Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 15 October 2019

Mohamed Salah impressing Liverpool and Egypt fans with acting in new advert

He's starred in a host of recent adverts - and his latest for Mobil is a cracker

Mohamed Salah in his yoga pose during the Mobil advert.
Mohamed Salah in his yoga pose during the Mobil advert.

When footballers make the transition from pitch to film studio for advertisement purposes the result is usually a wooden performance.

Gone is the fluidity and grace seen while wearing their team's colours, instead replaced with a nervousness and lack of spontaneous emotion.

Watching Lionel Messi helping to sell something for 20 seconds can be a cringy experience, although he does look like he is trying.

Brazilian Neymar, ever the actor on the pitch, takes to being in front of the camera more naturally with a face made for dramatic expression.

And then there's Mohamed Salah, an increasing fixture on commercial breaks around the world as his star shines brighter and influence grows on the back of Champions League success for Liverpool this season, as well as admiration from within and beyond the Muslim population.

Salah's latest involvement is an advert for Mobil Super engine oil with the clip called "Moving Millions", and his performance is impressing many.

So, what's going on in the video?

In the advert, he starts with a game of foosball (table football) among a crowd of Liverpool fans, and after winning he celebrates with his tree-style yoga-pose celebration which he used after scoring in a 2-0 win over Chelsea in April. This pose is then copied by people in all walks of life, including children, yogees, and a group of Liverpool fans.

Salah is then seen reading a book called Protect What You Love with the Mobil symbol among the lettering on the cover. This is Mobil suggesting that its oil keeps cars running smoothly, while the idea of him reading and everyone else copying him and buying or downloading the book references a tweet he posted last year showing him buried in the Arabic version of a popular publication by writer Mark Manson.

It then cuts to a a clip of a recent interview he did with US journalist Taylor Rooks in which they discussed his hair. Cue children, women and men all trying to get the Salah "perm" look before he is caught looking at pictures of himself on a tablet while sat in a car.

The video finishes with art works of Salah being made, more yoga tree-posing and plenty of raucous celebrations.

The general message is that when Salah moves, millions move with him.

What's the reaction?

It's very positive, and rightly so. Salah comes across very well with his warm smile and relaxed body language. In fact, he looks happier in adverts than he does on the pitch where he was often seen appearing sullen during the past campaign.

Fans took to social media to voice their admiration for the Egyptian star, who turns 27 today.

What else has he starred in?

He's just appeared in an advert for Vodafone Egypt ahead of the African Cup of Nations, and while it's a bit cheesier than the Mobil effort, he's only going to win more fans as he's seen striding up the pitch and scoring a winning goal. Football played by actors for film and TV can be a bad idea as it is so difficult to replicate the real thing, but this one is bearable thanks to Salah's all-action display.

Before this there was the Pepsi advert with Lionel Messi where Salah was seen shooting a football through a tire.

And in January there was the saga with the DHL advert when he left social media, only to return a few days later with an epic three-minute advert for the logistics company which really pulled on the heart strings.

He must be paid an awful lot for all this marketing?

Too right. But he's earned it with his clean-cut image and success on the pitch with Liverpool.

Forbes magazine revealed last week that Salah was in its top 100 highest paid athletes of the year for the first time, ranking him at number 98.

Forbes puts Salah's earnings at $25.1 million a year (over Dh92m), with $16.1m of that coming from salary and winnings, and $9m from endorsements.

Salah signed a new five-year contract with Liverpool in July 2018 that "contains a base and bonus structure worth at least $15m a year," Forbes said.

He was, however, some way behind Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, who topped the rankings by raking in $127m via salary and endorsement deals.

Updated: June 16, 2019 01:50 PM

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