The Curse of the Mondo-Money World Cup Ad Campaign

Well here we are, into the final week of the World Cup. We’ve laughed (mon dieu, Les Bleus), we’ve cried (but not for Argentina) and we’ve all got tinnitus (thanks vuvuzelas). It’s been a bit of a crazy, unpredictable World Cup but there seems to be a sinister predictability of one World Cup tradition (and no I don’t mean another disappointing England team performance).

Advertisers spend shedloads of cash making really cool ads in time for the World Cup featuring all the big stars. Now the evidence is pointing to a curse plaguing the players featured in the ads.

Exhibit A: Nike’s Write the Future. Let’s look at the starry roll call: Drogba, Cannavaro, Ribéry, Evra all out after the group stage. Ronaldo, Rooney and Donovan out after the first knockout stage. Was Ronaldinho even at this World Cup? Only the Spaniards have barely scraped through to a semi-final. Even innocent bystander Roger Federer hasn’t been immune after crashing out in the quarter finals at Wimbledon.


There’s more evidence reaching as far back as France ’98.

Exhibit B: Adidas created a broody black and white ad featuring Del Piero (injured before the tournament started), both Kluivert and Beckham (sigh) got sent off. Only Zidane seemed immune to the curse that year but no such luck during the next two World Cups.

Can multi-million dollar advertising campaigns be so effective if the multi-million dollar players don’t perform on the big stage? Is it time to write the future with another (ad) pitch?

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