Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cardinals campaign for our attention, and it works

Note: This column appears in the 8/14 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 8/15 issue of the Peoria Times

Few things in life excite me like a good television commercial. I will buy whatever you are selling if you can produce a commercial cool enough for my exquisite tastes. I mean, I may not buy it literally, but still.

When it comes to football season, I am bursting at the seams as it is, so when I see a commercial promoting the upcoming NFL season -- and I judge said commercial to be particularly awesome -- my heart skips a beat and I can’t sit still for the next several hours, or days, depending on my mood. In that respect, there are two commercials out now that I think should win Oscars. Or Peabodys. Or whatever it is that commercials win.

First, there is the Reebok “Migration” commercial, which features an eerie and amazing song (which I immediately downloaded) and players “migrating” to their home stadiums in a V formation. For example, Eli Manning and the Giants are on the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Cowboys are in the desert (looking in vein for strip clubs, I assume). I honestly think that this is the greatest commercial ever produced. Even better than the Sanderson Ford commercial that features random images of basketball games and bald eagles and has nothing to do with cars and makes no sense.

The Cardinals -- whose mascot is a bird, which is an animal that migrates in a V formation -- are strangely absent from the “Migration” commercial. But that is okay, because they have their own commercial, and I’m sure you’ve seen it by now. The theme is “together,” and it starts with head coach Ken Whisenhunt -- who I have never met but who I’m sure could easily convince me to step in front of oncoming traffic just by staring at me -- explaining how the Arizona Cardinals are going to accomplish things together. Then there are shots of the players lifting weights, executing drills, and making plays in practice. Larry Fitzgerald chimes in to remind us that the team will be working together, and winning together. And guess what? I am sold.

Listen, I’m not even a fan of the Cardinals and this commercial gets the juices flowing. And that’s the point (I bet you thought this column didn’t have one!): I believe in them.


Cut!

So, yes, based on a television commercial, I believe the 2008 Arizona Cardinals will be successful. This may sound weird and stupid and nonsensical, but I think this ad represents where the Cardinals are at right now as a team and as an organization.

For longtime Cardinals fans, the fact that the franchise paid to air a commercial at all should tell you something. (For example, back in 1994, the team only ran a 20-second infomercial that aired once at 3:21am on Lifetime, which was hosted by an Ed McMahon lookalike.) And sure, it’s not like Scorsese directed the thing, but it’s not like watching Leandro Barbosa trying to sell cars on local cable either.

Hey, the Cardinals were 8-8 last season. They have a lot of talent and play in the up-for-grabs NFC. Their head coach is on the television explaining that his team will win, together, as one. I believe him. Sue me.

Who knows, maybe next season the Cardinals may actually be featured in a national commercial. Migration Part II. That remains to be seen. Right now it’s just mid-August, and there’s only one thing that we know for sure:

I watch too much television.


But if you act NOW, we'll throw in this exclusive Arizona Cardinals'...something or other, absolutely FREE!

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