Zidane on a scooter driving to Portugal, Roberto Carlos hammering a football over a plane, Footballitis, Nike 3v3 cage games; over the past ten years we have been blessed to witness some extraordinary football boot adverts combining creativity, innovation and humour alongside our footballing icons.

For those older readers cast your mind further back to the oh so special Nike Nutmeg advert that was cast on our screen in the mid 90’s (for those who have yet to see it, YouTube now!) and the Parklife Fowler-and-Cantona-among-others advert on Hackney Marshes and you see why advertising football boots was and still is such an important game.

Football boot advertising

Stars of the Nike Parklife Advert shot at Hackney Marshes:

Ian Wright, Eric Cantona and Robbie Fowler

Before the advent of footy boot commercials as we know them, the market was an unspectacular if productive tool, with black boots dominating shelves and players yet to reap the massive benefits of personal sponsorship as we now know it.

All changed in the mid 90’s however as iconic superstars like Cantona, Fowler and Martin Keown took centre stage. Yes Martin Keown. For it was Chimphead himself who was brave enough to don the all red Puma Kings without a care in world and closed (hairy) ears to the outsiders who said coloured football boots will never take off in a man’s world. Over 10 years later in the age of straighteners and skinny jeans and…well, you know the story!

Puma King XL red and white
The modern day Puma King XL

However in commercial terms what comes next for the boot brands as we fast approach South Africa 2010? Inspite of the technological advancement of boots in the last two years and the vast range colourways now on sale, the commercial advertising seems to have taken a back seat, with all but a few videos floating the net.

Will we see a spectacular effort to drive sales in the run up to the next world cup as Nike and Adidas battle for supremacy and Puma and Umbro scrap for what’s left? Will we see Cristiano Ronaldo swimming in just his sexy silver hot pants and his MV5’s to Cape Town? Or maybe we’ll see Niklas Bendtner flying there in his custom pink plane? One can only hope not.

Nike Mercurial Vapor V white and red swoosh

Nike Merurial Vapor V

My opinion is this; football has never had the privilege of accommodating so many superstars in one generation, and the fact remains that these superstars help sell stuff. In today’s economic climate as the world battles against recession, peoples purse strings are tighter than ever and a dispensable product such as a top end football boot can be replaced with a cheaper version. Thus for the major brands to ensure sales remain as high as today advertising campaigns will have to come out in force. The ability to utilise such prominent superstars such as Ronaldo, Kaka and Messi to display their talents will surely entice the major brands to creating the next generation of commercials for our viewing pleasure.

It could be argued the lack of commercials displayed a sensible approach from the major brands who decided the technological advancement of the product must come first. However technology must be placed on hold as simplicity takes shape in society, financially and socially, and the innovative adverts that revolutionised the football boot market come back to add life to a market that could well see dark days ahead. Only sales will ensure creativity remains and finance is available to advance our boots yet further, and sales can only come from advertising.

Here’s to tomorrow’s adverts and Martin Keown!

By Omar Saleem

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  1. says: MaccaLovejoy

    Good piece,

    I think that the recent Rooney total 90 and Ronaldo vapor adverts were good enough for TV but they didn’t make it. Seems like they need all the best players for it to happen!

    Bring back Fowler and Cantona for a reunion advert!

  2. says: Sion

    Cool article! I do love some of the ad’s the footy brands release. My fave was the Brazil airport film.

    I don’t think the ad’s encourage me to buy a boot, but they obviously get the brand in my head.

    Arsenal (see above), your comments are rarely constructive. Have you got small man syndrome?

  3. says: Omar Saleem


    Yeah I guess the advertising focuses on bringing the brand to the fore then when a potential customer is ready to choose a boot it sticks out.

    Also the Brazil airport advert is a classic, a few more of them redone for Kaka, Ronaldinho and Robinho would be nice! Please, Nike!


  4. says: Skiporovers

    Anyone remember the henry being chased through his house by Ljungberg and and a couple of Man Utd players think Scholes and Ruud were two of them…. that was a class ad …. Nike had some gems… The Vieri Ninja ad, Cantona Vs The Devil what happened to them??

  5. says: Omar Saleem

    The Nike advert with Davids and his infrared glasses was superb, with Van Gaal flying the chopper. Skiporovers that Henry one was excellent, the full length version was best, I didn’t like the edited TV one.

    Cantona and the Devil was good too, they should bring him back in their next campaign.

    A great advert was the Adidas, “I Kiss Football” or the Adidvas one where they all called the gaffer by different names.


  6. says: Derek

    The Ninjas, the Devil, the airport those were great ads, incredibly amusing, and fun to watch, as was the umbro ad where the guy is sitting on the couch pumping up a soccer ball and his wife walks in, I haven’t seen it in years but it was amusing.

  7. says: Kyle

    Top bit of Nostalgia Omar!

    One of the defining moments of my youth was Cantona flipping up his collar, “Au Revoir”, and blasting the ball through the ‘keeper/Satan himself’s midriff!

    The last great football tv add was Adidas’ ‘Impossible Pitch’, you know the one with the floating silver pitch?

  8. says: Kyle

    Actually, I’m lying – the Nike ‘Take it to the Next Level’ ad was beyond quality – where it was like you were the player and Wenger scouts you from a Dutch Amateur club?


  9. says: martinccillo

    i agree with kyle !!!!

    i love the nike “take it to the next level”, the scenes, the history even the music, i love that ad, is my favorite !!!

  10. says: Quaresma

    OH MY GOD! I agree with you Derek that Umbro ad is hilarious! But just out of curiosity, is Davids done for good? Haven’t heard about him for a while except for the Oceania All-Star game. The Brasil Vs. Portugal commercial is awesome, specially Carlos’s face at the end.

  11. says: Omar Saleem

    Kyle, spot on the Nike Take It To The Next Level advert was superb, well adited. Wasn’t it done by Guy Ritchie? Makes sense if it was!

    The Brazil Portugal game was class, Quaresma pulls of a few neat tricks in that as well as that bit of Ronaldinho magic.

    Talking of great adverts how about the ones that claimed to be “real”. Like the Ronaldinho off the bar advert! Ridiculous!

    I really hope the next gen adverts are as good, they’re always a quality watch!

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