By Allan Muir
Our buddies over at the Campus Union college football blog have been all over the Johnny Manziel story. One of the best angles so far? This ad for an Oklahoma car dealer spoofing the autograph signing that earned Johnny Football that onerous 30-minute suspension.
It’s a very funny bit, like the one above featuring Scott Hartnell, and it got us thinking about some of the memorable outings over the years by hockey players in car commercials. The two make for a cringe-worthy combination. Take the ad below featuring Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton, in which he uses some tricks that he presumably picked up in Southie to move metal for Pride Motor Group. If you were mesmerized by his big-screen debut as Angry Guy in Ted, you will appreciate his subtle character work in this spot.
Embarrassing, sure, but it’s easy to set aside your pride when someone offers to cut you a fat check — or give you free use of a sweet ride — for an hour or two of work, right?
Here are some more of the all-time greats.
Other than being a bit of a puck hog, Mario Lemieux comes off pretty well in this one. The kid, on the other hand, reads the cue cards with all the subtlety of Vince Vaughn hosting Saturday Night Live.
Listen to Islanders goalie Kelly Hrudey enunciate the hell out of this 1988 Tom Rice Buick spot and you can picture him quietly repeating, “She sells sea shells by the seashore,” right up until the camera started rolling.
If your memory goes the way back to when Chevy made the Chevette, you can probably remember when being associated with the Islanders was considered a selling point.
Next, on Mad Men: With her beloved Canadiens in town, Megan offers to take Don to his first hockey game to to help get his mind off that troublesome pitch for the new Ford Mercury. And to keep an eye on him because, let’s face it, he can’t be trusted alone.
Tough to say what the real hook is to this spot for Pittsburgh’s A&L Motor Sales. Is it the chance to watch Max Talbot at work shopping his Georg Festrunk impression, or the fact that Sergei Gonchar dragged Geno Malkin to the shoot and told him, “Just stand over there and don’t move?”
Talbot doesn’t have any more game off the ice than he does on it.
This one would have been golden if Orr had dumped the astrologer and brought along Grapes and Blue.
So, which one of these Hall of Famers was driving the Wagon Queen Family Truckster?
On this one, at least, which features a trio of American hockey legends, Honda got it right.
But this one is so very, very wrong. Of course, this was before Perry’s big deal. Maybe Nick offered to chip in a couple of bones for gas.
“I got it! Let’s show how tough our trucks are by showing one run over a moderately well-liked local hockey player!”
This time it’s a car part, not a car, that’s being pimped. Either way, Lanny McDonald seems more intent on auditioning for Up With People than with moving mufflers.
And here, perhaps, is the greatest worst commercial of all time: Alex Ovechkin for Eastern Motors. He sings, he dances, he scratches his arm incessantly and he teaches us the correct way to pronounce SUVs. Oh, and he likes vodka. A lot.
No, car ads are best left to the pros: