Commercial Breakdown

The WGC Accenture Matchplay is being played this week and justifiably it is receiving a lot of air time on the Golf Channel here in the United States. This abundance of TV golf may appear to be a god send for the average golf fan, but in reality so much TV golf can be a double-edged sword.

The reason I say this is because plenty of time in front of the box watching the best in the world go at it on the greens also means putting up with an extraordinary amount of bad commercials. And you don’t have to be a regular watcher of TV golf to know how painful that can be.

It seems you can’t sit through a commercial break on the Golf Channel these days without being bombarded with commercials plugging financial companies (new advice: bury your money in the backyard) and erectile dysfunction pills. But scattered amongst these below average plugs there are some real gems of commercials, you just might have to sit there a while to find them.

Ping have a collection of ads right now that are very humorous with not a star golfer in sight. The basic premise of these ads sees a regular club golf become oblivious to their lack of ability because they are wielding one of Pings’ new drivers or putters. The best of this lot sees average Joe club player smacking a drive down the middle of the fairway, his playing partner offering an obligatory, “Good shot”. The player then goes into a rant about how well he is playing with his new Ping driver and is thus thinking about turning pro, getting is card and playing in all the majors. His partner, trying to add a dash of reality, asks what he is going to do about his job, his 401K, his kids’ college tuition etc. Average Joe replies deadpan, “Exactly. One good year and that’s all taken care of.” The voice over then comes on abruptly and implores Average Joe to not give up his day job. “Those guys will eat your lunch.” he says.

This commercial is great for a couple of reasons. The delivery of both actors is sensational for one, but it’s the small details of the ad that make it truly excellent. Average Joe is dressed head-to-toe in black for one, sporting a Ping baseball cap and mock turtleneck. In contrast, his partner has on a nondescript polo shirt and kakis with no cap. But the icing on the cake is the partners’ moustache. It is a solid handlebar, worn without a hint of irony, both serious and hilarious at the same time. It is a gem of a commercial, funny on all levels while still pushing the product.

Nike has long been the standard bearer for great golf commercials and with the greatest player in the game as their muse, it’s hard for them not to be. Who could forget Tiger juggling a ball on his club for 30 seconds, moving it around his body and between his legs before smashing it baseball-style down the driving range a good 200 yards away?

And Tiger has many great commercials in his back catalogue, both for Nike and his other companies. Tiger moonlighting as Carl from Caddyshack for American Express is one of his better ones. While his acting chops might not earn him a SAG award, he does a pretty good Bill Murray impression and the set design is a dead on in spoofing the greatest golf movie of all time. Even Tigers’ outtakes are good. A quick youtube search will also show a Buick ad with an over enthusiastic fan running onto the practice range, loading his arms with Tiger’s range balls and golf bag and making a break for it. In the commercial Tiger was supposed to simply yell at his assailant as he runs away, but Tiger instead improvises the scene, chases the fan down and crash tackles him bag and all. The commercial has become a viral hit with over 2 million hits on youtube.

But the best of Tiger’s current commercials captures the feeling surrounding his comeback perfectly. It’s a Nike ad depicting Nike’s other poster boys, Justin Leonard, Stewart Cink, Anthony Kim and Trevor Immelman living it up on the tour in Tiger’s absence. They smile as they dominate the tour, going from stop to stop, grabbing headlines and collecting trophies along the way. The four of them are hanging around the locker room, laughing hysterically at their good fortune when the great man himself walks in the room for the first time. Their smiles quickly turn to serious frowns. The message is simple- the party’s over. He’s back.

This is one of my current favorites but I’m sure you have a few of your own. It surely must be difficult to make a commercial that is both funny and informative, especially in a game like golf that can be so serious at times. I, for one, am just going to have to accept that there are going to be many more boring commercials than there are good ones. As long as Tiger is around, there will be something worth watching between the action. Let’s just hope he doesn’t start plugging Cialis any time soon.

One Response to “Commercial Breakdown”

  1. Richard Conway says:

    😛 Brilliant, very funny a great start to the working week.
    Regards Richard.

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