Reel to Reel

Lebron meets Hozier, and A Game of (Sochi) Thrones: The sports ads we loved in 2014

Beats and Guinness led the way with some stellar efforts this year.

IN A YEAR of both a Winter Olympics and a Fifa World Cup, it’s no surprise that there were some big budget ads featuring some of the world’s biggest — and most marketable –athletes.

Here are the ones which stuck with us long after the ad break was finished.

Beats by Dre – The Game Before The Game

Beats made a major statement in the run up to the World Cup with this five-minute mini-movie featuring Neymar, Cesc Fabregas and more as they prepared for the biggest tournament in world football.

Beats by Dre / YouTube

Guinness – Barnes Twins, Biathletes

American biathletes Tracy and Lanny Barnes aren’t household names but their story still made for one of the most moving ads of the year ahead of the Sochi Olympics. This was made even better by the fact that Guinness, as a “non-official sponsor,” reportedly had to pull the ad due to a blackout.

Guinness / YouTube

Stella Artois – Wimbledon: Rufus the Hawk

For two weeks every summer, Wimbledon dominates the sporting headlines without fail. Stella went behind the scenes at SW19 to meet the perfectionists that make the world’s oldest tennis tournament tick.

Stella Artois UK / YouTube

RTÉ – Kilkenny v Tipperary, ‘Somewhere Only We Know’

Hurling’s most storied rivalry set to a Lily Allen cover of Keane’s ‘Somewhere Only We Know.’ It shouldn’t work but it really, really did.

RTÉ Sport / YouTube

Under Armor – Misty Copeland, I Will What I Want

Is ballet a sport? For the purpose of this article, it certainly is. Copeland is now one of America’s leading dancers but she had to overcome a lot of adversity and rejection to get to where she is today.

Under Armour / YouTube

Nike – The Last Game

Like Beats, Nike also made a big World Cup play with a five-minute ad. It’s not quite the Brazil France 98 team in the airport but this animated tale of the world’s best taking on a mad scientist was brilliantly executed.

Nike Football / YouTube

Guinness – David and Goliath

Defying expectations was a central message of Guinness’s “Made of More” campaign. The story of 31 October 1978, the day Munster beat the All Blacks, was an obvious fit.

GuinnessEurope / YouTube

Beats by Dre – Re-established

LeBron’s return to Cleveland was one of the biggest sporting stories of the year and this Beats ad, soundtracked by Wicklow’s very own Hozier, was the icing on the cake.

Beats by Dre / YouTube

BBC Sport – Winter Olympics 2014 Trailer

Charles Dance — better known as Game of Thrones actor Tywin Lannister — narrated this atmospheric promo which set a perfect tone for the BBC’s coverage from Sochi.

BBC / YouTube

Irish Sports Council – Blackmark

It didn’t have the big budget or the celebrity names of the other ads on this year’s list but the ISC’s clever anti-doping ad got its message across very effectively.

Irish Sports Council / Vimeo

JJ, Walsh, Podge, Shefflin and Dowling in the best of GAA tekkers from 2014

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