It’s been a strange time for advertisers in the run up to this year’s FIFA World Cup. The event has been marred by everything from reports of exploitation and corruption, to the deaths of migrant workers, to discriminative LGBTQ+ laws.
Most brands have chosen to avoid mentioning host nation Qatar as much as possible, while others have made some PR blunders of their own while claiming to take a stand (we’re looking at you, BrewDog).
Nike manages to neatly swerve any controversy with its new ad, Footballverse. Created by Wieden + Kennedy Portland, it’s a clever nod to the current mania for the metaverse (fans can explore the campaign further in Nikeland on Roblox), while still ticking off the essentials of any decent (if unofficial) World Cup ad.
Set in a secret lab in Switzerland and soundtracked by Oingo Boingo classic Weird Science, the spot sees a group of a scientists attempting to prove their own theories about who the best player of all time is.
Racking up at four-and-a-half-minutes, there are over a dozen cameos from footballing legends past and present ranging from Ronaldinho to Alex Morgan, and even an accidental appearance from Phil Foden’s grandmother.
It’s an epic journey through footballing history from a brand that’s synonymous with the World Cup, and comes with plenty of hidden easter eggs and references to adverts past (2002 classic The Cage being just one of them). The tagline ‘the game is never done’ also provides an inspiring challenge to the next generation of footballing legends to prove exactly that.