Five Video Ads to Get You Pumped About the World Cup

Nike, Puma, Pepsi, Carlsberg and Coke Have the Most-Viewed Online Spots so Far

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Matt Cutler
Matt Cutler
As nearly every person on the planet knows, the World Cup kicks off tomorrow. Given that the world of online video has a tendency to reflect our global society's collective consciousness, it is no surprise that there has already been plenty pre-game excitement across the web's video destinations.

Here at Visible Measures, we have been tracking the constellation of brand-driven online video ads related to the world's largest sporting event. Some have already landed on Ad Age's Top 10 Viral Video Ads Chart, while others have comparatively fallen flat. To give you a preview of some of the top ads you might see over the next month, we took a look at five of the most-viewed online video ads associated with the World Cup thus far.

No. 5: Puma: Love=Football | 535,000 views

Puma's "Love Equals Football" campaign is a celebration of the sport in Africa, set to the tune of Gnarl Barkley's "Going On." The most-viewed spot for the campaign cuts between scenes of kids playing street soccer and the joy and insanity leading up to the big event. Fans paint themselves in preparation of a game, a young man dribbles a ball through a crowded market, and children play in a makeshift field inside an abandoned pool. For fans of the games, standout moments include a young boy's slack-jawed expression at an older player's in-stride rainbow kick, as well as the reckless post-game celebration of dozens of fans inside, outside, and on top of a moving truck. Suffice to say, "Love Equals Football" is a feel-good campaign for the game of soccer. It has so far racked up over half a million views since its launch in March.

No. 4: Coca-Cola: History of Celebration | 570,000 views

The only official World Cup sponsor on this list, Coca-Cola didn't technically launch its "History of Celebration" campaign in online video. The campaign, which traces the inception and history of World Cup goal celebrations, was uploaded by South African magazine Marketing Mix in early March. The spot features Cameroon soccer legend Roger Milla, one of the true stars of the 1990 World Cup, as much for his post-goal corner flag dances as his on-field performance. Somewhat surprisingly, the campaign only has a handful of assets, suggesting that it could grow significantly if Coca-Cola gets involved with online seeding and promotions.

No. 3: Carlsberg: Team Talk | 1.2 million views

Taking a very different approach is Carlsberg's "Team Talk." This spot drives home the incredible weight-of-expectations that each player on a major team faces when they play in the World Cup. For some teams, simply qualifying for the tournament is an accomplishment. For others, like England, anything short of outright victory may be deemed a national tragedy. So, should Britain's World Cup coach Fabio Capello ever need inspiration to fire up his players, Carlberg's Team Talk should be high on his cheat sheet. The campaign's official and most-watched creative implores the British side: "It's time to prove how good you are. Make no mistake. It's you. Eleven men. Eleven English men. Against the rest of the world. A world that can't wait to dump you out and rub your noses in it." Intense stuff, but authentic. Cleverly, the campaign also includes over 1,200 other clips of English fans giving the pep talk of their lives to their national team. The videos are integrated into game and locker room footage, so it looks as if the fan is England's manager at halftime. The winner of the best team talk will get to give it live to England's players and perhaps the chance to "join the immortals."

No. 2: Pepsi: Oh Africa | 11.8 million views

Pepsi's "Oh Africa" campaign was the first online video mega-hit for the 2010 World Cup. It was uploaded in early March with impressive weekly growth, but has since surged to more than 1 million views for two consecutive weeks. The most-watched spot of the campaign features international stars Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry, Andrei Arshavin, Frank Lampard, and (the supremely unlucky) Didier Drogba playing African kids for a Pepsi Max on a living, breathing and moving soccer field. This spot helps show how involved all of Africa will be in the hosting and celebrating this year's World Cup.

No. 1: Nike: Write the Future | 22.8 million views

Nike calls the three minute, elaborately produced "Write the Future" campaign "among the best we've ever done." And with 22.8 million views in just three weeks, online video audiences seem to agree. While Nike isn't a World Cup sponsor, the ad follows soccer stars like Italy's Cannavaro, England's Wayne Rooney, Brazil's Ronaldinho, and Portugal's Ronaldo fighting it out on the field as alternate versions of their futures flash before their eyes with every brilliant move and misplaced kick. The ambitious spot spans continents, sports and even cartoons, featuring cameos by Roger Federer, Kobe Bryant and, yes, Homer Simpson. While grand in scope, this spot shows just how influential a given player's on-field World Cup performance can mean to the rest of his life: Stellar play could mean celebrations with dancing girls, while poor choices with the ball might portend a barren existence in a trailer park. Perhaps a little overblown, but not by much.

Now that you have watched all five ads, are you sufficiently pumped up for the World Cup to get underway? I know that I am.

Matthew Cutler serves as CMO at Boston-based Visible Measures, a measurement firm for internet video publishers, advertisers and viral marketers. He's also an enthusiastic, if middling, soccer player and coach. Matt blogs at and @mcutler.
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