Regarded by many as "The Greatest", Pele touched a lot of lives with his football career. We take a look at how he touched the world of advertising in his lifetime.
Brazilian football legend Pele’s death has put the global football community in a state of profound sadness. Edson Arantes do Nascimento, popularly known as Pele, died on December 29 at the age of 82 after losing a long-fought battle with cancer, leaving millions of fans across the world in dismay.
With three world cups and 1,283 goals accumulated over an illustrious career that spanned nearly two decades, Pele is often dubbed as the original G.O.A.T of the footballing world. Most popularly known for his unparalleled dribbling skills, unmatched athleticism, and almost other-worldly field IQ, Pele has pioneered the modern footballing way as we know it today. And it isn’t a surprise that his legendary talent brought him a lot of fame, recognition and by its virtue, a plethora of marketing and endorsement opportunities.
As the world mourns the loss of a timeless icon, here is a list of some of the most popular advertisements featuring the Brazilian talisman.
A year before the 1974 FIFA World Cup, the soft drink brand Pepsi roped in Pele as their brand ambassador. As part of the deal, Pele assumed the role of an ambassador and consultant in Pepsi’s International Youth Soccer Program, which saw Pele reach out to remote places across the world to promote the ‘Beautiful Game’. He starred in many television commercials for Pepsi in the following years, the first of which was his 1974 commercial where he is seen urging the audience to join the Pepsi People.
In another commercial, Pele is seen intensely training on a football field, surrounded by other players. He takes a break to hydrate himself with Pepsi, while the voice-over chants the campaign slogan, “Feelin Free”, asking the audience to join the Pepsi Generation.
Many other brands lured Pele to promote their services, one of which was the credit card company, American Express. In the ad, Pele is seen delivering a brief monologue promoting the American Express Card in his native Portuguese.
Possibly one of the most iconic ad campaigns that Pele was seen in has to be Louis Vuitton’s commercial for their fashion house. The ad was shot by acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz, in Malasana watering hole, Casa Maravillas in Madrid. Featuring Maradona, Zidane and Pele - three of the most iconic players in the history of football, the commercial saw the three come together to enjoy a game of foosball.
In 2014, Pele shared the screen with global icon, Cristiano Ronaldo, for Emirates in an ad. Titled “Connecting every fan of the game”, the commercial intelligently brought together two of the most popular football players from two different eras.
In the ad film, Ronaldo is seen mistaking the excitement and frenzy of a couple of football fans for himself, before Pele enters the scene and the two fans express their pleasure. Shortly after, the Brazilian legend is handed a camera by a modern football fan, who wishes to be clicked with the Portuguese superstar.
In 2002, Pele was Pfizer’s face for Viagra, a stigmatised drug aimed at treating erectile dysfunction. This collaboration brought Pele a lot of criticism, with many spectators finding the campaign distasteful.
Other endorsements that featured the Brazilian hero include the likes of Mastercard and Subway.