The Best 2014 Soccer World Cup Commercials (Videos)

ESPN recruits Jon Hamm and Jimmy Kimmel for its “I Believe” Team USA spot, Beats by Dr. Dre suits up Brazilian star Neymar Jr. and McDonalds shows off amateur trick-shot specialists in the picks of this year's World Cup ads.

As soccer's superstars suit up for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, global brands are battling it out with a raft of TV ads looking to capitalize on the most-watched sporting event in the world.

Team USA are outsiders at the tournament but ESPN, which is carrying the World Cup games stateside, has turned this underdog status to its advantage in its most-recent spot (see above). The network recruited a slew of celebrities – including Jon Hamm, Whoopi Goldberg, Kevin Costner, Ice Cube and two-time Olympic woman's soccer gold medalists Hope Solo and Abby Wambach – to join in a rallying cry for the so-called American Outlaws squad. One by one they chant in unison: I...Believe...That...We...Will...Win.


Beats by Dre: The Game Before The Game

In its first-ever World Cup spot, headphones manufacturer Beats by Dre has found a good way to spend some of that $3 billion Apple sent their way. Beats' The Game Before the Game ad, to promote their revamped Solo2 headphones, is an instant classic of the soccer spot genre. It opens with Brazilian soccer star Neymar Jr. talking on the phone to his dad before a big match. The commercial then shifts to other stars – Mexico's Javier Hernandez, England's Daniel Sturridge, Uruguay's Luis Suarez, Germany's Mario Gotze – as they go through their private pre-game rituals. All, of course, wearing Beats headphones as the thundering sound of X Ambassadors' and Jamie N. Commons' song "Jungle" plays over the soundtrack. The five-minute spot is a mini-movie packed with blink-and-you'll-miss-it star cameos including Serena Williams and LeBron James and rappers Nicki Minaj and Lil' Wayne.

Nike: The Last Game
Nike isn't an official World Cup sponsor but they are again piggybacking on the tournament's global hype with a series of soccer-themed commercials, none better than The Last Game. The animated spot is set in a dystopian future in which the world's greatest soccer players – including Nike-signed Brazilian players Neymar and David Luis, Portugal's Christiano Ronaldo, England's Wayne Rooney and Andres Iniesta of Spain – have been replaced by clones who never take risks. But the clones are better and soon the real players are forced to retire. Until former Brazilian star Ronaldo (looking uncharacteristically trim in this cartoon version) sets out on a mission to recruit and train them for a clone vs. human showdown. The best bit is seeing what the stars do for day jobs: check out Ronaldo as a dress store dummy, Neymar as a hairdresser or Rooney as a fisherman.

Adidas The Dream: All in or Nothing

Not to be outdone, official outfitters Adidas, pack their World Cup spot: The Dream: All in or Nothing, with a full squad of stars, among them Argentina's Lionel Messi, Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, Germany's Mesut Ozil, Xavi of Spain and Robin Van Persie of Holland. The spot is framed as Messi's fevered dream and set to the Kanye West single "God Level."

Adidas: The Game Never Ends

The German sportswear manufacturer takes a more playful tone with this next spot, which has former stars David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane hanging out at Beckham's house with two of the current generation's superstars: Gareth Bale and Brazilian sensation Lucas Moura. The plot of the ad has the four of them playing a little pick-up 2 on 2 and proceeding to trash Beckham's pad. It's the only action this group will see this summer. Beckham and Zidane are retired, Moura got left off the Brazilian squad and Bale, like the rest of his Welsh compatriots, is staying home.

Kia: Adriana Lima and World Cup 2014

The prize for soccer commercial for non-soccer fans goes to South Korean car maker Kia with this spot aimed squarely at the no-nothing U.S. audience. It features sexy Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima disrupting fans enjoying all-American sports — football, baseball, Nascar — to tell them them, in her country, they play “Futbol.” (N.B.: "Football" in Portugese is actually spelled "futebol.") Not sure it will convince soccer-haters to watch the games but it's hard to argue with Lima's appeal. 

McDonald's: Gol!

But for pure viewing pleasure, it's hard to beat McDonald's new World Cup spot, Gol! The fast-food giant has assembled five trick shot specialists for a display of amateur soccer prowess on the streets, malls and beaches of Brazil. Check out the high-heeled dribbling skills of Argentine model Fiorella Castillo and the jaw-dropping talents of 10-year-old YouTube star Ciaran Duffy, dubbed the "Irish Messi" for his magic moves on the ball. Watch for Duffy at the World Cup opening match where he is scheduled to walk out on the pitch as a McDonald's player escort.