Ironically, the first one out of the bag is the Nike "home game" ad featuring Thierry Henry. We see him wrecking a house as he beats various Nike-sponsored superstars, including the Manchester United team, with his amazing skills.
Eventually, he's tackled by a boxer dog, shame it wasn't a bulldog. It's well shot and the tricks are what you expect to see in a footy ad, but you feel you've seen it all before and, these days, Nike has a lot of competition. I expect it to try a bit harder.
Anyone who has written an ad about football knows how difficult it is do something original. The BBC ad for Euro 2004 tries to do it by taking famous footage of the likes of Beckham, Zidane and Figo and animating them in the styles of great 20th century artists. The idea is the beautiful game, by the greatest artists in Europe, brought to you by past masters (Hanson and Lineker). While the ad is well made, I think it's way too highbrow and cold-blooded. It completely misses all the raw, tribal passion the game evokes and ignores how international tournaments such as Euro 2004 turn us all into a nation of football nuts.
The T-Mobile ad is the one where the bloke lies back and talks on his mobile while doing "keepie uppies". It's a great trick to watch and I've seen the ad quite a few times before. Unfortunately, I couldn't remember what it was for or even which brand. All I remembered was the great trick.
This is the problem with football. Unless your brand and message are really relevant, it's easy for it to get lost among all those other brands that celebrate football, while jostling to be the one that owns it.
The Carling ad features two blokes playing a game of footy in their flat who accidentally kick their ball into the street. This causes an impromptu game of football to start, involving everyone in the street, half of whom in true England fan style, strip off their shirts. The two blokes who started it all enjoy the game from the balcony of their flat, drinking their cans of Carling. If the BBC ad was too cerebral, this one pitches it just right. Although it's not very original (well, it's a bit like a Nike or Adidas ad, but then they all are, aren't they?) it's very well done and great fun to watch. The best bit is when a fat bloke, minus his shirt, is taken out by a spectacular flying tackle by a woman in a business suit. The music works really well and the ad reminds me of all the pissed, fat, sunburned England supporters who were playing footy in the central square in Lisbon last weekend.
The three Mars bar posters really didn't float my boat. They are a continuation of the "pleasure you can't measure" campaign, but are pretty limp. OK, the posters are well branded, but football is a tough game to do ads for, especially in print. Unless you try a bit harder you end up covering the same old territory as everyone else.
Finally, the McDonald's promotional ad, which is the most original idea here and takes football chants as its theme. It features a man who is such a football nut, he even wakes up chanting: "I'm not sleeping anymore." We follow him as he chants his way through his day with his long-suffering wife until eventually they end up at McDonald's, where they buy a Big Mac and get an extra one free, what a result! He starts chanting free one, free one (like 3-1). It's funny and works really well for the promotion. Well done to the team who came up with this, it's nice to see a good McDonald's ad again. Who knows, with a bit of luck we might see England do something worth chanting about, too.
Project: Mars Euro 2004
Client: Natasha Bell, Mars UK brand manager
Brief: Reflect the pleasures of being an England fan in the run-up to
Euro 2004 as analogies for the pleasure of a Mars
Agency: Grey London
Writer: Alex Fraser
Art director: Matt Turrell
Typographer/illustrator: Christian Tunstall
Exposure: National 48-sheet posters
Project: "Home game"
Clients: Phil McAveety, vice- president EMEA marketing; Stefan Olander,
marketing director Americas, Paolo Tubito, director, brand
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam
Writer: Sebastian Wilhelm
Art director: Ollie Watson
Directors: Carlos Bayala, Jose Cabaco, Mark Hunter
Production companies: Gorgeous Enterprises, @radical.media
Exposure: TV and cinema across Europe
Project: Euro 2004
Clients: Tove Okunniwa, head of sport marketing; Louise Holmes,
Brief: Build a sense of excitement and occasion around the BBC's
coverage of Euro 2004
Writer: Paul Grubb
Art director: Dave Waters
Director: Martyn Pick
Production company: Bermuda Shorts
Exposure: BBC TV
Project: "The big match"
Clients: Des Johnson, brand director; Mark Jarman, brand manager
Brief: Carling's a real football fan
Agency: Leith London
Writer: Peter Cain
Art director: Lou Bogue
Director: Kevin Thomas
Production company: Thomas Thomas
Exposure: National TV
Project: Big Mac Euro 2004 promotion
Client: Tom Shelston, senior brand manager
Brief: Communicate McDonald's Euro 2004 promotion, while demonstrating
what it's like to be a true football fan
Agency: Leo Burnett
Writers: Ed Morris, Trevor Webb
Art director: Ed Morris, Trevor Webb
Director: Theo Delaney
Production company: Hotspur & Argyle
Exposure: Satellite and terrestrial TV
Project: "Kick Euro 2004"
Client: Sam Taylor, advertising manager
Brief: Relax. T-Mobile gives you more time to talk football
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Writer: Paul Ewen
Art director: Ajab Singh
Director: Ivan Bird
Production company: Serious Pictures
Exposure: National TV