Sell Me Something: the Top 5 Worst Local Ads Featuring Professional Athletes
5 Joe Flacco – Mother’s Grille
Thanks to the Baltimore neighborhood bar Mother’s, we can all now say that Joe Flacco is about as good an actor as he is a unibrow shaver. In his rookie year Flacco stars as the hazing victim to an invisible narrator for Mother’s Grille, where he shows off the fine tuned thespian skills of a mossy tree stump as he’s forced to peel potatoes, clean bathrooms and for some reason gets tied to a pole by two hot waitresses. In short, the ad tells us nothing about the bar itself, then ends with the obligatory “I’m Joe Flacco, and I approve this message.” You know, like he’s a presidential candidate! HI-LARIOUS!
4 Larry Bird – Rodman Car Dealers
One look at Larry Bird in the last post and you just knew he had the unintentional comedic potential to make multiple appearances on this list. Striking out on his own in an ad for Rodman Auto Dealers, Bird promotes the Ford Escort about as effectively as his tiny blonde mustache covers his top lip. To his credit, Larry puts in a real effort here, but in the end we just wind up with an ad that feels like someone is pointing a gun at this head just outside of the camera’s view. However, the best part of this spot is the fact that it’s shot entirely in a large, mysterious, all blue room. It’s like the producers intended to use blue screen technology to insert a fake background, but in the end decided to save a few bucks and just ran with Larry Bird in a hostage situation.
3 Boston Celtics – Scotch and Sirloin
The 1980s Boston Celtics were truly a dynasty. They won championships, proudly rocked the shortest of shorts, and even lent their talents to local businesses. The Boston restaurant Scotch ‘n Sirloin (you know you’re in a fine eatery when they employ the use of the apostrophe N) tapped the boys in green to help them sell steaks, and the result was a display of awkwardness the likes of which you never knew existed. The Celts argue over what the best menu choice is, with the best line being delivered from Robert Parrish when he says “Lobster!” with all of the conviction of a 7-foot tall five year-old. Then naturally, Larry Bird leads them all in doing “The Wave,” because that’s a thing that grown men totally do when they’re out to dinner with their buddies.
2 Refrigerator Perry – BBQ Sauce
If nothing else, you’ve got to somewhat respect when a guy has the balls to put out a commercial that makes absolutely no sense, and former Pittsburgh Steeler William “Refrigerator” Perry did just that. It was as though when his people came to him with the idea for advertising his own BBQ sauce, Perry said, “I’ll do it, as long as I don’t physically have to be there.” Thus, this green screen abomination that features random people insisting that this sauce is good “Wherever you’re at” was born. Whether you’re at a tropical beach, in Japan, or in a cartoon house (all locations they actually feature), you’ll like this sauce. And if you’re into ads that are creepy, nonsensical, and cost less than five dollars to make, you’ll love this commercial.
1 Scottie Pippen – Mr. Submarine
If you’re wondering why Mr. Submarine never grew to become a national powerhouse like Subway or Quiznos, you needn’t look any further than their 1991 ad featuring Scottie Pippen. In this shrine to awfulness, Scottie’s comfort level on camera is about as proportionate as his nose is to his face. First off, even booking Scottie Pippen for your ad is just straight up admitting you were too cheap to spring for Jordan, but on top of that, they paired Scottie with two marginally attractive women and some pretty rough looking sandwiches. Scottie’s stiff delivery of the line “Ladies, let’s have a party” is topped only by the fact that the party apparently consists of the three of them sitting Indian style on the court eating sandwiches, then he slam dunks a sub. This is really just top notch terrible.