World Cup Ad Contest: Expecting the Worst

When I was told I was going to be transferred to Brazil for work over a decade ago, I had no idea what to expect. Pretty much the only thing I had heard about that country was “mulheres, samba e futebol” (women, samba, and soccer). That could not be it, could it? Mexico, where I’m from, it’s not about drunk men in sombreros taking a siesta under a cactus, so I refused to believe that stereotype about Brazil. But, even if I have yet to see a man napping under a cactus in Mexico, Brazil does have beautiful women (and beautiful men, and people of all races, combination of races, shapes and sizes), samba (and axé, and pop, and bossa nova, all kinds of MPB), and soccer (and surfing, and volleyball, and Formula 1 racing…). In short, Brazil is a complex, wonderful country with great food, amazing beaches, excellent music, and an incredibly diverse and friendly population, many of whom are really good at kicking a ball.

But, you know what? Advertisement is rarely good with complexity, especially when trying to sell beer to sports fans. Ads in all sporting events tend to be incredibly sexist. Now combine the usual sexism of sports-related ads, with the advertising budget thrown at selling stuff at the world’s most important sporting event, with the lazy stereotype about Brazilian women dancing in sequined bikinis. Yeah, if ads in sporting events are usually sexist, this World Cup’s ads will probably be THE WORST.

But I do love the World Cup. So, in the spirit of international competition, I propose a game: let’s find the most horribly sexist World Cup-related ads and vote on what company and/or product takes the title of the Worst World Cup Ad.


Here’s how we’re going to do it:

1. From today until the end of the classification round (June 26th), you guys submit your candidates for worst ad. You can leave a link to the ad in the comments to this post or tweet it with the hashtag #WorstWCAd. The ad can be for any kind of product, service, program, country, etc, but it does have to be airing for this year’s World Cup. Please include what product is being sold and the country where it’s being aired (or where you saw it).

2. At the beginning of the second round (June 28th), we will start fighting them against each other to the death. I’ll publish a bracket and you can vote on each match.

3. If you guys are interested in this game, we will continue with quarterfinals on July 4th, semi-finals on July 8th, and the final match on July 13th. If we get bored before that, well, I’ll probably go with the one that makes me want to vomit the most and call it a day.

Send in your candidates!

Featured image: red-carding Homer Simpson


Born and raised in Mexico City, Daniela has finally decided to abdicate her post as an armchair skeptic and start doing some skeptical activism. She is currently living in Spain after having lived in the US, Brazil and Italy. You can also find her blogging in Spanish at esceptica.org.

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      1. It’s advertising buying new stuff (esp. TV’s) with stores that’ll take your old stuff to recycle so it’s less trouble for you to find a place to get rid of them. If you buy something and hand in an old appliance, you get a free inflatable ball, which is green because you’re being so green recycling and all. And for some reason they really needed this type of stereotypical add to market their recycling initiative (which looks suspiciously like just an excuse to buy more anyway).

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