If you haven’t seen any of Timofey Mozgov’s soon-to-be-infamous local commercials for something called the Brew Garden, do yourself a favor and check it out now. You’ll be very happy you did. You can find it right here.
Amazing, isn’t it? Of course, this is hardly one of the first terrible local commercials a pro athlete has done, and it certainly won’t be the last. That said, these days the rift between big national ad campaigns and tiny Ma-and-Pa production is bigger than ever before. Even though the production values are getting closer together, local commercials just look so…cheap. Which is why most athletes stay away from them.
However, there are all sorts of reasons to get suckered in. Not just the money (which can’t be THAT much, actually), but there’s also a possible relationship with the proprietor, or just the fact that you can knock this thing out in an hour and get back to you video games.
And yet these things have incredible staying power. They don’t get any less hilarious, or more dignified, with age. So take a look at the nine worst local commercials starring pro athletes. Could these be considered among the worst local commercials of all-time, regardless of who’s starring in them? Yes. They most definitely could.
He seems like he’s ACTUALLY having fun here, doesn’t he? Yup. He sure does. Why? Everything about this seems terrible. Maybe he didn’t think this would see the light of day, and it’s easy to see why he assumed that. This commercial looks like crap, and the production values seem limited to whatever a first-gen BlackBerry could produce. My guess is that the producers of the ad just drugged him, had him mumble his lines, then dumped him by the side of the highway, assuming he’d never remember the ad, anyway.
9. Alexander Ovechkin Sings to Sell Cars
If you required a little more proof that Joe Flacco was still a little shy of being a top-tier quarterback, here it is. He’s wearing a Pizza Hut shirt, in front of a terrible a green screen, and making labored dialogue (“He caught it!”). Acting and a role like this makes Jerry Jones look like Lawrence Olivier. The commercial is also a scant 15 seconds or so, which makes me think that Flacco can’t even fake it for 15 more seconds without mucking things up.
8. Joe Flacco Hams It up for Pizza Hut
Wes Welker is just the caliber of athlete that you would expect to do a local ad. Boston is just the kind of market that would air it. And Bob’s Discount Furniture is just the name of the place that would hire him and product the commercial. It’s a perfect storm of predictability that results in one awfully predictable and terribly awesome ad.
7. Wes Welker for Bob’s Discount Furniture
Boston’s a pretty special market. It seems that all the fans have a cult-like knowledge of their local sports advertisers, and athletes are expected to do at least a few of these crappy ads. Like Larry Bird, who was arguably the biggest NBA star in the world when he did this 1985 ad for Rodman Motors. He’s a terrible pitchman, but that sorta makes him great. I could actually imagine him settling up at the end of the shoot and going, “No. Screw the money. I want the Escort, dammit.”
6. Larry Bird Gets in a Ford Escort
Jason Campbell won’t go down in history in any real sense. He wasn’t a great quarterback, and as this ad for Easton Motors shows, he was perhaps negative in the charm department as well. Of course, he was fairly young (and dumb) when he did this ad, which makes me think that a team should have some sort of veto power over younger players’ appearances and promotions. The dancing Indian chief is bad enough when it’s representing a pro sports team. No need to leverage that caricature any further when it comes to selling cars.
5. Jason Campbell Gets Pretty Racist in this Redskins Car Ad
It’s hard to remember a time when Alex Rodriguez wasn’t “A-ROD.” But if you think back to his early days before the huge contract in Texas, you might be able to get there. Here, we see A-Rod doing a local ad for Seattle’s Wood Hardware. You can tell it’s a demeaning local ad because it requires the star to wear his uniform. If you’re every required to eat a sandwich, browse a hardware store, or stand in any sort of line while in your uniform, you’re in a bad commercial.
4. A-Rod Goes to the Hardware Store
I can’t really fault Walter Payton for getting in on this one. It was a long time ago, and Chicago is one of the few market that actually warrants local ads. However, those cars he’s driving are just the pits. And those heartless jerks are making me pick BETWEEN a two-tone paint job and a vinyl roof? I want both, you monsters!!! Great running back, terrible guy when it comes to deciding which ads to do. I think they could have tossed in a couple dozen of those Buicks, and it still would have been a bad deal for Walter.
3. Walter Payton Drives Some Terribly Old Buicks
It’s not a stretch to call Marshawn Lynch one of the most popular and well-liked players in the NFL. That stems largely from his overt shyness about speaking to the media. However, he doesn’t seem to have an issue making appearances on his own terms. Otherwise, how could you explain this commercial for Beacon Plumbing in which Beast Mode shoves his hands down some plumbing holes and flirt with some kids’ hot mom. I mean, I’m sure you’re a big Hawks fan, but do you really want their star runner to be fixing your toilet? Yuck.
2. Marshawn Lynch Will Fix Your Plumbing (and Probably Sleep with Your Wife)
Gold. Sure, the production values might be a little higher than in the days of your, but seeing (at the time) Raven Haloti Ngata dressed up like a big yellow sun to scare us into weatherstripping is just a really good time. There’s no reason why Haloti Ngata would be compelled to dress up like a rappin’ sun and tell people about a local window and glass distributor, but maybe he’s just a regular dude who likes doing goofy stuff all the time. And if he can get paid for it, all the better, right?
1. Haloti Ngata Dresses Up Like the Sun to Amuse Us, Sell Windows
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