My favorite World Cup 2014 commercials

Nike World Cup 2014 ad
Football is not a sport that lends itself easily to commercial breaks.  The clock never stops, not for time outs, not even for injuries, and certainly not to switch from offensive to defensive to special teams.  Sponsors have to content themselves with signage on the field, on player jerseys, and on-screen placements beside the match score.  Fortunately, the payoff is enormous; the 2010 World Cup final was seen by over 1 billion people, so it's worth spending the time and money to create a memorable World Cup ad. With YouTube, Facebook, and social media, companies don't even have to buy ad time to get their message across. If an ad resonates, it will go viral.

Companies have been scrambling to take advantage of World Cup fever, with dozens of soccer-themed commercials airing since the beginning of June.  Even those who are not official sponsors of the World Cup have joined the bandwagon -- their ads don't mention the World Cup or show the official, FIFA World Cup logo, but their intent is clear.  As a soccer fan, I'm loving all of it!  Here's a list of my 5 favorite World Cup ads (so far), as well as a longer list of World Cup ads that are worth watching:

Nike Football: Winner Stays
This was the first of the big name, big budget World Cup ads to come out, and it really grabbed everyone's attention.  The star-studded commercial features Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Higuain, Eden Hazard, Gerard Pique, David Luis, Andres Iniesta, Mario Goetze, Andrea Pirlo, Hulk, and Tim Howard.  I love this ad because it combines humor with awesome football action.  What better way to get excited for the World Cup?

Nike: The Last Game
Just when you thought Nike had laid all its cards on the table, they came back with an even better commercial.  The Last Game features animated versions of Franck Ribery, Tim Howard, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Neymar, Andres Iniesta, Wayne Rooney, and David Luiz, playing an all-star match against a team of clones.  I love how these stars can poke fun at themselves -- we actually laughed out loud seeing Wayne Rooney as a fisherman, David Luis and Neymar as hairdressers, and Ronaldo as a store mannequin!

Another great reason I love The Last Game is that it introduced us to Animated Zlatan, who is just as arrogant and just as hilarious as the Jose Mourinho puppet in Special 1 TV.  He's so funny, Nike has even given him a spin-off series of short clips.  In these clips, we are treated to the sight of Animated Zlatan keeping himself busy by by referring to himself in the third person, being awesome, and dispensing his pearls of wisdom to fans via the #AskZlatan hashtag on Twitter and Facebook.

Pepsi: Futbol y Pepsi
It's difficult to say exactly why this commercial resonated with me.  Maybe it's the infectious music.  Maybe it's seeing Leo Messi do something as ordinary as munching on chips.  Maybe it's the cheeky old dude who's more impressed with potato chips than with Leo Messi.  Yeah, it's the old dude.

Coca-Cola: One World, One Game
Coca-Cola is great at making heartwarming ads with a global focus.  I loved how they showed people living in the most forsaken regions on earth, dealing with poverty, natural disasters, misogyny, prejudice, and how they manage to find joy and inspiration through football.  But what happened next was totally unexpected, and I was completely unprepared to find myself in tears.

Hyundai: Because Futbol -- Avoidance
I think this might be my absolute favorite World Cup commerical of all time.  It doesn't have catchy music, fancy footwork, beautiful scenery, or big name stars -- just one fan who shows everyone in an everyday, but real, way that the term "fan" really does come from "fanatic".  To understand why I love this commercial, look no further than my husband!

More World Cup 2014 commercials you should watch:
Pepsi: Now Is What You Make It (feat. Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, David Luiz, Jack Wilshere, Sergio Ramos, Janelle Monae, Robin van Persie)
Beats by Dr. Dre: The Game Before The Game (feat. Neymar, Chicarito, Robin van Persie, Daniel Sturridge, Mario Gotze, Bastien Schweinsteiger, Cesc Fabregas, Luis Suarez, Serena Williams, LeBron James, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Rio Ferdinand, Thierry Henry, Bacary Sagna, Jozy Altidore, Blaise Matuidi)
Adidas: Introducing the Battle Pack
Adidas: The Dream (All in or Nothing)
Degree: Now is Our Time (feat. Clint Dempsey)
DirecTV: Welcome to the World Cup (feat. Oliver Stone)
EA Sports: Always in the Game (feat. Landon Donovan)
ESPN: I Believe (feat. US MNT, Jon Hamm, Whoopi Goldberg, Ice Cube, Kevin Costner, Hope Solo, Abby Wambach)
ESPN: Ian Darke Calls a Date (feat. Ian Darke)
Gatorade: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo
Gatorade: Unreal Around the World
Hyundai: Because Futbol -- Boom
McDonald's: GOL!
Kia: Football vs. Futbal (feat. Adriana Lima)
Kia: Man Cave (feat. Adriana Lima)
T-Mobile: What if Soccer had Wireless Rules? (feat.. Shakira)
Volkswagen: Ole!
Volkswagen: Play-by-Play (feat. Andres Cantor)

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