Top 10 Sports Virals of all time

With the 2011 Rugby World Cup kicking off in New Zealand, fans are no doubt bracing themselves for a barrage of the usual good, bad and ugly ad campaigns that accompany a major sporting tournament.

O2's Sim Rugby ad
O2's Sim Rugby ad
But sport has also been the basis for a number of excellent ads, particularly in the online space, and some of YouTube’s most-watched spots are sporting virals. So here, to cheer us all up before England's inevitable disappointing elimination from the World Cup, we’ve picked our ten favourite sport virals.

10. Head – Andy Murray Street Magic
He may be the grumpiest sportsman on the planet and about as natural in front of the camera as Ortis Deley presenting the athletics, but Murray pulls off some truly special trick shots in this video for Head. But is it done for real? This spot gets the balance just right.

9. Gazzetta Dello Sport – AC Milan v Bari

Sadly, it wasn’t really Gattuso, Pirlo et all performing this bizarre pre-match warm-up routine, but a group of very convincing lookalikes. Either way, it had fans across Italy fooled, and made for a brilliant way to promote Gazzetta.

8. Rubicon – 50p Challenge

England may have become the best cricket team in the world this summer, but Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan proves here that when it comes to accurate bowling, no-one can match him.

7. EA Sports – Tiger Woods’ Jesus Trick

Remember there was a time when Tiger Woods ruled the world? That may no longer be the case now, but when he was at the top of his game EA Sports came up with this gravity-defying campaign.

6. Carlsberg – Penguin Table Tennis

Table Tennis rarely gets a mention in Campaign, but when you mix it with a penguin and a major global beer brand, you can see exactly why we’ve included it in this list.

5. Adidas – Steven Gerrard’s clay pigeon shoot

Another to spark a ‘real or fake?’ debate. A couple of years ago Adidas produced a series of online videos which showed some of the Premier League’s biggest stars performing jaw-dropping tricks, and this one starring Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard was perhaps the best of the lot.

4. Gillette - Roger Federer’s William Tell Trick

Gillette’s TV ads featuring Federer have generally been utterly abysmal, so it’s nice to see that online the partnership has produced something special.

3. O2 – Sim Rugby

O2 has enjoyed a long and successful relationship with English rugby (VCCP's latest TV ad was recently given a deserved ‘Pick of the Week’), and here’s another reason why. The passionate performance of the coach in particular is brilliant.

2. Nike – Ronaldinho and the Crossbar

One of the first truly successful sporting virals, Ronaldinho had everyone fooled with his trickery. A groundbreaking video from a groundbreaking brand, featuring a footballer who at the time was at the top of his game.

1. Nike – Next Level

Nike make it a one-two at the top of this list, and justifiably so. We could have easily gone for the award-winning ‘Write the Future’ spot, which set numerous online records when it launched last year, but as you’ve already seen that a million times in the past year, here’s one you may have forgotten about. A brilliant idea, executed perfectly (it was directed by Guy Ritchie), and featuring an array of football talent.