The Five Billion Person Party

Notes of a wandering American soccer fan

ESPN’s Euro 2008 Ad campaign

Posted by steigs on May 21, 2008

I was a huge fan of ESPN’s World Cup 2006 ad campaign, perhaps in part because they used U2 for the soundtrack.  With “Worldwide Leader” taking a run at showing Euro 2008, I was curious to see how they’d try to sell it to Americans, given that the tourney not only lacks a US team (duh) but also the English. 

EPL Talk has collected the first five ads and the answer is…national stereotypes!  Some are complaining about this.  (I’m looking at you, Italy World Cup blog.)  Me, I think it’s a good idea.  After all, the average American sports fan would be hard-pressed to recognize 99 percent of these players.  But they know these countries.  So make it about the Italians, not Luca Toni.  Or the Portuguese, not Ronaldo.  Heck, I’m not sure most European fans know much about the defending champion Greeks anyway, aside from that magical run of 1-0 victories in Portugal four summers back. 

My favorite is the Italian ad.  Let’s face it, they do complain a lot.  The Portugal ad has the best highlights.  (Thank you, Ronaldo.)  And the one for Spain just seems wrong — the tagline is “All Surrender to Spain’s Red Fury”  WTF?  They choke in every tourney.  The main red fury I’m aware of is that directed at the team by Spanish fans every two years.

Still, I’ll give’em a B+.  Give me a great Dutch ad or a funny French ad and I might go to A-.  (Seriously, where are they?  I’d think they’d be more promot-able than Spain.)  And I’d think a Russia ad would be easy enough.

But I think we all would agree.  The latest Nike ad, the first person “Take It to the Next Level” commercial, is the best currently running.  Seriously, it flat out rocks.  Go watch it now!  That’ll get you more in the mood for Euro 2008 than anything ESPN is running.

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