So things aren't going all that awesome for the Packers right now. They're 1-2, they've at times looked completely out of synch, opposing players are taking cheap shots and, ‘Packers player with a hamstring injury' might be this year's most popular Halloween costume in Green Bay. Simply throw on a jersey, limp around and voilà. That said, there's one area where the Packers collectively, might be more successful than any other team out there:
Seriously, these guys are hawking products like Billy Mays right now. On one end, I suppose it speaks to the popularity of the Packers that so many players are involved. After all, companies want their brand associated with success and let's just say that unless it's endorsing a depression hotline, I don't think many camera crews are lining up outside the Jaguars facility right now. On the other hand, the oversaturation of commercial exposure inevitably gets old. I don't consider myself a violent person by any stretch but if I were to see the Pizza Hut bro's walking down the street, I can't make any promises. However, there have been some real winners among the Packers commercials over the years. As someone with an advertising background, I thought I'd take a look at some of the better ones to get us through the doldrums of this weekend's bye.
Brett Favre - Sears
Because they still run today and their overall frequency over the last decade, most people remember Favre for his Wrangler jeans commercials where Favre throws a football and gets dirty and tackles his buddies in the mud and just has a good ol' time wearing Wrangler jeans. Basically, it's the modern version of the volleyball scene from the movie Top Gun. But when Favre came back from retirement to play with the Vikings, he brought a new, self-deprecating view of himself that made him - even in the twilight of his career - as marketable as ever. Hyundai also keyed in on this, but it was in a dramatized way that not only made it blend in with every other football/beer n' wings commercial out there, but seemed out of character for the Hyundai brand. This Sears spot though, was perfect. It's subtle and puts Favre in an everyday situation, making him more personable and human, while still playing up his quirks. Namely, his indecisiveness.
Aaron Rodgers - State Farm (original)
Here's the thing about commercials. Creatively speaking, they're hard to make into multiple versions. By now, that's probably evident to most people as the State Farm/Aaron Rodgers campaign is running on fumes. Granted, the latest one featuring Da Bears fans ain't half bad but I think I speak for most when I say I wouldn't be terribly upset if that fat, redheaded stalker and embellished representation of a Packers fan just flew clear off the wing of that plane. That said, the original iteration in this series was actually pretty great. Rodgers' belt thing was just taking off and Rodgers himself is given a manageable role. What carries this spot in my opinion though is the woman. Not only is she (or her husband) not star struck, she's outright pacifying. It's a nice comedic moment that shows Rodgers - a guy known for his supreme confidence - getting knocked down a few pegs.
Wisconsin State Lottery
One of the truisms of sports and fandom is that at some point, no matter how composed we fancy ourselves, we turn into blubbering idiots devoid of any self-awareness. That's not a knock, either. What other event not only allows, but celebrates someone willing to shave a team logo into their back hair? That's what I like about this spot for the Wisconsin State Lottery. Not only does it show you don't need a player or celebrity to make a good sports commercial, but it shows fans doing what they do best - geeking out over their team. There's no hiding in the locker room to steal a player's game socks or other fake situations. It just plays up what most of us would do if we were given free reign with our buddies at Lambeau Field. I'm all for the obscure stuff (see also: Old Spice) but the authenticity of this commercial for me wins out.
Jordy Nelson - Travel Wisconsin
Full disclosure - I hated this commercial when I first saw it. First off, the Wizard of Oz has been done no fewer than 6,328,419 times in commercials. Second, no one was ever going to mistake Jordy Nelson for Brad Pitt in the first place, but my God Jordy. His acting is borderline uncomfortable. But the more I watch it, the more Nelson's goofiness grows on me. The spot itself has a high production value which makes up for its lack of an original concept, but ultimately, it's Nelson that carries it. It's one of those commercials that you just can't help but watch every time it's on, even if it's to make sure you weren't hallucinating that you saw something so bad the last time it was on. Again though, I like the commercial now (I think). I'm not sure it'd make me want to visit Wisconsin (in terms of tourism, Michigan's ‘Pure Michigan' campaign crushes this) but Nelson is magnetic and endearing, and hey, there's worse things you could say about most commercials these days.
Clay Matthews - Fathead
I'm not really sure what I need to say other than ‘Clay Matthews with a mustache' to describe what makes this commercial so amazing. Fathead previously did a commercial with Matthews that in my opinion, was a cheap knockoff of every Old Spice/Gillette/Alpha Male commercial that dominated the airwaves in 2011. This though, is a thing of beauty. Not only is the writing fantastic (burglar cats!) but Fathead did something rather brilliant with the concept of this ad in the first place. They wrapped the whole idea of the spot around the inherent cheesiness of the athlete spokesperson. Matthews in turn, delivers flawlessly. Unlike their previous commercial that required Matthews to act, this feels more like Matthews just screwing around, doing a bit he might play up in front of his friends. It feels loose and genuine and like the original Aaron Rodgers/State Farm commercial, positions Matthews as a down to earth guy, not above making ridiculous suggestions and being a goofball. Good job, Fathead.
What's your favorite Packer commercial?
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