Advertisements have been inspired by sports performances or sports stars for a long time. At least over a hundred years since we can see W.G.Grace in a Colman's Mustard print Ad in this photo. While commercial opportunities have done their part in making sports bigger and better, there have also been occasions when the ads themselves have inspired people to talk about sport or even take up sport.
To relieve the monotony of reading words, I thought I'd list my 5 favorite TV Ads. The first two are simply inspiring in a warm and fuzzy way, the third stands out for the artistic genius skills, and the last two are inspiring because they are humorous. Unfortunately, most of these ads are Nike ads as other companies tend to focus on their products, while Nike tends to glorify the sport or the star.
1. Nike- Earl Woods Speakover
Tiger Wood's father Earl Woods speaks in the background (posthomously) and tells us about how he "instilled" the game into Tiger as a kid, got him immune to distractions and focused on the task at hand- hitting the golf shot. Especially powerful since the media initially berated Earl Woods for his grand visions of his son and the messiah like impact he felt his son will have on the sport and beyond. Turns out papa Woods wasn't that far off. And after the poor guy passed away, every one came around to see it his way. The last line is particularly powerful and hangs in the air because if you've seen Tiger play, you know it's so true: "I told him Tiger, I promise you that you'll never meet another person as mentally tough as you in your entire life; and he hasn't, and he never will."
2. Addidas- Laila Ali vs Muhammad Ali
"Impossible isn't a fact, it's an opinion" starts the ad in Laila Ali's voice while her father enters the ring and shadow boxes and does his patented cross-over dance. The other boxer is Laila herself. "So when my father looks impossible in the eye and defeats it- again and again, what do you think I'm gonna do when they say women shouldn't box?" and with that she socks one to her father almost sending him tumbling.. "rumble young girl, rumble"... sends chills down your spine.
3. Nike- bouncing golf ball
This commercial was shot in one go without any edits and became the subject of a lawsuit between Acushnet (parent company of Titliest) and Nike for who held commercial rights of Tiger woods. Meanwhile golf fans from Japan to the US shook their heads in disbelief at the skill level and started practicing bouncing golf balls on their wedges instead of practicing their golf shots.
4. Nike- Is it the shoes?
Any list of great ads cannot ignore this Spike Lee/Michael Jordan number. This is the original ad that got Nike on the map and catapulted Jordan from being a sports star to a star period. Need I say more?
5. Nike- Roger Federer
Roger Federer and his make belief coach. Pretty funny.