The best TV ads of FIFA World Cup 2014

Which brands have come out on top in the biggest advertising battle of the year?

Sorry USA. But while the Super Bowl may be important, when it comes to the sheer number of eyeballs, it's the FIFA World Cup that really matters to the global advertising industry.

Every four years as the tournament rolls round, the biggest brands on the planet create TV commercials to compete for the attention of the approximately one billion people expected to tune in to international soccer's headline event.

Here are the five ads that have caught our attention so far - but of course, with kick-off approaching, there's still plenty to play for...

01. McDonald's

As usual, members of the global footballing elite are all getting lucrative roles in big-brand ads this year. But McDonald's has gone in the opposite direction, focusing on the freestyling football skills of ordinary people, including women and children. Featuring some amazing trick shots which look like they were created with CGI - although the creators insist they were real - this is a must-watch even if you're not at all interested in the sport.

02. Beats by Dr Dre

The epitomy of cool, you'd expect Beats by Dr Dre to attract the hippest stars - both sporting and non-sporting - for its World Cup ad. And so it has come to pass. Chronicling the behind-the-scenes preparations of players from around the world, there are also cameos by Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne and Serena Williams, all to the backing of 'Jungle' by Jamie N Commons & The X Ambassadors.

03. Adidas

It wasn't enough for Adidas that its World Cup ad features some of the world's best players, including Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Dani Alves. They also managed to get a brand new track by rapper Kanye West - his first in over a year - plus a look at the new World Cup ball. But while it's slick and ticks all the right boxes, this ad could be accused of 'lacking heart' compared with others on this list.

04. Nike

While Adidas' effort may be a little forgettable, Nike's ad is much more engaging and memorable. A surreal tale of a local Sunday League match that gradually transforms into an epic stadium battle, this doesn't just rope in the likes of Ronaldo and Rooney, it does it in a way that puts a smile on your face.

05. Coca-Cola

An official sponsor of the tournament, Coke's campaign is based on the theme 'The World's Cup' and focuses on the way football brings people together for social good. Created by Wieden + Kennedy São Paulo, the ad tells the story of how sport has helped people overcome tension and hardship in Eastern Europe, the Amazon and Palestine. Which is nice.

Have you spotted a World Cup ad that knocks spots off these contenders? Share it with the community in the comments!


Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design and technology. He was previously associate editor at Creative Bloq and deputy editor at net magazine, the world’s best-selling magazine for web designers. Over two decades in journalism he’s worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella. Follow him on Twitter @tom_may.