World Cup: a Play by Play on the Language of Connection

When I last viewed this Nike ad on YouTube, it had more than 75 million views, more than 400,00 likes, and 27,399 comments, some of which provided a behind the scenes look at how people interact with stories: "who did he become at 2:55?"

You could not get me to watch a 4:13 ad on TV, even if I owned one, yet this execution is so compelling that I have now watched the ad five or six times — and not just for professional reasons, I really enjoyed the experience.

Several elements make this production a play by play example of the universal language of connection:

  • interplay between real and imagined creates an immersive experience — the multiplayer game within the game involves aspiring athletes, fans, and pros
  • constant action keeps the ball rolling while the changes in scenery surprise and delight — we are the kids, the players, and the audience all at once and as viewers we can switch back and froth effortlessly
  • use of visual metaphor does the heavy lifting in communicating what is going on — action is more universal than any spoken language, watching people do something conveys much more than telling a play by play
  • skill is mesmerizing  and very attractive/worthy of attention — the footwork, actually full body work of the pros is something to behold… they make it look so easy, if you played football even a little, you appreciate how hard it is, the hours of practice and the physical demands of the sport

Marketers still plan campaigns and allocate budgets along the spectrum of paid, earned, and owned media. It is a necessary step in the process. Audiences are drawn to experiences and great storytelling, however they are produced and delivered.

Human beings are drawn to experiences because that is where we make sense of the meaning we get and give from being alive. Great creative taps into this vein through storytelling.


Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effect on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.