The Other Hand

Balanced commentary from an unbalanced mind.

Archive for June 2010

The Nike curse

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the “cursed” Nike ad. First, the “Write The Future” ad:

The Guardian has a good rundown of the results. Of the 13 superstars shown in the ad, only three are still in the tournament (the three from Spain) — and they’re only shown very briefly. Of the others, four went out in the first elimination game (including Ronaldo and Rooney), four went out in the group stage (including Drogba, Cannavaro, and RibĂ©ry), and two weren’t even picked for their teams — including Ronaldino. Those six are the main players featured in the ad, and none of them had a terribly good World Cup. Only Christiano Ronaldo got a goal, and he only got one.

So yeah, the ad is cursed! The sad thing is that it’s a very good soccer ad. Nike Football is very good at their advertising: they make ads that actually show soccer, and make it exciting. The ad has some great soccer action, and the Rooney feature shows him redeeming himself by tracking back to tackle Ribéry. That’s pretty interesting — it makes the assumption that fans will appreciate the finer points of soccer.

Compare the Nike ad to the Adidas material: The Quest and Star Wars Cantina. The former is very artsy; it looks like soccer imagined by the Wachowski brothers. But the soccer action is pretty incomprehensible. The latter is funny enough, but it’s barely even about soccer. (Star Wars? Daft Punk? Snoop Dog?) I can’t say if they’re effective ads or not; maybe they’re even better for the US. (Though the brand identification seems really low to me.) But they’re definitely not good soccer ads.

No, let’s give Nike credit. They get soccer. Here’s another one of their ads, “Take It To The Next Level,” from a couple years ago. I may be biased, because it features Arsenal. But it’s a damn good (and creative) look at soccer. And I like it even more because it shows the “hero” (who’s not actually shown) getting beat, more than once. You get a message that soccer is really hard, and requires a lot of work to be good. That’s pretty cool.

Written by cisko

30 June 2010 at 06:32

Posted in soccer

SA2010: Group A and B scenarios

OK, here we go: the final games for the group stages start this morning. Now we find out who moves forward and who goes home.

First, a note about positions. In the knockout stages, the groups are paired up: A & B, C & D, and so on. The #1 team from Group A plays the #2 team from Group B, and vice versa. So today we’ll not only find out who advances, but set the first two games of the knockout stage. (Both games will be played Saturday 26 June.)
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Written by cisko

22 June 2010 at 06:18

Posted in soccer

SA2010: Sorting out the teams

You can’t enjoy a tournament unless you know who the favorites are. If you just see two teams banging around on the field with the score all even, well, you have no context. But if you realize one is an overwhelming favorite… and the other is a complete minnow… then you realize you might have an upset on your hands. Storyline!

So here is a quick guide to the teams involved:
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Written by cisko

8 June 2010 at 08:10

Posted in soccer

SA2010: How the Groups Work

I thought it might be fun to blog about the World Cup. It’s a monster! You’ve got a month of high-pressure soccer matches. But if you’re new to the tournament, it’s not always clear how it works. So I thought I’d start by explaining the Group Play phase, which goes on for the first two weeks..

The World Cup Finals has 32 teams playing for the overall championship. But, unlike March Madness, the World Cup finals begin with Group Play. The 32 teams are divided into 8 groups of four teams. Each team plays the other three teams in its group, and the top two teams from each group move on to the Knockout Phase. So it’s like 8 mini-leagues, all playing for the right to advance.
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Written by cisko

7 June 2010 at 08:13

Posted in soccer