Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Puma does the World Cup ad better, with African footballers and fans, Gnarls Barkley and Kehinde Wiley

Contrast the above (and its soundtrack) with Nike's bloated ad, which is seasoned with the most tired forms of machismo and sexism. Here there are even a few girls and women, presented not as sex objects or football failures, but as fans and players (asking the boys to give her the ball!). This ad, furthermore, is actually about African soccer. 

Even crazier (in a good way), is another Puma video made with Kehinde Wiley - a gay African American painter, celebrated for his brilliant and compelling portraits of Black men. Puma commissioned Wiley to make a World Cup poster and to design an "unity" shirt for Africa (below).  Wiley makes portraits in which his subjects adopt the pose of classic works of art (such as Renaissance paintings, portraits of Catholic saints, African statues). 

Below is a video about the making of this work, in which Wiley seems to be falling in love with the beautiful game, and in which we meet actual African players (Eto'o!), who speak in their own words about the sport and the African game.

Thank you Stephen, for bringing these to my attention! As he points out in his comments to the Nike post, these Puma ads are not without their politics, but they are far more interesting.


  1. It's also a refreshingly upbeat vision of Africa.

  2. I'm so glad I came across this blog. I'm most happy to see that you took a true left wing stance on the Iran girls team hijab issue. This blog is very refreshing after seeing all the everyday neo-liberal hypocrisy.

  3. I still like the Nike Ad. But the Puma one is awesome! The kids doing stepovers in the dusty street - great image.

  4. Really interesting hearing you talk about the Nike ad and other analysis on the KPFK World Cup program tonight. Looking forward to future programs. But was v. disappointed to not hear South Africa mentioned at all (okay, just once.) SA is in so many ways a microcosm of many of the themes that you, Alan M & the other guest brought up tonight - re: globalism, economic impacts, race/class/colonialism and of course women & sport. Never mind that it's the host country! Hope you'll all remedy this in future programs. thanks

  5. Of course we will - it will be a weekly program, so stay tuned. Thanks for listening. BTW - check out the journal Soccer & Society - they did a recent double issue on South Africa. Well worth seeking out!


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