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June 1, 2010
 

Puma > Nike

Yeah, we all loved the Nike ad, what with its star power and polished production values. No doubt that it touched all the expected emotional points, told a story, etc.

However, if I’m Wieden+Kennedy, I’m looking at Puma’s “World Cup” ad and wishing I could infuse that much soul into my own commercials. Puma focuses on African soccer, gives a much stronger pastiche of images (at least to me) and tells a much more intriguing tale. Rather than forcing themselves into the narrative, or even just inventing their own narrative a la Nike, the Puma folks let the story tell itself. We get flashes of recognizable faces — Emmanuel Eboue dancing in a tunnel, Samuel Eto’o training, Gervinho celebrating a goal, etc — but more importantly, we get a glimpse of soccer in Africa. Manicured and framed as it might be, it’s a damn sight more genuine than Nike’s fantasy world.

And, most surprising of all to me, I didn’t mind the Gnarls Barkley song! (overplay of their first single kinda killed the phenomenon for me there)

Check it out. If you’re like me, you’ll watch it like 5 times back-to-back.

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James T