The World Cup kicks off this week and you know that means one thing: tons of Americans pretending they actually care about futbol. But it also means great World Cup commercials, and Nike does not disappoint this year with an animated short called “The Last Game.”
The story is as old as time: genetic scientist wants to take the risk and flavor out of world-beloved sport by replacing soccer greats like Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Neymar Júnior, and others with soulless clones. And it works; the clones are too strong for the fan faves, setting up a World Cup as gray and joyless as the futbol fakes’ uniforms. That is, until the band gets back together for one more go at breathing life into the beautiful game, all while sporting their fresh Nike gear, of course.
There’s also just the great visual of a dejected Zlatan Ibrahimovic shilling for a book about Zlatan Ibrahimovich.
“I am Zlatan! Hey, look, is Zlatan! I was Zlatan.”
Also, you know, Wayne Rooney reduced to hauling massive fish on the docks. Because that’s what would happen.
Nike’s most epic commercials are typically reserved for soccer as the sport is like a religion throughout most of the world. And the most epic of epic Nike commercials are reserved for the World Cup, which is like the Easter, Christmas, and the Feast of Samhain for that religion. The biggest shoemaker in the world usually spares no expense, and this year’s computer-animated visual feast is no exception.
Nike has actually had some competition for the Best World Cup Commercial crown this year. Just last week, Beats Audio took some time out from playing with their new free iPads to release their own mini-feature commercial, which was pretty freakin’ awesome in itself.
Comparing Beats’ epic with Nike’s epic is apples and oranges, really. Nike’s ad is the sort of rollicking, fast-paced, cartoonish take on the World Cup that will color your memories of the biggest sporting event in the world. Beats’ spot is an intense ride that builds gradually to a fever pitch by way of curses, sex, praying, kissing, and Lebron cameos. Both get their products and brands featured adequately, but go about it in different ways.
‘The Last Game’ continues in a line that Nike’s been pushing for a while with the stars featured in the spot. The “Risk Everything” tagline has been featured in previous ads with Cristiano Ronaldo and a number of other futbol stars.