The Friday Morning TV Club

Back in the fall, we wrote a two-part breakdown of the art of the soccer commercial. We looked at ten notable ads, from Carlsburg’s Pub Team to Write the Future and the Secret Tournament, searching for the secrets of the genre, what it was that made particular commercials truly great.

As part of this Friday feature, we’re going to run some new commercials through our criteria, to see how they pan out and where they’d rank among the ten original ones we surveyed.

Today’s ad: Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Rafa Nadal

Here are our criteria:

a. Number of World Class players (Up to 20 points)
b. Directing (15 points)
c. Soccer skills on display (15 points)
d. Coolness of premise (10 points)
e. Humor (10 points)
f. Miscellaneous (10 points)
g. Absurdity of premise (5 points)
h. Soundtrack (5 points)
i. Bicycle kick? (5 points)
j. Eric Cantona? (5 points)

a. Number of world class players: 5. We’ll give it  extra points for the crossover potential, if only so we can reward future commercials who do it better than this.
b. Directing: 3. It’s a lazy idea for a commercial, and it’s directed with appropriate lethargy.  At no point do they appear like they’re actually doing any of this in sequence, as they’re trying to suggest, and the CGI’d tennis ball is about as obvious as it is during the replay review. Plus, the single-minded focus on the shoes ends up hurting the overall product; how many slow-motion shots of a pair of cleats do we need?
c. Soccer skills on display:  7. Look, you or I couldn’t juggle a tennis ball at all, so that in itself is pretty impressive, but the reliance on CGI for the most impressive stunts means it can’t get close to the full score.
d. Coolness of premise: 4. Sure I would watch this if it were really to happen, but in terms of the kinds of ideas they typically come up with for these things, it’s somewhat limited.
e. Humor: 1. The limited attempts at humor are half-hearted and not at all funny. They couldn’t even get Cristiano to try to swing a racket? That would have been humourous.
f. Miscellaneous: 2. As I said before, it’s just a lazy idea. They’re banking entirely on our stored up affection for these two athletes to make us interested in this. They’re not pretending there are some stakes to it; it’s supposed to be a snapshot of what famous athletes do on their day off. This would be fine if it was funny or visually interesting in any way, but it’s not.
g. Absurdity of premise: 1. If I told you to write a commercial with Rafael Nadal and Cristiano Ronaldo, wouldn’t this be the first idea you’d have, that you’d then reject for being too boring?
h. Soundtrack: 3. Meh, whatever.
i. Bicycle kick? 5. Scissors vs. bicycle, it deserves the benefit of the doubt for having Rafa, or his stunt double, do one.
j. Eric Cantona? 0. Cantona’s not making as many appearances as he used to, so we may just change this category to famous footballer cameo. Still, no points for this one.
Total Score: 31
Verdict: Sure it loses a lot of points for not stocking the roster with tons of players, but 11th out of 11 is no more than this one deserves.

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