The Best, Funniest and Strangest Commercials for the 2012 European Soccer Championships
BERLIN – The European Soccer Championships run June 8 - July 1 in Poland and the Ukraine. The pan-European tournament is, after the World Cup and Summer Olympics, the world’s third-largest sporting event. A cumulative audience of nearly 5 billion viewers is expected to tune in for Euro 2012 through to the final July 1.
For advertisers, that captive audience is the equivalent of a month of Superbowl Sundays. Some of the world’s biggest brands have rolled out soccer-related ads to capitalize on Europe’s footie frenzy. Here’s The Hollywood Reporter’s personal favorites: the good, the awful and the downright bizarre ads for Euro 2012.
NIKE: My Time is Now
First the best. Nike isn’t an official sponsor of Euro 2012 but that hasn’t stopped the sneaker giant from pulling out all the stops for its new My Time Is Now spot. The slick ad features a who’s who of Euro soccer stars, including Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Wesley Sneijder of the Netherlands and France’s Franck Ribery. Watch out for the cameo from Miami Heat superstar LeBron James.
Carlsberg: Fan Academy
The Danish brewery plays to English supporters in this spot, which imagines a sport academy dedicated to training the next generation of fans. Carlsberg’s Fan Academy is run by British broadcasting legend Des Lynam and the clip features some of the country’s biggest sporting names including Bobby Charlton, a member of England’s 1966 World Cup winning side, and Stuart Pearce, who infamously missed a penalty in England’s Euro 1996 semi-final defeat to Germany.
Coke: Fan Fever
Coke scores an own goal with this bizarre Euro 2012 ad, an uncomfortable mash-up of superhero imagery – soccer fans morph into Hulk-like monsters, a lightning bolt transforms a supporter into a Thor-esque figure, etc. The cola company produced regional versions of the spot to highlight the local team colors. This one is for Hungary.
BBC Sport: Euro 2012 Trailer
Soccer as a metaphor for war is a cliché that gets dragged out for every Euro Championships. For its coverage of the tournament, the BBC has elected to go with Game of Thrones-style animated graphics featuring fortresses and mythic beasts.
Mercedes Benz: A-Class
German car maker Mercedes also gets military with this spot. The German national side lead the attack, supposedly with the same precision and style as a A-class Merc.
Hong Kong Now TV
Hong Kong’s Now TV appears to have taken the soccer-as-war metaphor a bit too seriously. Their Euro 2012 promo spot features machine gunning storm troopers, bombs destroying soccer stadiums and a post-apocalyptic Europe with Big Ben, Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate and the Rome’s Coliseum lying in ruins. So much for fair play.
Ireland’s Rocky Road to Poland
A more upbeat video comes courtesy of Ireland, who are heading to the Euros for the first time in 25 years. To support their boys in green, Irish radio station Today FM, together with the group Damien Dempsey and Bressie, recorded this version of The Dubliners’ Rocky Road To Dublin, here changed to the Rocky Road To Poland. In Ireland, the song went straight to number one and has raised more than $1.5 million for a local cancer charity.
Paddy Power: Goal Line Technology
But Irish bookmakers Paddy Power cross the line with their Euro 2012 spot. The legal betting service is known for pushing the envelope with their ads and this one is no different. Parental advisory warning: contains scenes of a sexual nature.
C100: Dutch Birdie Song
For sheer weirdness, however, the trophy goes to this spot from a chain of Dutch supermarkets. They have gathered the entire Netherlands squad – including notorious hard men Mark van Bommel and Nigel de Jong – and got them bopping along to the “Birdie” song, while squeezing little squeaky bird toys tooled out in the team’s trademark orange.