All professional athletes are terrible actors, right? Shaq had “Kazaam,” Michael Jordan had “Space Jam.” It turns out people who have dedicated their entire lives to becoming great at one thing tend to be complete oafs when it comes to portraying human emotions. This is what makes product endorsements so particularly bad for pro athletes. Many commercial directors try to circumvent this problem by coming up with high-concept ideas that are just as bad.
Here are some of my favorites, that also double as hilarious and mostly terrible.
1. Nike made a commercial about how awesome Troy Aikman is. Or did they make a commercial about the dangers of using a Greyhound bus? Why is this man sitting by himself just going off about how manly Aikman is? Who is he talking to? The whole thing makes me so uncomfortable. Can you imagine sitting next to some stranger on the bus, and they just go off on a tangent like this? I’d be running for the door on the very next stop.
2. “You know my Jason, when he wants something bad enough, there’s no point in trying to stop him.” This commercial just smacks of that small town, low-budget charm that local commercials are supposed to have, while totally pretending that it’s normal for a superstar millionaire to get his steaks from a grocery store butcher. Extra points for the insert of Witten chewing the steak with a completely blank look on his face.
3. Emmitt Smith is here to talk to you about the technology behind his cleats. If we break down what it is that Smith is saying is that the technology behind his Reebok shoes give him the confidence to perform well on the field. If we live in a world where will.i.am is giving Ted talks and talking about the technology in his own brand of headphones, then it’s likely due to Reebok giving Emmit Smith endorsement money to talk about shoe technology.
4. When I think of street basketball there’s only one name that comes to mind: JOE MONTANA. What were they thinking with this commercial? Why is Joe Montana in this commercial acting out every tube-socked dad in the Midwest’s ultimate fantasy? Who were they trying to sell these shoes to? I’ll tell you who, the same people who wear Skechers today.
Bonus: Even though Joe Montana was one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play football, his endorsements didn’t get any less lame after retirement.
5. There are two OJs! This whole time it was right under our noses! You can even see a flicker of rage at the end of this commercial. “Yo momma?” It sounds crazy, but if people believe we faked the moon landings, then how is this any less plausible?