Am I in love with ESPN, W+K and Am I Collective?

31 Oct

I feel like I lot of what I do on hear is rave about Nike ads and the agency, Wieden + Kenedy, so forgive me for bringing them up again, but Advertising Age critic Ann-Christine Diaz has a great critique on ESPN’s ad campaign for its World Cup coverage called “One Game Changes Everything.”

The most powerful of the series is an ad called “Robben Island,” about the formation of a soccer league for political prisoners on Robben Island during apartheid. Diaz writes:

Directed by Park Pictures’ Lance Acord, the spot set the tone for the rest of the work to follow. Bold and big, it celebrates the history of the sport and the global immensity of the event. It also seeks to preserve the authenticity of the soccer experience for passionate fans. “The World Cup being once every four years, the biggest tournament in the world, the campaign needed to match the epicness of it,” says W+K, N.Y. copywriter Nick Sonderup. Moreover, lessons learned from the network’s 2006 World Cup experience factored into the equation. “I think they got criticized for not covering it the best they could have covered it,” says account director Ken Fineo. “A lot of people ended up watching Univision’s coverage even though they didn’t speak Spanish because the coverage seemed more authentic. So this campaign had to be authentic and show the bigness, but do so in a very authentic way that doesn’t alienate soccer fans.” Continue reading


Yes, Nutella really is that good

31 Oct

Early this year confectionery maker Ferror sported two commercials in Germany featuring members of the national squad (and one who didn’t make the cut) and Europe’s greatest export: Nutella. I have to agree with the ad, if winning the World Cup had to be compared to a flavor it would be that of the delicious, sweet, sweet, sweet, chocolaty, nutty Nutella. Continue reading

Sicko soccer illos

28 Oct

I found this series of T-shirt designers by SHORT, a French graphic designer and illustrator, while browsing Behance Network. They are done in the Ed Roth, Jim Phillips style of gnarly, grotesque illustration. Well done at that. Hit the jump to see more. Continue reading

Worthy goal: Lace up save lives

27 Oct

As the world’s most popular sport, it is easy to see why you would use it to fight a worldwide disease: HIV/AIDS. Or as Nike puts it, you use a common love to combat a common enemy. On Nov. 30, 2009, Nike and Product (RED) launched the Nike (RED) Lace Up Save Lives campaign. For $4 you can purchase a pair of red shoelaces that you can put in your favorite pair of shoes from soccer cleats to Nike Dunks or even — dare I say it? — a pair of Pumas or Adidas. According to Nike, here’s how it works:

  1. 1. You purchase (NIKE)RED laces.
  2. 2. Nike is contributing 100% of its profits from the sale to the Global Fund and to soccer-based programs that help fight AIDS in Africa.
  3. 3. Funds are received by programs like Grassroots Soccer, which uses football as a framework to teach youths how to avoid contracting HIV/AIDS.
  4. 4. Funds are also contributed to The Global Fund to fund HIV/AIDS programs that support the purchase of lifesaving Antiretroviral (ARV) medication, training of medical staff, HIV testing and treatment to help prevent the transmission of the virus from pregnant mothers to their babies.
  5. 5. Life-saving knowledge is received by the next generation in Africa. Continue reading

Farewell, Paul the Psychic Octopus

26 Oct

In stunning news the shocked both soccer and cephalopod fans alike, Paul the Psychic Octopus, the octopus who correctly predicted eight World Cup matches died peacefully in his sleep. How do octopuses sleep if they don’t have eyelids you ask? According to

When octopuses in captivity need sleep, they slump into corners of their tanks and catch a few winks by narrowing their pupils. Their bodies turn whitish in color and their breathing slows down. In experiments, octopuses that are kept awake end up needing more rest later on, which shows how important it is that they get enough shut-eye. Continue reading

Pepsi refreshes Africa

26 Oct

Oh Pepsi. I’m sorry to say I prefer Coca-Cola when I want a cola, but I still really enjoyed your “Oh Africa” commercial you aired during the World Cup.

In an attempt to ambush official sponsor Coca-Cola, Pepsi began airing its “Oh Africa” commercials and campaign in early March. According to Advertising Age, the video had more than 1 million views for the first several weeks it was up. The ad features world-class athletes Didier Drogba, Thierry Henry, Lionel Messi, Andrei Arshavin and Frank Lampard playing some local African kids in a game of soccer. Unfortunately for the all stars, the kids have a serious home field advantage. Continue reading

“Open Happiness,” open goal

24 Oct

Like the other official sponsors of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Coca-Cola had to fight off attempts from rival soda manufacturer Pepsi. Coca-Cola’s campaign consisted of three television spots/online videos, an interactive website and a world tour of the World Cup trophy. Oh, and Coca-Cola is responsible for commissioning the official song “Wavin’ Flag” by Somali-born hip-hop artist K’naan. Thanks for getting that incredibly annoying song stuck in my head all summer long, Coke. Coca-Cola had the good sense to get started early and played less catch-up than Adidas did with Nike. The World Cup campaign launched on May 15 during England’s FA Cup final between Chelsea and Portsmouth. Continue reading

Watching “We Are Eleven”

23 Oct

Obviously, knowing your audience is a huge part of any communications strategy. You need to know what they are watching, reading, listening to, playing, eating, etc. In the case of athletes, sports fans or gamers, psychographics is going to be key. But once you understand your audience, how do you let them know that you understand? By being authentic. Continue reading

Jersey types

21 Oct

Typography is my favorite part of design and is probably the reason I fell in love with magazines as a teenager which led me to journalism and now to advertising. Like a lot of people, I didn’t really understand the power a typeface has in determining your reactions to communication, media and products, but I did like the way type and images collided to tell stories. What intrigues me about typography is how different typefaces change the meaning of a word or sentence. It’s not always what you say but how you say it that is key.

This summer during World Cup 2010, I came across these two Q&As by Yves Peters on Font Feed with the designers of the fonts used by Puma and Adidas for their jerseys this year. Continue reading

Brick-by-brick play-by-plays

20 Oct

I love LEGO. There are also lots of awesome people out there who do awesome things with LEGO. Like these brilliant recreations of World Cup matches. The reactions of the LEGO version of English keeper Robert Green to Clint Dempsey’s fluke of a goal are fantastic. USA’s loss to Ghana in the Round of 16 is still just as brutal to watch, despite LEGO cuteness Continue reading