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Nike Write the Future

Ads that hit the back of the net

BY Matt Williams

Say what you like about the BBC’s coverage (and plenty of people have), this Jubilee weekend featured a number of iconic TV moments, from the flotilla on the Thames to the Queen lighting the Jubilee beacon.

One programme screened by ITV1 on Saturday night may be forgotten a little more quickly though.

The Greatest Footie Ads Ever, broadcast in the dangerously prime-time slot of 9PM, counted down some of the best loved – and otherwise - football related commercials from recent years.

Fronted by Paddy McGuinness (whose Victor Chandler ad probably falls in the ‘otherwise’ category) the show certainly posed no threat to upstaging the Queen’s party on the other side, but it at least provided us with an excuse to moan about what was and wasn’t included.

The majority of the ads featured tended to fall in one of two categories – the gritty, jumpers-for-goalposts, proper-football-is-a-kickabout-with-your-mates-down-the-park scenarios, or the big, brash, lets-see-how-many-stars-we-can-cram-into-sixty-seconds spots.

Of the former, much of the focus was put on Nike’s ‘Parklife’ ad, shot on Hackney Marshes:

And the very funny ‘Ave it’ spot for John Smith’s featuring Peter Kay:

But we’d also add into this category the wonderful Carlsberg Old Lions commercial from a couple of years back:

As well as this beautiful ad for Umbro, that will touch the nerve of anyone that spent most of their childhood creating makeshift goalposts.

However as you’d expect, ITV leant towards the more blockbuster ads when it came to choosing their overall favourites.

And in fact, Nike were responsible for both of the top two. First up is one you’ll certainly still be familiar with – the Write the Future ad has been winning awards galore since it broke in 2010, including the Film Grand Prix at last year’s Cannes Lions.

The second spot – and overall winner – is a little older, but just as epic. It’s hard to argue against these type of celebrity-laden ads when they’re constructed this well.

But with Euro 2012 just round the corner, will any spots from this tournament be featuring when similar lists are compiled in the future?

Carlsberg’s effort is nice, if not as impactful as the Old Lions work (although that’s admittedly a very high bar):

While ITV’s own campaign is extremely striking:

But overall you have to say that we don’t feel as blown-away with new and exciting football-related campaigns as we have been ahead of previous tournaments.

Maybe this ties in with the cautious approach being taken by England fans this year. Or maybe advertisers are saving the real gems until the tournament is really in full swing. After the dull friendly against Belgium at the weekend, we can only hope that’s the approach being replicated by Roy Hodgson too.  


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