Forget Qatar: Frito-Lay stokes controversy around 2026 World Cup with help from David Beckham

With Qatar posing a problem for advertisers, PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay seems to have leapfrogged 2022 and landed in the next World Cup, due to be held in the US and West Indies in June 2026.

This spot makes light of the “football vs soccer” debate, which is grating for UK viewers, but to be fair, it’s a spot made for the US. David Beckham argues it out with American Football star Peyton Manning, and the dispute goes viral.

It’s another Qatar World Cup ad that does its best not to be a Qatar World Cup ad – just as we are being inundated with Christmas ads that are trying very hard not to look like they are selling you anything.

Beckham is in an awful lot of ads these days but his acting is getting worse, not better. It’s an in-house effort and it seems strange to try and stoke divisions, but if “football vs soccer” is the only controversy of the 2026 World Cup, we’re all winning.

MAA creative scale: 4

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall is a journalist and editorial consultant and is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

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