I’m back! If anyone cares, the years of silence were because I went to space. For years. Yeah, it was a pretty big deal. They made me their king. You probably didn’t hear about it in the mainstream media. Anyway, I was called back to planet Earth because someone wrote this on Facebook:
Identity redacted in a fetching puce/violet shade
So, due to the overwhelming popular demand of one person, after the page break we’re gonna kick things off by looking at some of the adverts for the upcoming 2014 World Cup in Brazil! Get it? KICK things off? HA! Still got it.
I’ve made it clear before that I’m no sports fan. But the World Cup isn’t sport. It’s religion. It’s art and it’s science. It is love, war, sex and hate. It is victory and defeat. It’s really, really expensive. There’s so much money you guys. Enough to motivate all sorts of crimes.
Let’s start off with something essential: the exclusion of the USA. They make a huge deal about their Super Bowl and World Series (despite not actually involving any of the world) but then they turn around and treat the World Cup like this:
The USA cares so little about football (soccer) that they had to somehow involve sex to sell it.
A lot of people really like this advert but it has completely failed to excite me about the World Cup. It barely has me excited about the awkward guy. That was a pretty awful date. And she had her little black dress on and everything! She made an effort! Oh that poor girl. Who the hell even pours wine like that? Is he drunk? When he smells his breath in the beginning, is he checking for whiskey vapour? To all young men, for future reference: being able to make a napkin flower does not make women suddenly blind to how you frequently hallucinate sports commentators, your obliviousness of personal boundaries, or your drunken clumsiness. Trust me, nothing will make anyone blind to that. Everyone can see your shame at all times, spelled out in red neon above your head. I need a hug.
What are they eating anyway? Is that noodles? Some kind of potato thing? I saw him eating some salad leaves but that must have been the starter. What were we talking about? Football? Oh right, yeah.
That’s more bloody like it! Hell yes. Football, the universal language of the world. Let’s ignore the questionable labour legacy of Adidas for a second and revel in how the beautiful game connects everyone in the world. Well, every man. Some men. These men!
Why is that man’s face opening a bag at the end? What has he discovered that makes him react that way? I’m guessing it’s football-related but what if it’s like, gold. Or smelly ham. Maybe drugs?
Because after an epic football journey, what you really crave is a long, cold swig of poison.
I get it. Football is an international phenomenon with billions of people emotionally invested in it. It transcends borders and unites cultures. Did you not see Adidas doing that exact same thing just previously, and also every international football advert since the beginning of time? Let’s try something new.
If you watch that one back on silent it’s like the news broadcast from an epic apocalypse film:
“Good afternoon, and if you’re just joining us here in the news room, shocking events have unfolded today that have changed the course of history, and humanity’s place in the universe. It began at midday in South America with a series of tremors and flashes of light. As the day progressed, some kind of gigantic walls apparently grew out of the ground. These walls perfectly mirrored the border of Brazil. As night fell, the crests of the walls emitted a bright light and Brazil was completely wiped from the face of the Earth, replaced with even green grass and miles-wide white markings. Scientists and military advisors alike all agree that this can only be interpreted as an attempt by extra-terrestrials to begin colonising our planet for their own needs, and that we should expect further attacks upon other countries. Truly this is a dark day for humanity.”
Once again ignoring all the unpleasant details about sweatshops, I’m going to ruin this for you before you even watch it: pay attention to the rhythm.
Stressful isn’t it? Enjoy seeing it everywhere!
How does this express risk? It absolutely expresses pressure, don’t get me wrong, but there’s no sense of uncertainty here. Everything is literally concrete. It builds into a very tense climax. These legends of sport are put under a lot of pressure, all of the time. They look pissed off about it. It must be crippling. Argh, just thinking about it is stressing me out.
NIKE / GUY RITCHIE
You may know Guy Ritchie from such films as Lock Stock, Snatch, being married to Madonna, and Sherlock Holmes. They got him to make a World Cup advert.
That’s actually pretty good. It has his trademark grit, masculinity, and even a story arc. This is a triumphant rise to fame and fortune in a gritty universe. It’s so gritty, he actually spat out a god damn tooth while he was in the shower. The grittiness makes me think that all the vomit (so much vomit) is from drug overdoses and alcohol poisoning. The suggestion is that maybe it’s just nerves getting to him, but that's just his effort to conform to Nike’s brand-vision. That’s as close as he could come to just blatantly showing the binge drinking, drugs, prostitution and sexual assault that premier league football in the UK is now famous for. Seems like the ending is missing though. You know, the tragic one.
We all know what happens. The clues are all there. I was expecting it, and it never happened. It would show him getting angrier on the pitch, antagonistic towards his teammates, and even more reckless in his personal life. Finally he would take a bottle of Prosecco on the road in his ridiculous sports car and accidentally drive off a bridge. His injuries would prevent him from ever playing again. Although he would be found innocent by the courts because he spent his vast fortune on his legal defence, the tabloids would tear him apart. His family would want nothing to do with him. Disgraced, broken and alone, he would finally succumb to despair and hang himself in the basement of his empty, joyless mansion. The camera would turn away from him as he makes desperate, dying noises of spasms and choking. We’ll slowly pan over his framed newspaper clippings, dusty trophies, signed football, etc, until we see a crayon drawing he did as a child. It would be of himself in a field with a football and a big smile on his face. Then maybe we’ll fade to monochrome, watching the green disappear from the scribbles that are meant to be grass, and then we fade out to black silence.
Oops, I just turned this into Citizen Kane.
THE OFFICIAL SONG
Oooh! There’s an official song! Sweet!
Urgh, Pitbull being Pitbull. It’s got all his trademarks. And Jennifer Lopez. And… that other singer who I don’t know but who is probably huge in Spanish-speaking cultures. I guess it’s very happy, and very Latin obviously. Get used to hearing it: this is going to be used in every carnival parade from now until the end of time. But hey, at least it’s empty and boring so it’ll be easy to ignore!
You know, none of these World Cup adverts have made me particular inspired. Certainly none have taken my mind off the accusations of forced evictions, police brutality and murder. I feel like watching football even less than usual. I kind of want to curl up into a foetal position and silently weep for a while.