I love athletes in commercials. Even the most awkward athlete acting job is must watch TV for me. So when an athlete is genuinely funny, it’s an even bigger plus in my book. So, here’s a new feature on the site we’re gonna call Athletes And Ads, where we’ll watch a new commercial or see a new advertisement featuring sports figures and grade the athlete in the piece and the company’s success in getting their message across.
One athlete who is killing it in any ad he appears in is Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin in his recent Kia Optima ads. He and his time-traveling sedan go back to various points in Blake’s childhood to give various life, basketball, fashion, and of course, car advice. After practicing free throws in the New Jack Swing era of 1995, punting footballs for forever and dissing jean shorts in ’97, Blake blasts some Eiffel 65 and travels to 1999 to talk to his younger self once again.
ATHLETE: Blake Griffin
This is my favorite Blake Griffin ad of all time. I think the Kia ads the past two years have been an overall hit, and Blake is a tremendous pitchman, but his timing is best in this 41 second spot. While there’s no “Is that your spaceship?” gem of a line, the following interaction is pure gold:
’99 Blake: “But all you do is dunk in that game.”
Future Blake: “… (whisper with a wink) Bingo!”
Also, attention all GIF producers: If someone can make one of Blake riding the mechanical horse for me, the Internet, and the world, that’d be just great. Right Blake?
COMPANY: Kia Motors
Kia and Blake have had a strong partnership since Blake first signed on with the company and jumped over one of their cars to win the 2011 Slam Dunk Contest. As I said, I love Blake in the commercials and the scripted material is a huge reason behind that. But the message of the commercials is very soft, the selling of the actual car! I had to look up the name of the Optima before writing the whole blog about it because no one’s paying attention to the name of the model. People just know these as the spaceship, time travel Blake Griffin car ads. Kia needs to find some way to still be funny, which is easy to do with a guy who’s comfortable on camera in Blake, while getting a little more out of their time in the commercial. Because all I can tell you about this car is that the thing can apparently travel through time when talking to the stereo system in the commercials. Honestly, you just watched the ad. What did Blake say about the car?… It’s cool, I’ll wait.
WINNER (Between athlete and ad): Blake Griffin
It’s gonna be tough for a commercial to be good and perform better than the athletes because most of the time, the athlete will make or break an ad. But leave a vote below and if you disagree, vote for who you thought performed better, Blake or Kia.