Fans of Brazil watch the broadcast of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Brazil and Serbia at the FIFA Fan Festival, in Vale do Anhangabau, Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 24, 2022


  • The FIFA World Cup is an avenue for the biggest brands to reach millions of football fans across the globe
  • Gatorade's campaign for this year's tournament features soccer legend Lionel Messi, who is playing his last World Cup
  • Beats' campaign in 2014 is one of the most memorable and controversial ads the World Cup has seen

The FIFA World Cup is not just a platform for athletic competition and cooperation but also an avenue for the biggest brands to reach millions of football fans across the globe. As this year's competition gets hotter and hotter in Qatar, it's a great idea to look back at some of the most iconic advertisements the federation has seen.

Here are ten of the most memorable FIFA World Cup ads.

1. Coca-Cola's "Drink Coke" (1982)

Diego Maradona, aka "Hand of God," was one of the biggest names in sports in the early '80s. He starred in Coca-Cola's "Drink Coke" commercial in 1982, which delighted the hearts of many fans.

The World Cup ad featured a young fan coming to Maradona to offer him a sip of the popular beverage. Hesitant at first, the Argentinian legend eventually gave in and finished the whole drink himself. In return, he gave the kid his jersey – something straight out of a fan's fantasy.

2. McDonald's "What Practice Makes" (1994)

McDonald's, the official sponsor of the 1994 World Cup, went on spreading a message of positivity in a light and witty advertisement.

The ad featured young Scott Parker playing Jimmy. The character was practicing some keepy-uppy when his mother called him since the family was heading to McDonald's. "This commercial is dedicated to all those who know what practice makes...," a voiceover said as Jimmy continued practicing. "...And that McDonald's do takeaways," the voiceover concluded.

3. Nike's "Airport" (1998)

Renowned sports clothing brand Nike's 1998 World Cup campaign is another fan-favorite since it featured some of the biggest icons, such as Ronaldo, Romario and Cafu.

The commercial showed the Brazilian team on a friendly match while waiting at the Rio de Janeiro airport. The team soon took it to the runway, where the ball was kicked before a taxiing plane. The ball ended up giving viewers a tour of the airport. In the end, Ronaldo missed the goal between two metal bollards.

4. Pepsi's "Sumo" (2002)

Pepsi's World Cup 2002 ad saw football stars David Beckham, Edgar Davis, Roberto Carlos and Raul taking on six giant sumo wrestlers at the Japan World Cup training camp. "So, what are we playing for?" asked Beckham, to which one of the wrestlers replied, "Pepsi!" as they entered the arena.

The comedic ad ended up with the wrestlers enjoying a crate of cold soda while wearing the shirts of the defeated football icons. "Amateurs," one wrestler quipped.

5. Carlsberg's "Old Lions" (2006)

Carlsberg's "Old Lions" in 2006 was another ad that brought laughter to the tension-filled tournament since it featured retired legends. Highlights of the ad included Jackie Charlton's objection to the yellow card for "shirt pulling" and Stuart Pearce cutting the late Bobby Robson's team talk to take a call from his mother.

"Carlsberg don't do pub teams, but if they did they'd probably be the best – and most likable – pub team in the world," said the ad in the end.

6. Adidas' "José +10" (2006)

Adidas' "José +10" 2006 campaign was another unforgettable one. It showed two young boys assembling an imaginary all-star squad, which later turned real and included Kaka, Zidane, Beckenbauer, Beckham, Platini, Lampard and Riquelme, to do a playful match in the neighborhood streets. The ad ended with José, one of the boys, being called by his mother for tea.

The film highlighted both the innocence and enthusiasm of young people toward sports.

7. Mars' "Singing For England" (2010)

Mars' 2010 World Cup ad took the nostalgic path since it gave a throwback to John Barnes' "World in Motion" rap number from 1990.

The ad showed Barnes in a London park putting a Mars-branded cassette into a boombox. He soon started spitting bars from the classic rap while others bounced to the beats. He went on delivering the lines, "You've got to hold and give, but do it at the right time."

8. Beats By Dre's "The Game Before The Game" (2014)

Beats' campaign in 2014 was one of the most memorable and controversial ads the World Cup had seen. It featured Neymar Jr. getting a booster talk from his father before donning a pair of headphones. The music then played, and shots of celebrity fans prepping for the tournament were shown. Cameos included Lil Wayne, LeBron James and Nicki Minaj.

Beats was not a World Cup sponsor at that time. Players were prohibited from wearing their headphones within the sporting venue out of respect for the official partner, Sony. Without even using the words "world" and "cup," the brand gained the attention of fans through the beautifully shot film.

9. Gatorade's "The Greatest Never Settle" (2022)

Gatorade's campaign for this year's tournament featured soccer legend Lionel Messi, playing his last World Cup. In the ad, Messi narrated how the next 90 minutes was his only focus.

The celebrated Argentine sportsman highlighted the need for athletes to keep a winning mindset. "For the next 90 minutes, the only thing that matters is how you face it," he shared in the powerful and dramatic ad.

10. Budweiser's "The World Is Yours To Take" (2022)

Budweiser's 2022 World Cup ad saw Messi with other icons, Neymar Jr. and Raheem Sterling, sending a positive message of unity and rising over fears and inhibitions to succeed.

With the tagline, "No matter your tunnel, the world is yours to take," the commercial showed the three legends leading people of different nationalities, ethnicities and beliefs as they braved a dark tunnel and walked enthusiastically toward the light.