Good ads count.

Listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, I KNOW, OK? Nike is a big bad company and commercials are poisoning our children and Adbusters and Naomi Klein and everything etc. bah blah blah. Additionally, I have no clue what the Nike Fuelband is and I’m sure it’s stupid and I really don’t care. But I am amazed by the folks at Wieden+Kennedy and how they just consistently crank out ads that are both really visually interesting and not cheesy and JUST emotionally manipulative enough to get you excited without feeling TOTALLY gross.

I mean, did you see this one yet?  IT HAS DAVID BRENT IN IT.

I don’t know anything about marketing or video production or any of this stuff, but one day I will work for W+K. Even if it means I have to live in Portland.

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The ESPYs, 2011

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Prior to blogging about last year’s show I had never bothered to watch the ESPYs.  I mean, it’s the ESPYs, right?  Come on, ESPN, the ESPYs?  What a stupid name!!  Plus, why do we need an award show for sports?  I’m pretty sure we already have awards for sports.  You know, like MVPs and championships.

But then I watched them, and wow, it was a lot of fun!  Mostly because of all the great montages.  I love a good montage, and ESPN is really good at putting them together.  Plus, Seth Meyers is hosting, there is sure to be a bunch of weird, awkward celebrity/athlete pairings, and it’s a slow Wednesday night.  What else do I have going on?  I’m in.

The ESPYs are also perfect for the award show winner-picking competition between my wife Johanna and I, because she has absolutely no idea what’s going on.  She claimed not to have heard of any of the boxers until I pronounced Manny Pacquiao’s name for her, and she’s currently Googling the names in the “Best Jockey” category.  As I said last year, if I don’t win this one, it’ll be embarrassing.

As always, in addition to blindly picking a “Best Bowler,” she is also in charge of making us a themed cocktail for the evening.  She’s whipping something up with gin, lemonade, and a splash each of cranberry juice and sparkling water and calling it the “Derrick Rosé” in honor of the man who has managed to steal the title of “Jared’s Sports Crush” away from Albert Pujols.

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Categories and winners are in bold, and I’ll be keeping score as we go along.  Let’s get started.  Play ball!  Kickoff!  Tip off! Puck drop, or whatever!

9:01 –  You know you’re watching a seriously classy event when it’s sponsored by a motor oil.

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This Derrick Rose and Katy Perry team-up is making me reconsider my “Buy American” stance.

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So at some point, perhaps when I was the owner of a Chrysler dealership while they were going bankrupt (Believe it or not, that is not a joke!  That is a thing that  actually happened!), I got it in my head that I should be one of those “Buy American” people.  One way in which this manifested itself was in my half-baked decision to only wear, like, Nike, Vans and Converse shoes and no longer support Adidas or Puma.

My aversion to Adidas was even more pronounced because I have an inherent distrust of German corporations, mostly because I assume they all used to provide material support to the Nazi Party.  UNSUBSTANTIATED CLAIM BASED ON ABSOLUTELY NO INFORMATION ALERT!  When I brought up this attitude about the Germans to my wife’s father and told him I was thinking of buying a Ford instead of, say, a Volkswagen because of it, he pointed out that Henry Ford was a noted anti-Semite who exchanged correspondance with Adolf Hitler.  Or something.  So there’s that.

Another way in which I’m an idiot is that clearly all of these shoe companies are global corporations at this point, and they’re all manufacturing the sneakers in the same Indonesian sweatshops, and blah blah blah, I know!  I know, OK?!  I just said RIGHT AT THE START OF THIS PARAGRAPH that I’m an idiot!  Do I contradict myself?  Very well then I contradict myself, I am a large hypocrite.

Anyway, this new Adidas commercial features both my singer crush, Katy Perry, and my basketball crush, Derrick Rose, so I’m thinking of switching allegiances.  Sorry, Phil Knight!  And yes, I know, you hate Katy Perry, but I don’t care.  She’s really hot, you guys.  Plus, I know you hate her husband Russell Brand, too, but that doesn’t stop me from also really liking him.  So there.

As for the commercial itself, I think it might be slightly too frenetic for my taste, but the new Justice song it uses is pretty awesome, and it really makes me want to go care about something/work hard/never give up!  I’m not sure I’m going to go out and buy a new pair of Adidas shoes, though, because pretty much every pair that I’ve ever owned has sort of hurt my feet.  But if anyone could convince me to switch brands it would be Derrick Rose, on whom I currently have the biggest sports crush I’ve had since the heights of my Pujolsmania.  He’s so hard-working and humble and unselfish and amazing!  Did you see this article?  How could you not love him?!

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Speaking of my current love of Derrick Rose, I really need someone to talk NBA with.  None of my friends care, and my wife, God bless her, tries her best, but I get the sense that she’s just daydreaming about Kyle Chandler while I’m blathering on about how maybe the Bulls are better off with the 2 seed in the East as opposed to the 1 seed because then they would probably face the Heat in the second round of the playoffs instead of the Magic, and I really think they match up better against the Heat in a seven game series.  What’s that?  You’ve already stopped reading?  OK then, I’ll show myself out.

The Super Bowl, 2011

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OK, wait, just for one second let’s talk about the Puppy Bowl.  Did you guys see Two Face?  He was clearly the best and my favorite because he just wants to chill.

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I’m also probably going to be good friends with Oliver (and maybe his brother River) because we share a love of movies.

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But anyway, the Super Bowl.  So, this seems like it’s going to be a good game.  Most people that I’ve heard have been picking the Packers to win, but they aren’t huge favorites.  It should be close.  Plus, both the Packers and the Steelers have huge fanbases and storied histories.  There is a lot going on here.  And somehow, I absolutely could not care less.  I can’t remember the last time I was this uninterested in this game.

My desire to watch it is also hurt by the fact that the television rights this year belong to FOX, which means this is going to be really overproduced and will constantly pander to the lowest common denominator.  And will feature a robot.

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The unparalleled sports coverage of the New York Times.

The New York Times proves once again that it only pretends to like sports:

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Because on game day what we all really want to read is an analysis of the opposing quarterbacks’ personal styles.  At least the Jets vs. Patriots preview coverage features players that are currently alive.  For the Chicago Bears they’re transporting us all the way back to the Great Depression.

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I suspect that they run stories like this because they still regret their adoption of color photography back in 1997.

Someone should tell the editors that when you’re talking football you need to tap into fans’ deep-rooted anger, aggression, and bloodlust.  The New York Post gets it.

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Columnist Steve Serby considers anything short of the literal decapitation of the opposing team’s coach and quarterback to be a failure, regardless of the score.

At the very least, The New York Times needs to employ more pun headlines.  ESPN has at least twelve people on their pun-writing staff at all times.  Look at the gem they came up with today:

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I think they might also need to hire a pun ombudsman; that headline can’t possibly be considered up to their standards of journalistic integrity.  It took me a full minute to even realize that it was a play on “fair-weather friends.”

New York Times, I love you, but you’re doing it wrong.

10 Years of Page 2

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Image via Wikipedia

Deadspin points out that tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of ESPN.com’s Page 2, which has me reminiscing about my time spent online over the past decade.  Page 2 was, at least for sports, the first source of online, well-written, free-wheeling opinion pieces that I read, I think, and I would suspect it contributed quite a bit to blogging culture as we now know it.  I was familiar with David Halberstam, but I’m pretty sure I hadn’t ever heard of Hunter S. Thompson before he started writing for ESPN, which is a really bizarre way to be introduced to him.

And, of course, Page 2 introduced us all to Bill Simmons, who would eventually become a sports media behemoth and perhaps the premier star over at ESPN.  I can’t believe I’ve been reading him for ten years.  That sort of explains why he seems so old and vaguely out of touch lately.

Anyway, I like to make fun of ESPN, and I’ve certainly had a few laughs at Page 2 over the years, but here is just one more example of the network being ahead of its time.  As if introducing the idea of 24-hour sports and fueling adoption of HDTV (and maybe 3D TV) weren’t enough.  Kudos, Worldwide Leader.

[Via Deadspin]

Derrick Rose: Where Mumbling Happens

I love Derrick Rose.  He’s the most charismatic guy who actually has absolutely no charisma ever.  Watch him in this commercial and tell me if he’s humble and shy or just sleepy.

And here’s an interview with him right after he got picked first overall in the NBA draft by his hometown team.  You’d be freaking out in his shoes, right?  He must be the most laid-back guy on Earth.

I guess maybe he’s consciously saving his energy for the court.  I’m perfectly willing to sacrifice an interesting interview for plays like this.