I am beginning to realise that getting older involves a series of introspective ‘have I grown up or is everything getting worse’ type questions, but I swear football adverts used to be boss. What happened to the Brazil team nutmegging each other (settle down at the back) in a changing room or airport, or Eric Cantona presiding over a world class 5-a-side cage match? Why replace that with some bloke telling the world that he sees football as an exercise in adding up the number of throw-ins? This guy doesn’t need media exposure, he needs a girlfriend.
Anyway, since I’ve created this literary mast, I may as well nail my colours to it early doors: I love the Jordan Henderson Nivea for Men advert. Even though it contains no football, it’s a proper football advert, a throwback to the days when you could just film a player doing a thing and then tell us that we should do it too. It doesn’t try to make sense because sense is for people that don’t use Nivea for Men anyway.
If you’ve somehow managed not to see this masterpiece on telly yet, we begin with Liverpool trio Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and Simon Mignolet in the changing rooms of a… gym? Or maybe Anfield? Anyway, the unfeasibly dench Henderson is just indulging his pits with a hearty spritz of N4M when his phone vibrates with a text message to tell him he’s late. He relays this message to Sterling and Mignolet – who are clearly expected at the same event – and the three don their proverbial skates. All good so far.
The players then rush from the gym (or Anfield) and, here’s where it gets weird, they make their way to the 6th floor of a multi-story carpark, even though none of them arrived by car. Let that sink in, they were at least a car journey away from their scheduled engagement, for which they were already late, they were planning to travel to this engagement on foot, and they headed immediately for the 6th floor of a pissing carpark?! Also, why didn’t one of them drive to the gym (or Liverpudlian football stadium) in the first place, especially in view of this direct link to a practically empty multi-story? Maybe there’s a congestion charge in Liverpool or something, I can’t be bothered to check.
Upon arrival at the 6th floor of a carpark, they accost a startled gent in an unreliable 3-wheeler which is entirely too miniscule for Henderson’s aforementioned illogical shoulders, and set off by way of a slapstick jump-start. Luckily, upon arrival, it becomes clear that Nivea’s scientists have dreamt up a formula which keeps Henderson fresh throughout the group’s travails and the crowd of paparazzi and autograph hunters on the red carpet are excited to meet him, Sterling and… Simon Mignolet?
I get that maybe this is a Liverpool FC awards ceremony or something, in which case it is completely understandable that Mignolet would be a guest of honour. But the grasp on reality so far has been limited enough that I feel comfortable breaking kayfabe and asking, why cast Simon Mignolet? Aside from the fact that Mignolet looks like Tara Palmer-Tomkinson that time after ALL of the charlie, he was Liverpool’s second choice keeper until relativelt recently. Second choice to Brad Jones. Brendan “Shane Warne” Rodgers had in fact given Jones the nod to replace Mignolet full-time until it became clear that Jones was actually mortally afraid of footballs. That said, I love the ‘advert week on The Apprentice’ feel that his inclusion brings to the table, and I like to imagine him ringing all his mates to boast when he got the call.
My point, which is rapidly getting away from me, is that this advert is excellent. I would happily agree for this to be the only advert which is ever shown until the end of time if it means no more Bearded Calculator nonsense. Maybe one day Henderson and tortilla chip/shampoo spokesman Joe Hart can join forces in some more strangely low budget advertisements. Maybe those two and Peter Crouch fighting over sofas in DFS, or pinging Hot Wheels cars at Tim Sherwood’s face? I charge by the hour.