I'm learning a great deal about soccer from World Cup ads. In an ESPN ad promoting its World Cup coverage, I learned how important the number 10 is for players and fans alike. "Power of 10" explains how the number is reserved for the best player, team leader and person most likely to be remembered years to come. "Wear it well and an entire nation will wear it with you," ends the ad, seen here. "Passion" takes a light-hearted look at the enthusiasm exuded by World Cup fans. Their passion is so great, it results in a new generation of fans who come screaming into the world nine months later. Watch it here. In addition to the TV ads, South African artist collective AM I created 33 pieces of artwork, one for each participating country and one featuring all 32 teams en route to South Africa. Murals are inspired by hand-painted African signage and movie posters found in South Africa. Each ad illustrates a country's back-story and includes hidden "Easter eggs." I've included six this week, with more to come in the upcoming weeks. Here's a look at Brazil, Italy, Ivory Coast, Spain, Netherlands and USA. Wieden+Kennedy New York created the campaign.
Another tidbit I learned: England's soccer team is similar to my New York Mets. Both haven't won a championship in years. They look good on paper, yet can't take it all the way. Carlsberg created "Team Talk," an imaginary look inside England's locker room, if Carlsberg was giving the pep talks. England's athletic royalty aligns to cheer the players as they make their way to the field. The "royals" includes boxer Nigel Benn, World Cup winners Jack Charlton and Stuart Pearce, world darts champion Phil Taylor and yachtswoman Dame Ellen McArthur, among many others. There's even a touching second of silence in the ad when the players pass below a painting of the late coach and player, Sir Bobby Robson. "Enough talk. Time for action. We haven't come here to be tourists. Men of England, it's time to join the immortals," closes the ad, seen here. Saatchi & Saatchi, London created the ad, directed by Labbe of RSA Films.
The BBC launched a colorful TV spot to promote its coverage of the World Cup. How can this ad not get you excited? Each color of the rainbow is illustrated in distinctive ways. Red is depicted with a sunrise and scenes of an animal through night vision; then there's orange stadium seats and soccer jerseys; a yellow Volkswagen bug and sunset; elephants swimming in green water; a shark in blue water; and purple flowers and fireworks. "The World Cup from the rainbow nation," says the copy, surrounded by the colors uniting. See the ad here, created by RKCR Y&R and produced by Digital Kitchen.
When I first saw a picture of the Sony Dash, I thought it was competition for the iPad, but it seems more like a pricey alarm clock that allows you to check Facebook, use Pandora and check live traffic and weather before you get out of bed. The spokesman in a TV ad is none other than the sun, an expert on morning-related things. Mr. Sun pays a visit to the Sony Innovation Center. He's bright and yellow, and clearly wearing a flame-retardant suit. He is a touchy-feely kind of star, which is fine for those he contacts, as long as a fire extinguisher is nearby. Watch the ad here, created by 180 Los Angeles.
Nike Basketball launched "All Together," supporting Kobe Bryant's pursuit of a fifth NBA championship. Andre 3000 performs "All Together Now" while vintage footage of Kobe Bryant, Scottie Pippen, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Phil Jackson, John Stockton, LeBron James, Reggie Miller and Spike Lee, among others, is played. There's plenty of current Bryant and James footage, but I prefer the classic basketball footage, with most snippets displayed on old-school TV sets. The spot ends with a TV set flashing, "Just do it," and then going static. See the ad here, created by Wieden + Kennedy Portland.
It's hard not to get choked up watching "No Words," a TV spot promoting the NHL playoffs. Grown men choke back tears and lack words to describe the emotions they feel at winning the Stanley Cup. It's simple, shows a great collage of past hockey players fulfilling their dreams, and proves that not all ads have to be heavy with copy to be heavy with emotion. Watch the ad here, created by Young & Rubicam New York.
Like hockey, live in a cold climate and yearn to have an ice rink nearby? Say hello to pond hockey. Honda launched "Outdoor Rink," running throughout the NHL playoffs and touting Honda's sponsorship of the NHL. Former NHL players Pat LaFontaine, Mike Richter and Neal Broten participate in building an outdoor rink and enjoying it with countless neighboring families. The Pilot, Ridgeline and Crosstour are prominently featured in the ad, seen here. RPA created the campaign and handled the media buy.
Random iPhone App of the week: Weight Watchers updated its weight loss app, allowing online and eTools subscribers to access recipes, articles, create shopping lists and read success stories. Users can also find meeting times and locations, track their daily POINTS values and calculate POINTS values of items while shopping or eating out. The app is available for free in the App Store.