The World Cup and advertising have gone hand-in-hand for decades. Big football money equals big ad spend and, coincidently, the sporting spectacular also happens to take place slap-bang in the middle of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.
The celebration of advertising, marketing and “the beautiful game” got me thinking: how did previous winners of the World Cup shape up at Cannes in the year they were triumphant?
(Sadly I have to confess my big tip for this year, the USA, have already been eliminated – but hey, being Scottish, what do I know about football anyway?)
Italy 2006 – Indesit
Ah Italy – land of great food, great clothes and overenthusiastic hand gestures. I would have expected 2006’s winners to deliver something with a high-level of glamour and a bit of pizzazz – or should that be pizza – back in the day.
This advert for Indesit’s washing machines, however, is probably the polar opposite of “La Bella Vita”. We have an ethereal underwater world created through a collection of garments. Clearly, it gets the point home that an Indesit machine is a thing of beauty but it lacked the bravura performance of Italy’s 2006 World Cup final performance, even though it did pick up a gold Lion at the time. It’s not bad per se; it’s just a bit wishy-washy for my taste – a bit like their team in Brazil this year.
Spain 2010 – Campofrio Finissimas Thin Sliced Meats
Now from sunny Spain, an exercise in what happens when a firmly local brand tries to go global. While I give them kudos for trying to come up with something original rather than going down the dodgily dubbed ad route, I am not convinced that this “comic” robot shtick is good enough to sell speciality meat. I don’t think it represents what it is selling – quite a big issue for an ad, and it lacks any engaging humour. Watching this feels a bit like watching Spain being trashed 5-1 by the Netherlands again – not an experience our Iberian friends must relish. Mind you, it did pick up a bronze Lion at the time.
USA 2014 (knocked out in the round of 16) – Coke
So this year I was really hoping the USA were going to go all the way. Why? Well, while they received plenty of plaudits on the pitch – with goalkeeper Tim Howard breaking all records – one of the most American of brands Coke are winners already, as they yet again pulled it out of the bag at Cannes this year.
Part of their ongoing “Hello Happiness” campaign, this ad sends out a message of common humanity and togetherness which chimes well with the inclusiveness of the World Cup. It’s not even that cloying or sentimental. It may not be in English (though there are certainly Anglophone versions) but it does represent Coke as a global brand that connects with a vast number of people. Shame their team didn’t get through at the World Cup, but hey, guess I was the kiss of death for the good old US of A after all.
Mike Cavers is executive creative director at DST Global Insight Group (The GIG at DST)
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