The seven best creative sports ads…ever!

What makes a good sports ad? The list of our seven favourite sports ads, below, shows some key ingredients to making an ad that will induce you to run around a field until you pass out.

The following have demonstrated that if you’re going to make a sports ad that captures a nation’s heart, you’ll need one or more of the following: a banging soundtrack, an unexpected and legendary cameo appearance, a show of unparalleled sporting ability, an ‘against all odds’ angle and some fast cutting montage techniques. Let’s take a look at some examples…

Carlsberg – Old Lions

What happens if you combine Jack Charlton getting a yellow card, Alan Ball having a whiff of his unwashed footie socks and a team talk by the late, great Sir Bobby Robson? You get the best pub football team in the world, of course.

Part of Carlsberg’s ‘World According to Carlsberg’ series, this ad won a shelf full of awards nearly surpassing the 796 international caps accrued by all the players in the ad.

MacDonalds – Gol!

To celebrate Brazil 2014, MacDonalds chooses to celebrate the magic of trick shots performed by, amongst others, an old man, a model on a night out and a little boy. The ad shows off real skills and insists no CGI tricks – or cheeseburgers – are involved.

Nike – Mas Que Nada

The stars of the 1998 Brazilian World Cup team break all security protocol by running amok around an airport kicking a ball. Viewers marvel as Ronaldo, Romario, Roberto Carlos etc indulge in joga bonito – or playing beautifully – while the samba rhythm of Mas Que Nada plays gently underneath. A cameo from Eric Cantona seals this as many people’s favourite sports ad of all time.

National Lottery – This Girl Can

The advert to make you wiggle and jiggle your way to fitness. This ad was created to tackle the widening gender gap in fitness in the UK by dispelling the idea of judgement. The combination of real women smashing it and the Missy Elliott soundtrack claims to have got 1.6 million British ladies off the sofa and into the gym.

Nike – My Better is Better

Just when you thought Nike couldn’t improve their ‘Just Do It’ slogan, San Diego Chargers footballer LaDanian Tomlinson trumps it with his ‘My better is better than your better’ line to a roomful of journalists. This along with the soundtrack – List of Demands by Saul Williams – is enough to make you want to strap on your trainers and run 10k out of sheer motivation.

Carlsberg – Dreams

Jason McAteer is the star of the show in Carlsberg’s World Cup 2002 advert. Imagining Republic of Ireland’s ascension to World Cup glory, cameras pan empty streets and full pubs with close ups of goals fired in to nets and celebrating crowds. It concludes with McAteer’s alarm clock going off to wake up the dreaming midfielder.

Nike – Pretty

How do you attempt to shake off the media’s obsession with your looks over your ability as a sportswoman? Maria Sharapova plays them at their own game in this Nike ad. The Russian tennis player strides her way through a pastiche of ‘I Feel Pretty’ song from West Side Story as passersby gaze on admiringly. The ad also has a cameo from the McEnroe brothers and gold medallist Mary Joe Fernandez.

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