Football commercials during the age of social media.
In the last of our “best football commercials” series, we look to the modern age of ads. The brands started on this journey in the early 90s before perfecting their craft with longer form cinematic experiences in the 2000s.
While I felt that the 2000s were the golden era for football commercials, brands scaled down their blockbuster efforts to fit into the era of social media with shorter, snappier content made for mobile in the 2010s. We didn’t get too many larger than life stories as per the 2000s, but this era was still full of gems.
adidas – There Will Be Haters
With Nike dominating the 2000s, I felt that adidas were really smart to not challenge Nike on their own game purely because, the game changed in the 2010s. It was all about shorter, shareable content and adidas wanted to capitalize the market through such content. The 2010s was gonna be adidas’ time and this video marked its announcement.
“There Will Be Haters” is a campaign for a boot colourway launch. It may seem excessive but it was more than just a colourway promotion – it was an anthem to be more focused on entertainment and fun for the social media generation.
The lead campaign video (above) was catchy but what really caught the attention were smaller snippets of this video making its way into social media to remind you of the message. Friends even asked me about the “There Will Be Haters” boot instead of calling it the adidas F50. Now that is influence.
Puma – evoPower
Puma has never gone big on marketing but this changed it all. The Puma evoPower 1 was a game-changer for Puma and also happens to be one of my favourite boots of all time.
Puma needed to make sure people took notice and boy did they. This video had the big guns out – Cesc Fabregas, Marco Reus, Mario Balotelli and Thierry Henry. It was a very entertaining video which showed the evoPower as the Chuck Norris of football boots. Everyone wanted a pair and this video helped Puma move up a gear to compete with the likes of Nike and adidas.
Nike – Winner Stays
Despite scaling down their commercial efforts for the big football tournaments in recent years, Nike showed they still had the chops to make an impact and “Winner Stays On” is one of their best in the last 10 years.
It’s a battle royale of who’s who in football as they primed up for World Cup 2014 and the big reveal of their Flyknit boots – the Nike Magista and Superfly 4. It captured the playful nature of the brand alongside all their leading faces, including a certain Bruce Banner, which showed their ability to stay connected to the pulse of what’s hot in pop culture.
adidas – Boss Everyone
Not so much a blockbuster extravaganza but a series of very short clips that proved to be infectious, fun and also very effective in promoting adidas’ marquee product – the adidas Ace Purecontrol. This was the boot that sealed adidas’ dominance in the laceless football boot category.
The video featured adidas stars doing outrageous stunts with their magic green Aces. It ranged from the probable (TheF2 looping the ball over a fence) to the mad (Oscar placing the ball in the mannequin with a strike). It was fun, catchy and it was great to see so many varieties of videos for a single campaign.
Nike – Dream Further
The Women’s World Cup hit fever pitch in 2019 and Nike were really smart to capture the growing popularity of the women’s game by sponsoring the majority of teams and players on show.
5 years after “Winners Stays On”, they pulled out this video that inspired a new generation of girls to play the beautiful game. I loved that this video got the top production value it deserved and showed a wide spectrum of races to show football at its inclusive best.
adidas – The Predator Returns
The 2010s are all about big statements and adidas made a huge one with the return of the Predator. After discontinuing it in the early 2010s, it made a return a few years later after the successful experiment of the Ace. The Predator 18 looked mean with its futuristic ribbed design and it was time for adidas to show off their latest innovation.
The video was a slick number featuring a true commercial star in Pogba who saunters through the streets and infusing everyone with swag as he passes by them. But it’s the minor details in this video that stood out for me. The monochrome look with red, white and black sticking out is a nod to the classic Predator colourway while we see tributes to Zidane and Del Piero, true icons of the Predator line.
It’s a great way to announce a return to greatness for Predator and the boot silo has gone from strength to strength since.
adidas – Arsenal kit launch 19/20
Never have I seen football fans get so hyped up for a kit launch. Arsenal fans have been thoroughly unimpressed with their few years with Puma and were chomping at the bit for a change. Leaks of this video of the Arsenal 2019/20 home kit came out a few days before the official announcement and Arsenal fans went into meltdown.
The video was very tastefully done, managing to capture the spirit of North London while also giving a nod to its international community and rich past. It never hurts to have Ian Wright by your side with cameos from superstar Idris Elba and adidas mega-influencer, Jeremy Lynch from The F2. The accents were a lovely touch, especially from Bellerin at the end with his Spanish/Cockney accent.
Everything about Arsenal’s blend of local heart and international relevance, encapsulated in those few seconds.
Nike – Awaken the Phantom
And now, to my favourite of the bunch. Nike’s last big cinematic video was in 2014 and when this promo dropped for the Nike PhantomVSN, it felt like an eternity since the last big video and I lapped this up with the enthusiasm of a 5 year old eating ice-cream.
Everything about this Hollywood-level production was really cool from the “story” of the Phantom to the bass-laden soundtrack (it’s Genesis by Justice, if you’re wondering). Awaken the Phantom is also the best launch video for a new football boot by a mile. If you weren’t convinced to even try on this PhantomVSN after the video, I’d have to wonder if you had a pulse on you.
It’s a shame that the PhantomVSN hasn’t been the commercial success that it should have considering how good a boot it is. But even as we’re seeing the last days of the PhantomVSN line as it’s rumoured to phased out soon, we can always look back upon this video as one of the greats of the 2010s.
Did we miss any football commercials from the 2010s? Let us know in the comments below.