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Brazil 2014: And the World Cup's best advert is...

By Tom Sweetman, for CNN
updated 3:59 PM EDT, Tue June 10, 2014
The World Cup is a perfect opportunity for advertising executives to get their creative heads in gear. But who has come up with the best ad? The World Cup is a perfect opportunity for advertising executives to get their creative heads in gear. But who has come up with the best ad?
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Mad Men and the World Cup
Mad Men and the World Cup
Mad Men and the World Cup
Mad Men and the World Cup
Mad Men and the World Cup
Mad Men and the World Cup
Mad Men and the World Cup
Mad Men and the World Cup
Mad Men and the World Cup
Mad Men and the World Cup
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Television screens filled with World Cup adverts
  • Advertisers keen to cash in given football is world's most popular sport
  • Marketing battle played out across digital as well as television

Join the World Cup conversation at CNN Facebook Pulse

(CNN) -- You might have heard the World Cup is about to start.

Turn on any television set in any country and it won't be long before you're being bombarded by a relentless stream of World Cup adverts as manufacturers seek to cash in on football's greatest sporting event, which is held every four years.

"There seems to be a new one every day, it's relentless," M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment CEO Steve Martin told CNN, reflecting on the advertising drive.

Advertisers go all out for the World Cup
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"It seems every time you turn on the TV there's a World Cup advert," added Martin. "It's called the World Cup for a reason and it tends to cut across all countries and all markets.

"The danger for a lot of brands jumping on the bandwagon is they're not part of it, but I think there's a very savvy audience now that knows who's jumping on the bandwagon and who isn't."

Cannavaro: Italy's World Cup hero

Here is CNN's guide to 10 World Cup-related adverts.

10. Adidas' $84 million advert replicates a Hollywood movie trailer with the likes of Argentina's Lionel Messi and Uruguay's Luis Suarez filmed in a range of locations from the Copacabana beach to a German forest.

Messi and co. are depicted preparing for the World Cup, before they eventually arrive in Brazil and take to the field for a game of football.

"I don't think the bigger companies (like Adidas) shy away from making more touching adverts (than just a game of football), but I just think because they are pure football brands, pure sports brands, they have to take an approach that falls in line with that, while doing so in an entertaining way," said Martin.

9. British broadcaster BBC's inspiration derives from Toy Story, with its short film showing four football figures -- one voiced by England great Gary Lineker -- escaping from a toy box and attempting to reach the World Cup in Brazil.

Divided into separate installments, the ad attempts to reawaken that little child in all of us that struggles to sleep at night due to the sheer anticipation and excitement as the greatest show on earth edges ever closer.

"There's nothing bigger than the World Cup, it transcends everything and all audiences," Martin says. "I think it's an opportunity for brands to be part of that conversation to get the very big audiences."

8. The majority of advertising campaigns look to please as many people as possible with the aim of convincing them that their brand is the be-all and end-all.

Puma, however, has gone for a more confrontational approach.

"El Fantasma del 50 ya esta en Brasil" -- "The 1950 Ghost is in Brazil" -- plays on the host's darkest sporting hour when they failed to win the 1950 World Cup, with Uruguay winning the event.

In less than a minute, a Uruguayan ghost manages to frighten half of Rio de Janeiro, and in the process adds further fuel to an already heated rivalry.

Strong stuff, but has Puma succeeded in alienating Brazil's 200 million inhabitants?

7. Supporters adore their players and the players themselves have a mutual love for their fans -- or so we are led to believe.

ING Belgium's three-minute film depicts the Red Devils' squad messing about -- think Eden Hazard on triangle and Kevin Mirallas on cowbells -- and generally having a whale of a time with their fans.

The advert's payoff comes in the shape of Mousa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen playing a practical joke on Vincent Kompany.

6. Conjured up on a similarly-grand scale to the Adidas offering, Nike treats us to a game of football played out by a bunch of very good players. Sound familiar?

The match starts off as a kickabout between friends, before morphing into the more familiar game taking place in front of thousands of screaming fans.

Cristiano Ronaldo's girlfriend and the Incredible Hulk are on hand to inject some humor.

"It's become this great on-pitch battle, the battle of the brands around the World Cup and everybody looks forward to it from a brand perspective," said Martin.

"It's really interesting territory as everybody almost can't wait to see what's around the corner from all the brands." said Martin.

5. The beautiful thing about the beautiful game is that it can be played by anyone, anywhere, as long of course, you have a ball.

Fast food company McDonald's has picked up the theme for its World Cup offering, showing -- in various locations around the world -- people from all walks of life presenting their footballing tricks to the camera.

So rather than allowing the usual big-name players to take all the glory, we have the likes of a young boy, an old man and a woman in high heels playing the starring roles.

What's more, there's not a single Big Mac in sight.

4. Nike and Adidas may battle it out each year for the title of who can produce the biggest football advert on the grandest of scales, but they now have a new challenger -- Beats by Dre.

You could be forgiven for thinking you had stumbled upon a Brazilian cinematic thriller as this advert -- entitled "The Game Before The Game"-- gets underway.

Brazil star Neymar's father opens proceedings by handing down some advice to his son on the eve of the World Cup, while we are treated to some jaw-dropping shots of Rio de Janeiro.

With the big kickoff fast approaching, players and fans alike are shown preparing in a brooding film that suggests half the battle of a football match is won in the head.

"You expect it from the big brands, but I think we're going to see some more clever and more imaginative work coming out over the next few weeks," said Martin. "More and more companies are now getting involved."

3. Chilean beer Cristal goes for the horror genre in its advertising campaign.

With Chile up against it in Brazil 2014's "Group of Death" -- also featuring Spain, Netherlands and Australia -- Cristal tries to offer the nation a helping hand.

Over three different adverts, an opposing supporter is given the creeps in the comforts of their own homes, before the slogan "Chile is scary" appears.

Assuming that Chile will advance to the knockout stages, a fourth advert has been created, with fans of such nations from England to Japan the next to be started up.

2. Mobile phone company Movistar goes one step further than ING Belgium in attempting to break down that barrier between players and supporters.

Will Spain repeat World Cup victory?

Spain stars Xabi Alonso, Andres Iniesta, Santi Cazorla, Pepe Reina and Juanfran are all given a makeover to disguise themselves before they go off to work with ordinary people in a range of differing professions.

Pele and Neymar back Brazil for victory
Neymar (Brazil): One of the youngest players for the host team has a nice resume, including a stint with Real Madrid's youth team before signing his first professional contract at 17. Despite a mediocre debut this past season with powerhouse Barcelona, the 22-year-old has 31 goals in 48 appearances for Brazil and was controversially left off the 2010 World Cup team. Expect him to find the net, especially when you consider his wildly talented supporting cast. Neymar (Brazil): One of the youngest players for the host team has a nice resume, including a stint with Real Madrid's youth team before signing his first professional contract at 17. Despite a mediocre debut this past season with powerhouse Barcelona, the 22-year-old has 31 goals in 48 appearances for Brazil and was controversially left off the 2010 World Cup team. Expect him to find the net, especially when you consider his wildly talented supporting cast.
32 players to watch during the World Cup
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32 players to watch during the World Cup 32 players to watch during the World Cup

We see Iniesta working in a restaurant kitchen, Alonso helping out at a hospital and Santi Cazorla working as a gardener in a film made as a tribute to the population of Spain.

Backed with the motto "we will make an effort for you," Real Madrid's Alonso touchingly shaves an aging man in hospital.

"I like the idea a lot, and it's a clear example of getting it spot-on," said Martin.

"You can get it spot on like this one, or it can easily be a hit-and-miss. The ones that are more creative and have a bit more of a storyline to them are more real."

1. The miners of the 2010 Copiapo mining accident are Banco de Chile's inspiration for its offering as "Los 32" -- a member of the original "Los 33" was actually Bolivian -- rally the troops ahead of the World Cup.

Miners' spokesman Mario Sepulveda offers a rousing call to arms and urges his compatriots not to fear Chile's "Group of Death."

Pathos is added with images of the miners' time trapped underground and their eventual rescue, not to mention an epic soundtrack and setting.

"You've got to be smart, you've got to be creative and you've got to be able to tap into people's passions in a credible way (when making an advert), as opposed to just throwing ideas and content out there which can turn you off very quickly," said Martin.

"But do it right and you can make people buy into it and make them feel very emotional about the content that they've seen, like this advert does.

"What's nice about the Chilean advert is it adds real emotion and a human touch to things that aren't fantasy land, while it remains pretty grounded. And as a result it gives you goose pimples when you watch it."

Read more in our Flipboard World Cup Glories magazine

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