8 Overly Epic Sports Ad Campaigns

In this day and age, sport stars are treated like A-list movie celebrities. Advertisers are falling over themselves to get these modern day Olympians to promote their products and are paying millions to get them to wear their logos. Even ads for sporting events are treated like epic movie trailers. The usual consensus for the project briefing tends to be “if we can make star players look like they have super human abilities, throw in some slow motion shot and a few kinetic camera angles, then they’ll buy it. Shazam!”

Nike – Hit The Target!

The 2010 Nike ‘hit the target’ advert by London based Wieden + Kennedy London stars footballer superstars Wayne Rooney and Fernando Torres. This over the top commercial sees Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney pit his wits against a room full of deadly laser beams that can cut through material, controlled by then Liverpool player Fernando Torres. Torres ups the ante by creating a series of tight laser loops for Rooney to conquer. Will he get the ball all the way through and into the goal without so much as a scuff? Watch the video to find out.

Tiger Woods 09 – Walks on Water

Technically an ad for a video game, this online video was produced by EA Sports as a response to a fan video posted on YouTube which demonstrated a “glitch” in the game Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08, which allowed Tiger’s virtual character to walk on water. The video portrays the real golf legend removing his shoes and socks and ‘actually’ walking on water, followed by the tag line ‘It’s not a glitch, he’s just that good!”.

Sky Sports Super League Promo 2011

Xenon Studios produced this epic teaser campaign, for rugby’s 2011 Engage Super League, for Sky Sports in the UK. The ad appears to takes its inspiration from the blockbuster movie Iron Man 2, released shortly before this ad was made, and portrays the players as ‘men of steel’ complete with full body armour suits. This was the first complete CGI title sequence the British broadcaster had ever commissioned.

Haye vs Klitschko: ‘Rocky’ Promo

This promo for the much-anticipated Boxing match between David Haye vs Wladimir Klitschko in July 2011 is a great example of sports broadcasters taking their lead from fiction. As if the Minority Report style overlay graphics weren’t over the top enough, the ad shows Haye supposedly training in a slaughterhouse à la the “Italian Stallion” himself Rocky Balboa.

Sky Sports News HD Advert – Reporting for Duty

As if it’s not cringeworthy enough that sports stars have gone all Hollywood on us, this clip actually features the sports presenters. The ‘Reporting for Duty’ campaign was produced in 2010 for the launch of the Sky Sports News HD channel and shows the news presenters playing a bunch of elite special agents ‘reporting for duty’. A cross between James Bond and Mission Impossible, this extravagant ad is worth watching just to see the Sky Sports girls dressed head to toe in leather and middle aged men living out their dream.

Red-Bull Racing/Toro Rosso movie “Bullfight”

This absolute epic from Red-Bull racing and Toro Rosso stars Formula one drivers David Coulthard and Mark Webber laying down the gauntlet to their ‘junior’ team, Scuderia Toro Rosso. Originally aired in 2007 this mini-movie is set in apparent ‘Mad Max Times’ and is probably the only time you’ll see an F1 car in a bullring! The four and a half minute duration sets this out to be the closest thing to a movie.

The Aussies are Coming! The Ashes promo from Sky TV

Another over the top sporting campaign from Sky Sports; this time promoting the Ashes. Supposedly set in 1805, this ‘period’ commercial features cricketing legends Shane Warne, Ian Botham, David Lloyd and David Gower. Warne is portrayed as a convicted, being shipped off to Australia, but before boarding the boat turns to the English cricketers warning them “I’ll be back!”

Nike – Eric Cantona vs. The Devil

The biblical grandeur of this 1996 Nike advert sets it way above the rest on the epic dial. Set within the confines of a coliseum, supposedly located somewhere in the fiery pits of Hell; Eric Cantona, Ronaldo and few more of the leading players from the Euro 96 era are pitted against the Devil’s henchmen. All the hallmarks of a Hollywood blockbuster are there – cheesy one liners, orchestral score, an epic setting for a finale and the ultimate depiction of good vs. evil. The occasional violence and dark nature of this advert meant that it could only be shown after the watershed.

This article was produced on behalf of Home Leisure Direct – UK suppliers of home gaming entertainment, including table tennis, arcade machines and football tables.

About Vernon Gadson

I currently live in the USA, but I learned to speak fluent Italian from my mother who grew up in Italy. I am planning to move to Sicily one day with my family and visit all Europe. I am passionate about abstract photography and I have an extensive collection of old cameras and lenses that date back to the early 20th century. I make sure to meditate for at least 15 minutes each day in the mornings, or else I can't concentrate on anything I have to do.

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