Freak Week: Victory and Defeat

Headshot of Tim Nudd

With the World Cup just a few weeks away, countless brands are making plays associated with soccer’s quadrennial festival and tournament. But none has been quite as impressive as Wieden + Kennedy’s new Nike commercial, unveiled last week — an immediate candidate for best soccer ad of the year, and maybe of all time. Directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu (Babel, 21 Grams), the three-minute “Write the Future” spot is both furious and fanciful, showing the world’s top players mixing it up, and glimpsing the future as they play, knowing their performance on the sport’s biggest stage leads to glory or shame — and very little in between. Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and England’s Wayne Rooney are the focus, but lots of other players come and go, and we also get cameos from the likes of Roger Federer, Kobe Bryant and Homer Simpson. The only blemish on the production is that Ronaldinho, who jumps and jives in his own segment, ended up not being picked for the Brazilian team this year. But that hardly dampens the spirit. Let the games begin!

The other big sports-marketing story last week involved Formula One racing, and didn’t have quite as happy of an ending for the advertiser involved. Philip Morris recently ponied up a cool $1 billion to have its Marlboro brand sponsor Formula One racing. But then Europe passed a law banning tobacco advertising from cross-border sporting events. To get around this, when they built the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro F1 single-seat race car, instead of the Marlboro logo, the car featured a bar code image that looked a lot like the logo — and is likely indistinguishable from the real thing when it whizzes by at 200 mph. Ingenious? Indeed. Except European officials cried foul, charging Marlboro with subliminal advertising. Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo last week called the allegations “completely pointless” and “verging on the ridiculous,” but agreed to have the bar code removed anyway-no doubt aware that tobacco brands don’t have the weight of the public behind any of their causes these days.

Back in the U.S., a copywriter hatched his own ingenious plan recently for landing a job. Alec Brownstein bought up top creative directors’ names — David Droga, Tony Granger, Gerry Graf, Ian Reichenthal and Scott Vitrone — as Google keywords. When those people Googled themselves (as proud creative directors will from time to time), they saw an ad from Brownstein asking for a job. In a video that made the rounds last week, Brownstein detailed his results: $6 spent, four interviews, two job offers and a new position at Young & Rubicam. A great example of knowing your audience.

Finally, the most unlikely first-aid demonstration of the week was turned in by Canadian brand Fortnight Lingerie, which released a clip of two ladies in their Fortnight underwear, one administering CPR to the other. “Super Sexy CPR” was an eye-opening way of showing off the garments, and perhaps saving a life somewhere down the line.

BEST OF BRANDFREAK: How’s my drink? Oh, it’s stunning

You know the problem: You’re out at the bar with friends, and you just can’t figure out what you want to drink. Vodka? Rum? Or maybe you’re in a tequila mood. Well, as AdFreak’s sister blog reported last week, now you don’t have to waste any time choosing your happy way to inebriety. The newly introduced, appropriately named Stunna liqueur will stun you, all right: It’s a blend of rum, tequila, vodka and (as though these three weren’t enough) “other fine spirits,” according to the company. There’s a bit of melon and citrus tossed in, perhaps to distract your taste buds from the fact that you’re sipping four drinks in one glass. Stunna’s debut press release suggested serving this stuff over ice-“no need to mix with anything else.” Yeah, no kidding. It also bills the drink as an aphrodisiac. Hmm. Seems to us that Stunna is far more likely to lead to another kind of bedroom talk: “Honey, I have a headache.”

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.
Publish date: May 23, 2010 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT