OTG Awards: Endorser of the Year
It’s hard to watch television and not see a commercial featuring a NBA star. Some are good actors, others, well, aren’t.
Now I know the NBA does a great job holding press conferences and handing out big trophies for deserving players. Even the NBPA wanted to get fancy and hand out their “Players Awards” on BET (guess they weren’t that fancy). With everyone seemingly giving away awards, we here at Off the Glass decided we wanted to hand out hardware (but not really) to celebrate accomplishments from the past NBA season.
For our third award in the OTG awards series, we asked four super dope staff members:
Who in the NBA was the 2014-15 endorser of the year?
Brett Carroll – It’s Foot Locker and Jordan Brand’s “Are you Ready to Fly?” commercial with Russell Westbrook. It was hilarious! It literally tackled every cliché in sports ads. Even if you weren’t a sports fan, you could watch this commercial and be in on the joke.
Foot Locker is notorious for their commercials that tackle other sports commercial clichés, but this one took the cake. Westbrook’s smug and sarcastic demeanor was perfect and the use of the excited teenager really made the contrast great. I really wanted to go with Foot Locker’s “Week of Greatness” commercial with Derrick Rose and Tim Duncan, but I’m going to stick with Westbrook because it’s a joke that more people could get in on.
Vinnie Rullo – The LeBron James Re-Established by Beats commercial exemplifies the importance of the King returning to his throne. The viewer is immediately invested, as the powerful "Take me to Church" by Hozier echoes in the background while LeBron pushes himself to his limit. We get a glimpse into the mind of the King as childhood memories serve as motivation in his quest to strive for greatness.
Inspirational narration throughout by Gloria James illustrates the special relationship between a single mother and her son. This was one of the best commercials of the year because it showcases LeBron’s impact on Ohio, and Ohio’s impact on LeBron.
Jay Christian – As regional manager of the OTG Northwest branch, I am biased towards Damian Lillard’s “Signature Celebrity” Foot Locker spot with none other than Mr. Showbiz himself, Nick Cannon. For the uninitiated, Lillard is approached by Nick Cannon about becoming the Blazers’ signature courtside celebrity (think Spike Lee in Birkenstocks or Jack Nicholson in Flannel). Needless to say, Dame is not initially impressed with this proposition, and for good reason – I mean, All That was a long, long time ago (Google it, kids).
He soon has a change of heart, however, when he scans the room and realizes that his other options are Joey Fatone, Humpty Hump, and Ian Ziering aka Steve “Effing” Sanders, all in cameo roles. Ignoring for a second the fact that all of these guys are randomly in the same room at any time, the ad nonetheless hits the mark with a bit of humor and ‘90s nostalgia.
Tom Piccolo – The most interesting part of this roundtable will be seeing who comes up with the second best endorsement of the year because the number one spot is locked up. Alone at the apex of the 2015 spokesman mountain stands one hulking Russian man with nothing but his love for craft beers and traditional bar fare. All the pretty words in the world won’t do it justice, so just enjoy:
A quick recap of the first three seconds:
0:01 – Oh, were you hoping to settle into this commercial? Your eyes barely focus on the scene when an arm violently rejects the competitor’s banal plate of grub more disrespectfully than an Iggy floater.
0:02 – Pan up to a stoic Timofey Mozgov rocking a backwards jersey
0:03 – Mozgov utters his now famous line, “Get this weak stuff outta here!”
I’ll give you a moment to catch your breath. The remainder of the commercial is filled with a mostly unintelligible pitch from Mozgov who can’t help but sneak a peek or two at the cue cards. The unintentional comedy here is off the charts. You begin to wonder if the commercial has a self-awareness to it (upon further review, it does not).
This commercial is obviously important, but why?
In a league where the value of traditional centers is arguably at an all-time low, this ad stands for something quite to the contrary. The services of traditional centers are still wanted (and needed) to boost revenue at local watering holes in blue collar towns across the country.
Think about it – LeBron, Kyrie, and Kevin Love don’t have the capacity to star in local spots in addition to their nationally broadcast commercials for chocolate milk, etc. They need Mozgov to do this dirty work so they have time to send $140k tweets. Similarly, the Cavs’ Big Three need Mozgov to take on the burden of playing center throughout an 82-game season to alleviate the physical toll on guys like LeBron and Kevin. If I had another 1000 words, I’d be able to dissect this Brew Garden ad. In the meantime, just know that Mozgov’s stock is rising about as quickly as the Brew Garden’s profits. Despite the small-ball trend, this NBA big man will be just as fine as the spirits he advertises.