Are these the 20 best Olympic adverts of all time?
OK, so we lured you in with that title, but we should probably clarify exactly what we mean by the ‘best’. In this case we’re talking the cheesiest, most heartstring pulling, (and in some cases) outright weird, montage-tastic Olympic-related video commercials that we could find on YouTube.
And by ‘all time’ we mean, in the last 40 years or so. We’ve no idea whether the Ancient Greeks used the original Olympic Games to sell more feta and olive oil…good on them if they did.
Anyway, without further ado, here’s the Quidblog run down…
Brim Coffee / 1976 Montreal
A Canadian woman (we think, although she could be German) uses the term ‘as busy as a beaver’ to sell de-caffeinated coffee at the Montreal Games. Perky.
Budweiser / Moscow 1980
After a tough day at work, an average American guy heads to his local bar where he catches an emotional Olympic medal ceremony on TV. What else can he do but indulge in a proud hand-on-heart moment with his fellow drinkers. Say ‘Cheeeeeeese.’
Coca-Cola / Los Angeles 1984
Workmen of California unite? Surely Coca-Cola, that stalwart of capitalism, hasn’t been influenced by socialism at the height of the Cold War? Or perhaps it has…
McDonald’s / Los Angeles 1984
Ah children…they are the future. McDonald’s travels the world with a view to finding the Olympic hopefuls of tomorrow. What they actually get is a load of precocious child actors with beautifully international names.
M&Ms / Los Angeles 1984
Ever wondered what powered the athletes of the eighties? Well chocolate of course! A curious advert from candy giants M&M rams home the point with real-life actors supporting cartoon choco-shaped Olympians. It climaxes with a hysterical woman forcing chocolate into the mouth of her male friend.
Coca-Cola / Seoul 1988
“You can see it in their eyes, because they feel it in their hearts,” so chimes Coca-Cola’s build-up to Seoul 1988. It’s so flamboyantly action-packed that the only surprise is that Rocky doesn’t make an appearance in this homage to American sporting prowess.
Nike / Barcelona 1992
Known as the ‘Dream Team’ big things were expected of the USA basketball side in 1992. They didn’t disappoint, winning the gold in style against Drazen Petrovic’s Croatia in the final. It was just as well, especially after Nike portrayed them as superheroes in the mould of Street Fighter characters.
Reebok / Barcelona 1992
America’s top two decathletes Dan (O’Brien) and Dave (Johnson) were pitched against each other in a series of Reebok adverts ahead of the Barcelona Games as their personal rivalry was taken global. Unfortunately, Dan didn’t make the Games and Reebok were embarrassingly forced to film new commercials with him cheering on Dave from the stands.
Opel cars / Atlanta 1996
Nothing screams adherence to the Olympic ideal, like giving up on the torch relay and hitching a ride in a fuel-efficient European hatchback. Well that’s what Opel seem to think anyway, as a young female athlete cheats on the last 100 miles to Atlanta…
Nike / Atlanta 1996
Michael Johnson, Carl Lewis, a plethora of other top athletes, some badly choreographed soccer action and a bloke being violently sick. As Nike boldly makes clear “You don’t win silver, you lose gold.” No…we don’t know what that means either. We do like the Iggy Pop and the Stooges soundtrack though.
Barbie / Atlanta 1996
She may have been 47-years-old at the time, but Barbie was still in great shape in 1996 finding enough energy to dazzle the home crowd with a few snazzy back flips at the Atlanta Games. Unable to provide a urine sample after her performance she was later stripped of her gold medal and suffered the further ignominy of being dumped by the morally-upright Ken.
Nike / Sydney 2000
Here’s Team Australia apologising to everybody for pretty much everything as they gear up for Sydney 2000. It’s a shame they didn’t say sorry for being in this incredibly dull advert.
McDonald’s / Sydney 2000
As the old adage goes, it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile, which is presumably why these knackered athletes are choosing to gurn with delight. Well, it’s either that or the gold medals they’ve just won…
Visa / Sydney 2000
Visa’s tongue-in-cheek look at the world of synchronised swimming promises not to indulge in mindless commercialism…before indulging in mindless commercialism. At least they showed a sense of humour.
Visa / Athens 2004
“How are you getting to the Olympics?” asks Visa. By swimming the Atlantic and then the Mediterranean answers half-man-half-fish Michael Phelps. Fair enough…weirdo.
Puma / Athens 2004
They look and feel like Malibu commercials, but Puma’s campaign to promote their link-up with the Jamaican national team is actually pretty fun. Check out the young Usain Bolt grinding away in a couple of the adverts.
Visa / Beijing 2008
Having conquered his homeland and then Hollywood Jackie Chan was one of the faces of the Beijing Games. Here he turns his hand and feet (…and all manner of other body parts) to table tennis, hockey, soccer and gymnastics as he jumps about with all his usual comical styling.
Nike / Beijing 2008
Thumping Killers soundtrack – check. Montage of illustrious sporting achievements, interspersed with random footage of cultural and physical evolution – check. Well versed slogan in funky font – check. Nike hammer home their Beijing message in style.
Adidas / Beijing 2008
There’s not much to poke fun at in Adidas’ campaign to remind the world that ‘Impossible is Nothing’…unless of course you take umbrage at the idea of having to physically touch Olympians as they bid for success on the track and in the field.
Visa / Beijing 2008
If you want to tug at the heartstrings, you’ve got to hire Morgan Freeman as a godly narrator telling the tale of an athlete helped over the finish line by his father after a crippling injury has him on his knees in the home straight. Obviously.
Which of the above adverts is your favourites? Have you seen any decent efforts for the 2012 Games? Are you looking forward to the arrival of the Olympics in London? Let us know in the comment section below...
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