U2 in ESPN World Cup Soccer Campaign

“Once every four years, a ball does the impossible.” That is the central message in the latest campaign for ESPN World Cup Soccer. In these four spots, Anthem (60 seconds), Ivory Coast, Tartan Army and Sick Days (30 seconds), the impact from the globalization of soccer, better known as “football” internationally, is matched with the inspirational songs and voices of U2 to rouse the interest of the upcoming World Cup on ESPN.

ESPN FIFA World Cup campaign

“It’s a simple thing. Just a ball and a goal. But once every four years that simple thing drastically changes the world. It closes the schools, closes the shops, closes the city, stops a war. A simple ball fuels the passion and pride of nations, gives people everywhere something to hope for, gives countries respect where respect is in short supply and achieves more than the politicians ever could. Once every four years a ball does the impossible. And if history means anything the world as we know it is about to change.” Shots from each of the other three ads are interspersed with fresh footage of children around the world playing soccer. Music throughout Anthem is U2’s “City of Blinding Lights”. Click on the image below to play the Anthem video.

U2 City of Blinding Lights – How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb on iTunes

In “Ivory Coast” people gather at the main airport of Côte d’Ivoire, at first nervous. Football players board their plane with the rapturous support of their compatriots. Bono tells the story… “After three years of civil war feuding factions talked for the first time in years. And the president called a truce. Because the Ivory Coast qualified for its first ever World Cup. As everyone knows a country united makes for better cheerleaders than a country divided.” Bono launches into “Where the streets with no name” with the first line, “I want to run”. Click on the image below to play the Ivory Coast video.

See the official site of the Côte d’Ivoire Fédération Ivoirienne de Football. U2 Where the Streets Have No Name (New Edit U218) – U218 Singles (Deluxe Version) on iTunes

In “Tartan Army” Adam Clayton tells the Scottish story, referring to the Scottish fan base, Tartan Army… “Yet again Scotland didn’t make the World Cup. Not even close. But you can bet your life the Tartan Army will be there cheering for Scotland anyway.” Members of “Tartan Army”, Scotland’s soccer fan base, dance through the streets of Edinburgh with Scottish flags and banners, to the sounds of U2’s “I Will Follow”. Click on the image below to play the Tartan Army video.

U2 I Will Follow – The Best of 1980-1990 on iTunes

The Edge talks about soccer and sick days… “Every four years, during the month of June, sick days around the world increase 300 percent. And yet not one employee is fired. Not one doctor’s note is required. Not one important meeting is ruined. Because the bosses are out sick too. U2 launches into song, singing “It’s a beautiful day, sky falls, you’re feeling it’s a beautiful day”. Click on the image below to play the Sick Days video.

U2 Beautiful Day – All That You Can’t Leave Behind on iTunes


The ESPN World Cup Soccer campaign was created at advertising agency Wieden & Kennedy by creative directors Kevin Proudfoot and Todd Waterbury, copywriter Lisa Topol, art director Eric Stevens, associate creative directors Paul Renner and Derek Barnes, head of production Gary Krieg, and senior agency producer Andrew Loevenguth.

Filming was shot in South Africa and Edinburgh, Scotland, by director Christian Loubek via Anonymous Content with director of photography Stephen McGehee, executive producer Diana Keam, and producer Jeff Barona.

Sound and music was mixed by Tom Goldbalt with Kelly E. Harnett at AudioEngine, New York. Tom Goldblatt had the pleasure of recording U2’s Bono for the voiceover for the campaign. He also reviewed key music edits with the renowned singer/songwriter during the session.

The ESPN World Cup Soccer ads were edited at FilmCore New York, by Jon Stefansson (“Anthem,” “Ivory Coast,”), and Doug Walker (“Sick Days,” “Tartan Army”), with assistant editor Ruth Mamaril, executive producer Andrew Linsk and producer Julie Johnston.

Post production was done by colorist Billy Gabor at Company 3 and online editor Tom McCullough at R!ot Manhattan.

Visual Effects were produced by Chuck Carey at Troika Design Group, Los Angeles.