: Slightly eerie that a Frank Lampard goal against a German goalkeeper, Oliver Khan, was the subject of debate as to whether it crossed the line! We all remember what happened four years later right…?

2010: South Africa 

This is my favourite ever advert, not just by Nike, but by any company! The ‘Write The Future’ commercial showed the fine lines between success and failure and the exaggerated consequences of each.

It is simply brilliant and watch out for another cameo. This time it comes from Roger Federer who is playing table tennis against Wayne Rooney.  

2006: Germany 

In 2006 Nike launched the Joga Bonito marketing campaign. Joga bonito is Portugese for ‘play beautifully’ and it was Nike’s vendetta against all the ugly things in football such as bad tackles and negative tactics.

Joga TV was created which was hosted by Eric Cantona.  The link below is a compilation of the Nike’s Joga Bonito adverts. It might be best to watch this on your lunch break as it is 17:05 long but believe me, it is well and truly worth putting some time aside to watch it.

Enjoy video clips of Ronaldinho when he was kid, the original (and best!) Ronaldo destroying defences and Wayne Rooney playing in goal!

2002: South Korea & Japan

Do you remember Nike’s ‘The Secret Tournament’ advert? Once again Eric Cantona was the Master of Ceremonies, this time he’s hosting a 3 vs 3 tournament, involving the world’s greatest footballers.

The tournament was held on a boat where matches were played in a cage and it was ‘first goal wins’.  

Here’s an extended version of the advert showing more footage of the games: 

1998: France 

I think that anyone born before 1990 who likes football will know what I’m talking about when I say the words ‘Brazil team in airport’.

This advert, starring the Brazil national team, is arguably the most famous football commercial ever released. I don’t need to say anymore, just enjoy…

1994: USA 

Nike’s ‘The Wall’ advert was released to coincide with the World Cup in the US. It involves certain country’s star players being portrayed as huge moving billboards/posters on the side of buildings in their country’s capitals, Cantona is in Paris, Maldini in Milan, etc.

They pass the ball to one another across land and sea, eventually setting up a goal scoring chance for the brilliant Brazilian, Bebeto.

Nike was slightly unlucky with this advert as Eric Cantona and Ian Wright were involved but France and England (what do you expect with Carlton Palmer in your midfield!) did not qualify for the tournament.  

A little while ago I stumbled across this web page, created in 2010, which tells you what happened to the footballers involved in this advert:

Which advert is your favourite?

I hope that you enjoyed watching these classic adverts again as much as I did. In my opinion, 2010’s Write The Future ad is the best. What’s your favourite?

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