That’s what happens nine times out of ten when you mix a professional athlete, a local product/service, and a low-production budget for a commercial. We understand that associating one’s celebrity status with a given brand has proven successful over the years, but sometimes the local ad guys should consider leaving such endeavors to the Nikes and Pepsis of the world.
Then again, if the aim is to simply entertain, or to make your viewers furrow their brow in horrified confusion, consider these TV spots a resounding success. I’m sure there are more floating around out there; feel free to post a link in the comments or drop me an email and I’ll try to add them. Enjoy.
Rip Hamilton for the Rahmani Eye Institute
Rip Hamilton earns a lot of accolades for being one of the league’s most well-conditioned athletes, but very little is said about his apparently razor-sharp 20/20 vision, courtesy of Dr. Rahmani. That cornball, cartoon-like smile Ripster flashes at the :09-second mark is the high point of this gem… or is it that bangin’ hip-hop-meets-new-age beat? I was skeptical, but the in-office aquarium finally sold me.
Portland Trail Blazers Dancers for Thomason
Good lord: the Thomason Autogroup claims this is “the greatest auto dealer commercial of all time.” You be the judge. After seeing it, are you moved to check out Thomason.com, or to surrender the gift of hearing by gouging your ears out? And hey, isn’t that the guy from Kids in the Hall?
More awkward moments with pro athletes hawking local products after the jump…
Tayshaun Prince for Wallside Windows
“The Palace Prince” is a pretty laid-back guy. His teammates know it, and apparently the folks at Wallside Windows knew it too because it seems like somebody asked Tayshaun to show some pizazz, some enthusiasm, as he effuses about Wallside’s ability to “block unwanted drafts.” It doesn’t especially work. Cringe with me.
The Boston Celtics for Scotch ‘n Sirloin
Larry Bird, Bill Walton, and the rest of the gang are so psyched about the food at Scotch ‘n Sirloin (sounds like a great place) that they do the wave right at the dinner table. And everyone knows that nothing says “excitement” and “good times” like doing the wave.
Pau Gasol for Time Force
The casting of a “sexy Spainard” woman alongside Gasol and Rafael Nadal may mean there was a slightly bigger budget for this spot than some of these other ads, but it didn’t necessarily translate to a more persuasive ad. I will say, however, that I’ll always be a fan of lanky, goofy white guys on tiny tricycles. Always.
Chauncey Billups and Ben Wallace for Rock Financial
Fact: Mr. Big Shot and Big Ben are very bad actors. Very little is asked of them here: answer
that starched collar’s David Hall’s questions, act surprised at the KWAZY Utah suggestion, continue shaking heads in disbelief. Yet, they just can’t pull it off. Someone needs to get an acting coach over to Detroit because the awkwardness is apparently endemic…
Reggie Miller Likes to Read
Even the NBA chintzes on commercials from time to time. The sad thing is that Reggie is more convincing here in this uber-cheesy endorsement of reading than he is during his uber-cheesy commentary on TNT. (Reading is great though, kids. We promise it’s much cooler than Reggie makes it seem.)
Manu Ginobili for Gunn Auto
Manu Ginobili: smooth, self-assured, comfortable in front of the camera… and very, very unfunny. Midway through I’m not as much thinking about auto financing as I am about Jean-Claude Van Damme’s classic cinematic turn as both Alex and Chad Wagner in the 1991 thriller Double Impact. I’m still trying to figure out how he pulled that off; I mean, he played twin brothers? Damn he’s good.
Scottie Pippen for Mr. Submarine
This one has already made the rounds — and in fact we already posted it once — but it certainly deserves mention once more as one of the best low-budget local ads of all time. Amazing. Simply amazing.
Carmelo Anthony, Brendan Haywood, Etc for Eastern Motors
Careful: watch it more than twice and that jingle is going to be in your head all day. Big ups to the first commenter below for pointing out this one.