Ok, ok enough already! I love football, like thousands of others I’ll be glued to the TV over the next few weeks, experiencing the highs and no doubt lows of watching our national team compete in South Africa. But do we really need to be bombarded with marketing messages riding on the back of the wave of national expectation?

It hasn’t even started yet and I’m getting tired of the media hype and hysteria over this event. Mostly, as a marketer, I’m cheesed off with the creativley challenged ad agencies touting product off the back of the World Cup and to make the point I’ve listed my starting 11 of World Cup 2010 related advertisements. The vast majority I’d wish had developed ligament or metatarsal damage the shining star of this very average team is Nike.

1. Sony Bravia: Former England managers Terry Venables and Graham Taylor team up with Scottish legend Kenny Dalglish in a nursing home setting as they prepare for the tournament. Doesn’t really work for me.
2. Nationwide: Little Britain’s Matt Lucas and David Walliams (Andy & Lou) meet the England team training. Funny the first time but once you’ve seen the gag….
3. Pepsi: World class players Lampard, Kaka, Henry, Messi, and Arshavin get to play in an African Safari setting with the locals literally changing the goalposts you end up just hoping Messi, who’s lost in the Veldt has a close encounter with that lion.
4. Nike: “Write the Future” Rooney (Hero or Villain), Ribery and Drogba feature with star performance from Ronaldo who gets to meet Homer Simpson – it has everything you want in a World Cup ad it’s my personal favourite.
5. Carlsberg: (If Carlsberg gave team talks or more likely if the BNP made TV adverts) Stuart Pearce, Steve Davis, Clive Woodward, Phil Taylor! even explorer Rannulph Fiennes and who spotted cult football figure and Hartlepools number one fan Jeff Stelling. All I can say is I hope he got an awful lot of money for that appearance. The ad has “something of the night about it” not what the agency hoped for. They wanted hairs to be raised on the back of the neck, I just feel uncomfortable watching it, especially the quattro formagio moment of a CGI’d Bobby Moore and in my view misuse of a true gent of the game Sir Bobby Robson.

6. Pringles – Peter Crouch & his infamous robot dance truly, truly awful
7. Kit Kat – Cross your fingers and hope they don’t melt, oh and choice of Sol Campbell as main star in TV campaign somewhat backfired.
8. We buy any car – switches tack to female presenter, Norway’s Charlotte Lade, showing off ball skills, naff, naff, naff
9. The Sun – With Terry Venables dreaming he’s Matt Munro.
10. Mars – With a far from match fit John Barnes resurrection of New Orders “World in Motion” classic but there’s nothing classic about this ad! Who thought putting JB in that massive red sweat top would mask the fact he’d had an advance in a few hundred “work rest and play” bars and I’m not talking fun size!
11. Tesco – Well you didn’t think the supermarkets were imune! This ad with the regular “soap style” couple decide there’s no such thing as a recession and the World Cup is a great excuse to blow loads of money on things they don’t really need, but then they do earn clubcard points so it’s ok!

And it doesn’t stop there I could list a full 23 strong squad of dodgy bandwagon hoppers, here are a couple of beauts..

Ladbrokes – Very nearly made the starting 11, Chris Kamara and Ian Wright camp it up in an “Italian Job” style ad that should have had it’s b****y doors blown off.

Visa – Armchair to winning goal losing a few pounds and facial hair in the process, nice idea but not as good as the original running man ad. The guys from Visa also produced an ad full of our previous World Cup exits, hand of God and quite a few missed penalties..thanks!

Godloves Solicitors (yes that’s their real firm name) of course what’s a perfect link to the World Cup? Making a Will of course, just in case you choke on a Pringle whilst downing your tenth can of Carlsberg watching Upson step up to take a penalty against Brazil in the Semis.

So there are the contenders mostly they should have remained on post it notes stuck to the walls of agency brainstorming rooms but hey, it’s the World Cup and they and their clients obviously think naff can sell.

But I don’t think it does anymore. My belief is that most consumers are a lot smarter than admen think and whilst we can still enjoy a good joke, clever line or seeing football legends in funny situations our attention and response is not triggered by constant bombardment.

Most of the above ads used a multi media shower to ensure we’ve all had exposure to the message but has it been money well spent? Time will tell but my money would be on the brave advertisers who see the market opportunity in those not obsessed with everything footie related. 60% of my household is, unlike me, not looking forward to the World Cup and looking for relief from the tsunami of footie related media. Let’s just hope England perform better than the advertisers.

I’m keen to hear your thoughts on this and please feel free to add your own list of good, bad and ugly world cup ads.

World Cup 2010 and The Danger of “Bandwagon Marketing”

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