World Cup Ad Contest: The Worst Is Here

As we had expected, lots of World Cup commercials have shown us that some publicists / companies / FIFA refuse to join the rest of humanity in the 21st century, using sexism and outdated gender stereotypes to sell us beer, TVs, and the event itself.

Knowing this would happen, we asked you guys to send us any horribly sexist World Cup ads you came across to have them compete in our own World Cup of Shame. With the help of everyone who sent in their candidates and Google*, we now have our finalists.

I have divided them in two groups based on content:

GROUP A: Women are killjoys who have to be tricked into letting men enjoy the matches in peace.

GROUP B: Women, Samba, and Futebol

Following the tradition for these type of events, we’ll start with a message from the organizers themselves: the video for the official World Cup song, where singer Pitbull appears surrounded by samba dancers in sequined bikinis. Could we have expected anything else from an organization whose president has said that the way to get people interested in women’s soccer is by having the players use more feminine clothes and tighter shorts?

But let us begin with our competition. Vote for the best of the worst on the comments.


Sells: Potato Chips
Country: UK
Overview: As a group of men is watching a game, the wife/gf of one of them calls him on his cellphone. He pretends he’s driving and about to go into a tunnel, as he drops the phone on an empty Pringles can.

Sells: Terrible beer
Country: Mexico
Sent by: Seen in my cousin’s Facebook page described as the best World Cup ad ever.
Overview: At the end of a date, the girl invites the guy to come in. The guy explains he wants a long term relationship and respects her too much to sleep with her on the first date. In reality, he wants to go watch the game.
Bonus points: There are seven of these ads where the guy pretends to do something nice to his girlfriend/wife so he can watch soccer.

Currys PC World
Sells: TVs
Country: UK
Overview: A man tells his wife how much he enjoyed watching “Pride and Sensibility” in his buddy’s new TV. He suggest getting one as well so the wife can enjoy her favorite shows.
Bonus points: There’s another one about begonias.


Sells: They promote the recycling of old appliances
Country: Netherlands
Sent by: Norah
Overview: A woman dances samba in the street and is joined, Pied Piper of Hamlin style, by people carrying appliances as they dance all the way to buying a new TV.

Sells: Cable TV
Country: USA
Sent by: Courtney
Overview: You can see the action from every angle, from above, from midfield, from the goal. Of course, we are talking about the match, not the girl dancing in the sequined bikini who is the only thing shown from every angle on this ad. She is the beautiful game.
Bonus points: There are three of these, two in Spanish and one in Portuguese, but all of them horrible.

Sells: Instant Ramen
Country: UK
Overview: A beach towel-man enjoys the beach, ogling at women, and noodles. (Unilever was forced to stop airing this ad).

Sells: Cars
Country: USA and others
Sent by: Courtney and Elara
Overview: Model Adriana Lima, wearing a tight dress and stilettos, walks into a sports bar where she changes the channel from NASCAR to soccer. The men are too stunned by her beauty to react.
Bonus points: There are three of these gems.

* I googled sexist World Cup ads in four languages, and the same British ads kept coming up in the search. I would bet that it’s not that Brits are particularly sexist, but instead that they are more prone to calling out sexist ads on the web.

Featured image: Screengrab from the Wecycle commercial.


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 times like these that I am insufferably smug about having paid my licence fee and my ability to watch football on the BBC with no adverts whatsoever.

  2. What was particularly egregious about the first samba ad for Wecycle? It was quite literally just a woman dancing the samba down the street with people following her…..

  3. I’m voting for the Tecate ad, mostly because it promotes the notion that a man might not sincerely want to wait for sex. Which is just the first step on a slippery slope to rape apologism. (How often have we heard rape apologists say men can’t control themselves?)

    Also, their beer really is bad. I’m from the US, and *I* say their beer is bad.

  4. Personally, I thought the Dish series wouldn’t have been so bad if they hadn’t insisted on focusing on the three B’s. Using traditional Mardi Gras costume and dance could’ve worked if done right.

    But of course that would be too hard, so let’s just make the outfit skimpier and zoom in on her boobs.

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