The Greatest World Cup Ads Ever
A topless Maradona, a 13-year-old Scott Parker and a lot of silky keepy-ups
With the World Cup set to kick off in less than two months, Nike have released their latest star-studded advert, titled ‘The Last Game’.
This time Neymar, Ronaldo, Rooney and Co star as cartoon versions of themselves, tasked with over-throwing footballing clones after an evil scientist decides to eliminate the element of risk from the beautiful game.
It is the latest in a long tradition of brands ‘going big’ for the greatest sporting tournament on earth, when half-time breaks are elevated to almost Ecuador vs Ukraine levels of excitement.
Here we trace the history of the World Cup ad, from a topless Maradona to a 13-year-old Scott Parker via a lot of silky keepy-ups.
1 | Nike Football – ‘Winner Stays’ – 2014 World Cup
A kick about in the park turns into a grudge match featuring the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Ibrahimovic. Oh, and the Hulk.
Featuring some of England’s greatest ever names, this Carlsberg ad stars Peter Shilton, Stuart Pearce and Bobby Robson showing a group of Sunday leaguers how to play. Unsurprising really, seeing as the team has 796 international caps between them.
Perhaps the most horrifying football ad of all time, this World Cup ‘96 effort from Nike is also eerily accurate in foretelling some of the competition’s future scandals. See if you can spot early incarnations of de Jong’s karate kick and Zidane’s head-butt.
Apparently only treatable through the application of a treacle-esque-ointment, this ad from Adidas has the likes of Barthez, Beckham and Del Piero showing us that professional footballers seemingly have problems understanding where the beautiful game finishes and everyday life begins.
5 | Nike – ‘Airport Football’ – 1998 World Cup
In true Brazilian style, here we have the 1998 World Cup runners up showing off against a group of burly airport security staff. If only they could have discovered some of that magic in their doomed final against France.
6 | Pepsi – ‘Oktoberfest’ – 2006 World Cup
In one of the more unusual World Cup ads, Pepsi have Henry, Roberto Carlos and Beckham facing off against a group of lederhosen clad Germans. All before we get to see Lampard try his hand at Schuhplattler, a traditional Bavarian dance.
To mark Argentina legend Maradona’s first World Cup, Coca Cola decided to launch this unusual ad. We’re not entirely sure what’s going on, but it features a young fan harassing a topless Maradona (pre-beer belly era, of course).
8 | Castrol – ‘Footkhana’ – 2014 World Cup
If you’ve ever wondered how Brazil forward Neymar compares to a supped up hatchback, this ad is the one for you.
During the build up to England’s infamous game against USA, Dodge released this rather ‘Dodge-y’ ad for their Challenger, featuring George Washington driving a muscle car.
What appears to be an amalgamation of Fight Club and WWE, this ad from Nike features the world’s biggest stars battling it out in a winner takes all game of cage football – all overseen by a cackling, Bond villain esque Eric Cantona.
11 | McDonald’s – ‘Practice Makes Perfect’ – 1994 World Cup
With 13-year-old Scott Parker being the star of the show, this McDonalds ad from 1994 features the Fulham man showing off his keepy up skills before dipping out for a Big Mac.