The World Cup is the biggest sporting event humanity has to offer, and that means attempts to cash in on its popularity have to reach for an extra level of shameless in order to stand out. The creators of these items didn’t let little problem like “Our industry has nothing to do with soccer” or “We don’t actually know what the World Cup is” slow them down, so let’s take a moment to gawk at their baffling miscalculations.
10. Boxing Gloves
You know how baseball stadiums sell those little novelty bats and helmets? You can actually get miniature toys based on almost every sport, and to celebrate the massive international festival of football one company naturally manufactured miniature, uh, boxing gloves.
What? Either there’s an obscure tiebreaker in soccer that we’re woefully unfamiliar with, or the sellers have the worst misunderstanding of a sport since we golfed sober. They can’t even be bothered to sell their idiotic merchandise properly, because the Serbian gloves you see above are described as Croatian.
We could understand not being up to speed on your flags, but it says Serbia right there. It’s like the sellers are subconsciously apologising for their terrible idea by convincing potential buyers that they’re too stupid to successfully complete a transaction. If you bought boxing gloves from them you’d get a package containing a half-eaten bag of Cheetos and a swarm of angry bees.
9. Toilet Paper
If you need your toilet paper to be decorated before you’ll consider using it you’re either a toddler or, based on the sellers of this product, Irish. There’s a new stereotype, you potato eating drunks.
We’d be tempted to write this off as a gag gift if it weren’t for the fact that there are over a dozen designs. That takes it beyond the realm of novelty and into a bizarre world of fetishes that we’re not comfortable entering. Anyone who associates “Goal!!” with defecating is either a coprophiliac or trying to litter box train their cat.
What’s sad is that they didn’t even bother to come up with good slogans. Like dropping number two from the roster. Or ply fair. Getting a brown card. Playing the sweeper. Float one into the box. Those took us like eight seconds. You’re welcome, Ireland.
8. Wearable Flag
Even if your only experience watching the World Cup came from flipping through ESPN on your way to Cake Boss reruns, you’ve probably noticed that the stadiums have as many flags as they do people. With that in mind, English supermarket chain Asda came up with the clever idea of creating a wearable flag. That’s just the sort of novelty that will catch the eye of people waiting in line and… oh. Oh dear.
That’s not good. Not seeing the problem? Try a different angle.
Their wearable flag looks an awful lot like the outfit of a group that isn’t a big fan of the World Cup’s multiculturalism. You have to feel bad for Asda, because if they were representing literally any other country in the tournament you wouldn’t end up with colours that make it look like the only pitch the wearer is interested in is the kind that can be used to start cross burnings.
But you’ll stop being sympathetic when you learn that their argument in defence of their product is to plug their ears, claim there are absolutely no racial connotations, and hey, aren’t you the one who’s a bigot for bringing race into this innocent matter? You may recognise that as the Daniel Snyder defence, and you almost certainly recognise the fact that it’s about as effective as a soccer player’s diving instructor.
Team based underwear makes for surprisingly popular merchandise, and while we don’t quite see the appeal of covering your shame with a basketball playing leprechaun or a flaming C that you’ll have to keep insisting doesn’t stand for chlamydia, there’s certainly nothing wrong with it.
We’d just like to point out that the design of Joe Boxer’s Brazilian trunks make it look like “Ordem e Progresso” is the official motto of your penis. And while we admit that “Order and Progress” is an unusually noble slogan for a man’s genitalia to abide by, it’s not exactly one that generates a lot of sex appeal. Or any appeal.
There are four varieties: “Classic Man” and “Classic Woman” for the adult crowd, and “Passion Man” and “Passion Woman” for younger folks, because we all know that young kids are constantly having passionate sex while “classic” is just code for “old,” at least in the sitcom universe FIFA’s licensing team stepped out of.
A review describes Classic Man as “a refreshing cocktail of oriental, fruity, woody and spicy aromas with a lemony top note from bergamot, lime, pink pomelo and a harmony of green leaves,” scents which we’re pretty sure make you less interested in sports just by reading about them, never mind wearing them.
Oh, but then the review goes on to note that there are also hints of nutmeg, tonka beans and “the warm base note of cedarwood.” Never mind, that’s the smell of soccer right there. They nailed it.
With all sorts of men running around smelling like cedarwood with their progressive penises in order, World Cup seduction is inevitable. And whether it’s soccer or sex, you should always play safe.
These special World Cup edition condoms are yellow and green, the colours of the Brazilian flag and of absolutely no penis ever, hopefully. They’re designed to taste like a Caipirinha, an iconic Brazilian cocktail, a pun that the media has either completely failed to pick up on or has stoically ignored in the name of serious journalism.
So go ahead and lick your lover’s mutant coloured genitals because they’ll taste just like a refreshing beverage, aside from the minor fact that the delicious alcohol has been replaced with latex. And please, for the sake of us all, refrain from yelling “goal!” upon penetration.
4. Versace Shirt
Shirts are the quintessential sporting souvenir. The simple concept of slapping a country’s flag onto some cotton is difficult to ruin, but the heroic designers at Versace (otherwise known as that brand you keep hearing in rap lyrics but will never wear in your life) found a way.
Yeesh. It looks like they combined a postcard of Brazil with a seizure. If that’s not bad enough, they’re charging 400 pounds for the privilege of wearing this fashion vomit. It’s part of their “Versace Loves Brazil” campaign, a phrase which could only be further from the truth if these shirts were made from the fibres of illegally logged rainforest trees. Maybe the exorbitant price is to help pay for the lawsuit brought forth by blinded sweatshop workers.
3. Twosie Jersey
English clothing store Primark made a jersey featuring “Dream Team” written on the back, and while that’s just begging for a cheap shot there’s a much more pressing issue here.
It’s a shirt designed for either two people, conjoined twins, or irradiated mutants, and we’re pretty sure the latter two wouldn’t be caught dead in this monstrosity. “Two of you can team up and watch the game!” Primark says. You know how else people could team up to watch the game? By sitting next to each other in normal clothes. A more accurate advertisement would be “Two of you can look like attention seeking morons! Perfect for those who care more about making a scene than enjoying the sport!”
This un-jersey is sold in the women’s section, because somehow people still think that women can only be convinced to watch sports if fashion statements are involved. It takes a lot to make a “Nice Tackle” Barbie shirt look stupid, but we’ll be damned if they didn’t find a way.
2. Flower Bouquet
Speaking of patronising women, here are some flowers!
Congratulations, ladies! You can officially get excited about the World Cup now that it’s feminine. The wrapper says “Come on England!” in case you forgot who you were supposed to cheer for, so don’t you worry your pretty little heads about having to remember that.
We admit that it’s a nice looking bouquet, but if you want flowers, just go buy some flowers. Until the World Cup of Flower Arrangement rolls around, combining flowers and sport just looks tacky. What would the context for giving these even be? “Sorry I’ll be living at the pub for the next month”? You’ll have to do better than flowers for that, bub.
1. Music Video
In 1998, the Vengaboys released a song called “To Brazil.” Given that you probably haven’t heard of the song and are at best passingly familiar with the group, it’s safe to say it wasn’t a hit. Sensing a chance to try again this year, the group remixed the song, called it “2 Brazil,” and released a softcore porno disguised as a music video.
The three minute film consists entirely of jiggling breasts covered in pasties that are occasionally vaguely related to soccer, because it’s a stereotype that Brazil is full of sexy women in tiny bikinis and their research started and stopped at remembering what a Brazilian wax is. It’s like minimalist expressionism for idiots. The video should end with Christ the Redeemer looking down on them in disappointment.
The group claims “2 Brazil” is the “Surprise World Cup Anthem,” a claim we have to doubt considering it’s just them shouting “Brazil!” and “Sao Paulo!” in-between generic chanting and references to sexy dancing in favelas. So there you go, Brazil. Your rich culture and history, your modern social strife… it’s all been condensed into a three minute ode to topless women. Who would have thought that Pit Bull’s official World Cup song could be made to look nuanced?