During the last World Cup, in 2014, Singapore’s National Council on Problem Gambling ran a public service announcement (PSA) that was ridiculed all over the world. With South Korea’s crushing and completely unexpected defeat of the former World Cup holders last night, it looks like that PSA from four years ago might have had a valid point after all.
In the commercial from four years ago, a group of young friends are in high spirits, discussing their favorite football teams, and who they think will emerge as that year’s World Cup winners. One little boy named Andy is seen to be very sad, and when asked why, he says that he wants Germany to win, since Andy’s father apparently bet all of Andy’s savings on them.
The mood of the commercial grows noticeably more somber, and a caption is seen as the commercial ends, which reads, “Often, the people who suffer from problem gambling aren’t the gamblers.”
The ad would have sent a very effective message, except that Germany emerged as the big winner of that year’s tournament, causing the ad to backfire badly. The commercial was ridiculed all over the world, and was even featured derisively in a popular show on HBO in the United States, John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight.
Parodies of the PSA were also produced, poking fun at the ad’s misbegotten prediction.
But yesterday’s match proved the PSA to be eerily prescient for this year’s outcome. Heavily favored Germany was expected to go all the way to the finals of this year’s World Cup, with a team considered to be strong contenders for back-to-back World Cup titles for 2014 and 2018. After losing a disappointing first game to Mexico, the German Mannschaft rallied and beat Sweden last Saturday, June 23, 2 to 1. This raised the odds for the team to win the championships 7-1.
Unfortunately for the Germans, the South Korean team shattered their expectations, making this the first time since 1938 that the German team did not advance past the first round.
Perhaps now would be a good time for the NCPG to consider showing the PSA again. Netizens certainly seem to think so.