Simon Dent is the founder of Dark Horses, the sports marketing agency backed by UK creative agency Lucky Generals. Dark Horses’ clients include Nissan, Wiggle, Just Eat, Peloton and Southampton FC.
With the Premiership starting tomorrow (August 10) chief coaching officer Dent names his first 11 football ads.
1. Carlsberg – Old Lions
Any good team needs a bit of experience. This ad’s got loads, including Sir Bobby Robson at the heart of it. What’s not to like?
2. National Dairy Council – Accrington Stanley
Talking of a British classic, here’s another one. This ad is still part of popular culture 30 years after it ran. Even the club saw the funny side, eventually.
3. Nike – The switch
Right, we need some youth now. And they don’t come much better than the kid in this 2016 ad. For sheer entertainment value, this commercial goes straight onto the teamsheet (although I’ve got a sneaking suspicion it did more for Ronaldo than Nike: a common challenge with celeb ads).
4. Pepsi – Medieval battle
Next it’s time for some true superstars. This ad featured Beckham, Totti and Ronaldinho at their best. It was a massive production that worked really well in a surprising setting.
5. John Smith’s – Have it
We can’t all be Galacticos though. This classic spot reminds me of the playing fields of my youth and some of the characters you would sometimes come up against. “Have it” became part of the vernacular, which is always a sign of a strong advert.
6. Nike – Airport
“Go out and enjoy yourselves”. That’s what the best bosses tell their players and you can really feel the Brazilian team’s genuine love of the game in this feelgood spot.
7. Southampton Unveiling
Here’s another fun one, from more recent times. Sporting organisations create huge amounts of content these days, but much of it is either forgettable or rather self-reverential. This spoof from Southampton was something of a modern landmark, in that it reminded us all that success doesn’t have to mean taking yourself seriously.
8. John Barnes – Lucozade Sport
Let’s up the tempo now, with a bit of energy from Lucozade, the original sports drink. The message is “take sport seriously” and this campaign was seriously effective.
9. Adidas – Pogba x Stormzy
The trick to team-building is often in the blend. Unlikely partnerships and combinations can have a big impact, as with this collaboration between Pogba and Stormzy. Mixing football with other cultural influences like music, gaming and technology can keep the beautiful game fresh.
10. Paddy Power – Shave the rain forest
All good managers know the value of a surprise tactical formation. So here’s a brilliant piece of work from Paddy Power with a fantastic rug pull, all for a good cause.
11. Puma – Truly, madly, deeply
Finally, as we all know, football is nothing without the fans. So here’s Puma’s take on unbridled love (even on Valentine’s Day). Hope your team’s supporters are singing happily this season.