The Other Hand

Balanced commentary from an unbalanced mind.

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

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