Ranking the Top 10 Football Viral Ads of All Time

Pauly Kwestel@pkwestelWFAN Correspondent IJune 8, 2011

Ranking the Top 10 Football Viral Ads of All Time

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    In the world of sports no one seems to make better commercials then the world of football. It seems like every year Nike or Adidas are coming out with new football commercials that immediately go viral, and as fans, we absolutely love them.

    The commercials get stepped up even more when we're on the eve of a major summer tournament. Before the World Cup, ESPN will start playing commercials before the World Cup draw is even made in December!

    While some commercials are forgettable, others were so great that fans are still entertained by them even today. For some of them we could still even remember exactly what tournament they were trying to promote, even after all of these years.

    Here are the 10 of the greatest viral football commercials ever made.


    Disclaimer: I am aware that I am American, I grew up with American TV getting American commercials. I have seen some European adverts but mostly the ones in my mind aired in America. Therefore, this list will be skewed towards American commercials.

10. Nike Streaker Commerical (Nike Shox, 2003)

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    OK so this one isn't actually promoting soccer, but rather just some shoes that Nike is trying to sell, but this commercial is absolutely classic.

    A streaker comes running on in the middle of a footy match, and added together with the great commentary, this one never seems to get old.

9. United (ESPN, World Cup 2010)

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    ESPN released this ad in December 2009 to get fans excited for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Boy did it work.

    The ad featured U2 singer Bono giving a narrative about all the different problems and arguments going on in the world.

    The ad had one simple message; while there are plenty of things that the world disagrees about, for one month every four years the world puts aside their problems and enjoys this great soccer event together.

    Needless to say, I was never disappointed when this commercial came on.

8. Secret Tournament (Nike, 2002 World Cup)

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    Nike released this commercial as part of a whole secret tournament campaign prior to the 2002 World Cup.

    The ad featured 24 of the best players in the world. They were divided into eight three-player teams, competing in a 3 on 3 first goal wins tournament.

    The tournament was reffed by Manchester United legend Eric Cantona, and was played inside of a cage on a cargo boat.

    The star power on board for this commercial has made it a timeless classic.

7. Pepsi World Cup 2010 Commercial (Pepsi, 2010 World Cup)

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    Does it really get any better then this? Tierry Henry, Didier Drogba, Andrei Arshavin, Frank Lampard, and Lionel Messi show up in South Africa and all they want is a can of Pepsi.

    However, the kids in the village were not ready to just hand over the Pepsi, instead the worlds star would have to earn their drinks on the pitch.

    After Drogba asks the simple question, "where is the pitch?" the entire town shows up to form the boundaries of the pitch. When the match kicks off it seems all too easy for the football superstars, until they realize that the pitch is going to keep moving and make their job impossible.

    The South Africans keep moving the pitch to make life very difficult, and use all the tricks they have to steal a victory away from the superstars, though they are more then happy to share some Pepsi with their opponents after the game.

6. Ronaldinho R10 Crossbar (Nike, 2005)

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    While this commercial wasn't made to promote anything other then maybe some Nike boots, it became an Internet sensation immediately as fans wondered if it was fake, or if Ronaldinho really had the ability to hit the crossbar that many times in a row.

    Ronaldinho's popularity was sky high at the time of this commercial and Nike looked to capitalize on it with this video.

    To many fans disappoint though, this video turned out to be CGI-edited, but it still enjoyed quite some time of popularity.

5. Airport (Nike, 1998)

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    This commercial was released by Nike to promote the 2002 World Cup. It features the Brazilian National Team breaking out into a beautiful game of footy simply to pass the time waiting for their flight at the airport.

    Simple, elegant, awesome.

4. Take It the Next Level (Nike, Euro 2008)

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    Never before has one commercial done such a great job showing everything (OK, not everything, but a lot) of what goes in to being a professional footballer.

    The ad is shot through the eyes of a player, who starts out with a lower-level club. After having success he transfers to Arsenal, where after hard work he becomes a great player.

    Whenever there is failure, he goes back to work, and makes his way all the way up to the Dutch National team.

    The spot is filled with big-name cameos such as Arsene Wenger, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, just to name a few.

    This commercial has some of the best camera work ever, as they really take you inside the head of the unnamed player. Unfortunately, for this unnamed player, he'll likely never win anything playing for Arsenal and Holland.

3. Good vs. Evil (Nike, Euro96 1996)

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    Nike released this ad to help promote Euro '96. The ad featured a who's who of stars coming together to play a match against a team of zombies.

    The zombies took the early upper hand, but the world's stars rally to take the game back into their own hands.

2. Write the Future (Nike, World Cup 2010)

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    One of the absolutely greatest commercials ever to promote the game of soccer. Nike's Write the Future ad looked at the big "what if's" that come along with the World Cup.

    The ad explored tiny moments for each player, and what could happen from these outcomes. Wayne Rooney turns over the ball and suddenly becomes the most hated man in England.

    But after this crosses Rooney's mind, Rooney tracks back to steal the ball away and thus becomes knighted and one of the most loved men in England.

    The commercial continues to show how much of an impact what each player does in the World Cup could have on society, with the fear of failure hanging over them tremendously.

    The irony of course was that many of these players had underwhelming tournaments during the World Cup. Of course that didn't take anything away from the point of the commercial.

    When the moment is big, you have the chance to the Write the Future, what will you write?

1. Jose + 10 (Adidas, World Cup 2006)

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    One of the most classic and funniest ads to ever be created. The idea is as simple as they come, two boys are sitting around and decide to play a game of football.

    They play rocks paper scissors for who will get first pick and then they quickly begin picking from a who's who of current and former all stars with just one exception (seriously, Jermaine Defoe? What the hell is Jermaine Defoe doing on the field with these guys? I don't care if he ended up playing in goal, how did he even make it into the commercial?).

    The two kids pick their teams and begin barking out orders to the best players in the world. The teams line up for their 11 a side game, with Jose and his buddy somehow able to compete with them. The hilarity ensues when Jose sends Kaka to the bench for failing to score against Jermaine Defoe.

    The game goes on until the greatest moment in TV commercial history, when Jose's mom calls Jose back to the house for dinner. Just like the 10-year-old boy that he is, Jose simply takes the ball out of the hands of Oliver Kahn and walks home, ending the game for everyone.