The Six Best World Cup Ads

(As originally published in, June 25, 2014)

By Ben Brody

Sure, companies unleash a lot of money — and creativity (sometimes) — for Super Bowl ads. But it’s World Cup spots that get the eyeballs, at least on the web. Since April, viewers spent 1.2 billion minutes on YouTube watching World Cup ads, according to the video-sharing service. That’s about four times what they spent viewing Super Bowl ads this year. What’s everyone watching? These:

1. “Winner Stays,” Nike


With nearly 82 million views, this is one of this year’s most popular ads. It starts with two teams of regular guys challenging each other to a match, but as the game goes on, they transform into Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Neymar Jr. and other well-known players. Basketball star Kobe Bryant and the Incredible Hulk even make appearances. This 4-minute spoof is perfect for half-time or pre-game viral viewing.

2. “House Match,” Adidas


What would it be like if David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane took on Gareth Bale and Lucas Moura in a glass-smashing indoor game? This ad tells you.

3. “The Match Part 1,” Samsung


More Ronaldo, more Rooney, plus Lionel Messi and others — clearly individual players are the prized brands right now. In the 7-minute first part of this epic, the world’s best strikers go up against a group of rough-playing aliens. (The second part is forthcoming.) Our boys have a lot of motivation: The aliens will destroy Earth if they fail. But can they work as a team after a lifetime as rivals? It’s like a dramatic, CGI “Space Jam” for soccer.

4. “All-Time Greats,” Emirates


While flying Emirates, Cristiano Ronaldo (who else?) notices two men discussing the “legend” in their midst. But it may not be who we think.

5. “United in Rivalry,” Visa


In this multi-lingual ad, we learn that even Nobel Peace Prize laureates love a little trash talking when it’s on the soccer field and their home nation’s honor is at stake. Bonus: Morgan Freeman narrates the end.

6. “GOL!” McDonald’s


Kick a ball into a third-story window? Or into a moving basket? No sweat in this ad, where some seriously impressive soccer tricks are on display.

See the full story here: