Last week was all about commercials, capped by the Super Bowl, which usually consists of a four-hour set of commercials with a mediocre football game interrupting from time to time. Commercial week started last Monday, when I saw a sheet of paper under a truck's windshield on my way to work (I live in San Francisco). My street was to be closed the next day, because a commercial was going to be filmed for the San Francisco Giants. From there, last week was all about Giants-related publicity, capped by Media Day and FanFest. They filmed the aforementioned commercial in my neighborhood near Alamo Square Park on Tuesday, then on Thursday the Giants filmed a spot recreating the parade (I ducked out of work and filmed some of the action here).
The Giants are obviously riding high right now, but in terms of TV commercials they have plenty of competition around here. College teams like Stanford and Cal are handcuffed in how much they can spend on advertising without looking like a Big-12 School, so we won't worry about them, but how do the Giants stack up with all the other pro teams in the area in terms of commercial quality? Here's one Bay Area Sports Guy's rankings.
One of the reasons why the Giants might have better commercials this year is that their stars are trending a lot younger than they were when Barry Bonds was around. The A's have always had more a youthful vibe (the occasional ancient designated hitter notwithstanding), and their commercials have are usually clever without being corny. Here's a good example:
Hockey players generally seem to be as down to earth and self-deprecating as pro athletes get, and their "lousy" line of TV commercials was another example. My favorite: "Joe Pavelski is a lousy detective ... but he's a great hockey player." I love how he goes back for the sip of milk at the end.
The Warriors' commercials have been pretty unmemorable in recent years, and a lot of them have been made by the NBA with shots of Warrior-related highlights spliced in. However, this "Great Time Out" commercial is a classic -- for all the wrong reasons. My favorite part is when Adonal Foyle shakes the maracas.
4. San Francisco Giants
Last year's slogan "It's Magic Inside," was pretty corny, then it seemed kind of touching. But that was only because the Giants won the World Series (and even then it was a stretch). Even the team's first championship since moving to San Francisco can't make their commercials from last year look better. The guys on the team talking while their bodies are moving in super-slow-motion is disorienting and just plain creepy. When Pablo Sandoval said, "Tell everybody what they get Krukow," it went down in history for all the wrong reasons. However, if they paid attention to Brian Wilson's talk show appearances, as well as Tim Lincecum's comedic prowess in commercials for SportsCenter and MLB 2K9, maybe the Giants will ditch the special effects and go with A's and Sharks style humor instead.
We'll give them a pass because they hitched their wagon to Mike Singletary and his wealth of hollow motivational slogans, along with the whole "we are faithful" thing. 49ers fans are hoping that Jim Harbaugh will bring a little ingenuity and creativity to what has been a completely boring offense. Hopefully their commercials will get a little more interesting, too.
Do they even have TV commercials? I've heard radio spots featuring Greg Papa screaming "TOUCHDOWN ... RRRRAIDERS!!!!" But nothing on TV that I can remember in the past few years. Maybe I'm wrong (if so, let me know in the comments), but maybe with all the blackouts, Al Davis doesn't see the need to spend money on a medium where they're kept off the air 6 to 8 games a year.
Warriors on a rare winning streak
- The Warriors keep playing home games, and lately they've started winning home games. Their third win in a row was against Chicago, and besides their win at New Orleans a month ago was probably their most impressive victory of the season.
- Monta Ellis wasn't chosen to be a Western Conference All-Star, but in two games since being left off the squad he's averaged 28.5 ppg, 5.5 apg, 4 rpg and 2.5 spg. Even better, he played surprisingly solid defense against Derrick Rose in the win over the Bulls, contributing to Rose going 6-for-15 from the field and committing nine turnovers.
- Stephen Curry's going to participate in All-Star Weekend (Rookie-Sophomore game), and since we've been talking about commercials we should mention that the NBA made a pretty slick one about Steph and his dad, Dell.
- It wasn't all good news for the Warriors this week, as Charlie Bell was arrested for suspicion of DUI early Friday morning. Reggie Williams was nice enough to pick him up after he spent four hours in jail, though -- perhaps an example of the Warriors improved locker room chemistry?
- The schedule finally started getting to the Sacramento Kings, who lost consecutive games against Boston and San Antonio after beating the Lakers and the Hornets in a back-to-back. Next up: games against Utah and Dallas.
- Aaron Rodgers and Desmond Bishop did the Bay Area proud in a little pro football game you may or may not have heard about.
- The Sharks are getting hot at the right time, it seems, and it's during their longest road trip of the season while the SAP Open takes place at HP Pavilion. The Sharks have won three in a row since the All-Star break, most recently a 2-0 shutout for Antti Niemi at Boston (Remember when everyone was ready to call the Niemi acquisition a failure?). The Sharks have five more road contests left before they come home on 2/17 to face the Capitals.
- Speaking of the SAP Open, I'll be there tonight watching the exhibition between Gaël Monfils and Pete Sampras. Guess I'd better hit the road to beat that HWY 101 traffic!