Yes, it's long. Yes, the football sequences are nothing new. Yes, none of the stars have made it to the final. But none of that really matters. Nike is huge and brilliant and feels like an industry, and a medium, finding its voice again.
Here's a theory: with its constantly shifting focus, multiple narratives and subtle nuances of action that demand repeat viewing to pick up, this is the first post-digital television commercial.
We've all had to recalibrate our thinking recently; get broader, faster and looser. We've had to embrace more screens. This commercial proves that we're getting it.
So when your grandchildren ask who won the World Cup in 2012, you can tell them, with pride, that it was Nike.
- George Prest, executive creative director, Delaney Lund Knox Warren.
This is one Thinkbox Academy member's view. What do you think? You can view the ads and Academy members can vote by going to www.thinkbox.tv/thethinkboxes
CARLING WORLD CUP - LIVE SCORES
The brief was to create an unusual and entertaining idea relevant to the World Cup that could make Carling stand out at a time when there was bound to be a lot of competitive activity from rival brewers. Thus the "live edit" aspect of this campaign, which featured a return of the Carling group of mates and was scheduled into breaks just after the final whistle of England games on ITV. One of the gang, who's just trekked across the desert on a camel to get in a round, returns not just with the drinks but also with the result of the England match just aired. His mates seize on the information gratefully but then ask him the result of another match. He has to admit he doesn't know (not surprising because, comically, in the early part of the campaign, they ask about Belgium - a team not actually at the World Cup) and, dismayed by their disappointment, he heads back across the desert to find out for them.
Creative agency: Beattie McGuinness Bungay
Creative team: Richard Harris, Jamie Starbuck
Client: Annette Middleton
Production companies: Sonny London, 750mph Recording Studios
Director: Fredrik Bond
HOVIS - MISS CHIEF
This ad supporting the launch of Hovis' new Hearty Oats loaf shows the antics of a mischievous school-girl running amok back in the summer of 1978 - then cuts to the present and shows us the girl grown up. Set to Ca Plane Pour Moi by Plastic Bertrand, we see her causing a flour fight in home economics class, turning a ballet class into a wrestling match and releasing a pig into the school corridor. She puts too much powder into a washing machine, which explodes with foam; she races shopping trolleys with her friends; she bounces maniacally on her bed at home. Then, as we see her putting Hovis into the toaster, we cut to her as a grown-up ... still making toast with Hovis. This reinforces the long-running "as good as it's always been" positioning and, as the pay-off line puts it: "Sometimes it's good to be good. New Hovis Hearty Oats, the only bread baked with 50 per cent oats."
Creative agency: MCBD
Creative: Danny Brooke-Taylor
Client: Jon Goldstone
Production company: Gorgeous
Director: Vince Squibb
JOHN SMITH'S - DINER
John Smith's reckoned it was time, after several years off-air, for the return of the archetypal John Smith - the No Nonsense Man, as brought to life by Peter Kay. There are two executions in this campaign. One lampoons the valuation scene that's the mainstay of TV formats such as the Antiques Roadshow; while this one draws cringe-making comedy from the dream date game. During dinner with friends, No Nonsense Man's wife, played by Alison Darling, urges him to tell them who his fantasy woman is. "There's only one woman in my life," he reassures her. But she persists, offering him the likes of Kelly Brook and Tess Daly, saying: "I won't get upset, it's only a game." But you can hear a pin drop as he reveals that he fantasises about "Claire at work". The brief was simple - bring people back round to a No Nonsense way of thinking by showing Kay's irreverent character in action.
Creative agency: TBWA\London
Creative team: Marcello Bernardi, Gabriel Miller, Craig Ainsley,
Client: Gareth Turner
Production company: Rattling Stick
Director: Danny Kleinman
NIKE - WRITE THE FUTURE
Every four years, the world's footballing elite play for the right to enter the sport's hall of fame. So, in this ad, the possible futures of the world's top footballers (including Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Fabio Cannavaro and Didier Drogba) are played out in epic fashion. One section shows a Rooney pass to Theo Walcott being intercepted by the French winger Frank Ribery, leading to a financial depression in the UK and the decline of Rooney's career - a flash-forward shows him sporting a bird's nest beard and living in squalour in a caravan. But in an alternative vision, he's able to track back and tackle Ribery, becoming a national hero. One goal, one pass, one game-saving tackle can be the difference in the mood of a nation, and the fame or decline of a would-be hero. All of it hangs in the balance, this ad tells us, and the margins of error couldn't be smaller.
Creative agency: Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam
Creative team: Mark Bernath, Eric Quennoy, Stu Harkness, Freddie Powell
Clients: Enrico Balleri, Colin Leary
Production company: Independent
Director: Alejandro Inarritu
In a campaign devised to coincide with the World Cup, Umbro wanted to celebrate England as a nation and as a football team, and show its continuing unconditional support for both. It also sought to reflect the modern reality that, though England is a melting pot of cultures, we all stand together in support of the same team. This ad shows a cast of ordinary people from a spectrum of cultures and backgrounds, each in their own private moment, standing in their Umbro shirts (the company has been responsible for the team strip for almost a century now) and singing the national anthem - an echo of the line-up of England players singing God Save The Queen before each game. The brief was to evoke the moment that generates so many emotions for players and fans - and is a rare point where there's a genuine sense of national unity. As the pay-off line has it: "Tailored by England."
Creative agency: Anomaly
Creative team: Mike Byrne, Richard Mulder
Client: Trevor Cairns
Production company: Prettybird
Director: Max Malkin