Cashing the (discount double) check: The commercials of Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees
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For fans willing to risk having their hearts torn out of their bodies through their anuses for a second time in six days, Sunday’s meeting of the Packers and Saints presents a meeting of two of the NFL’s best and most evenly-matched contemporary quarterbacks. Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are each perennial MVP candidates with top 10 draft statuses is most fantasy leagues, and each have 5,000-yard season capabilities and Super Bowls to their credit. Both are beacons of their respective cities and all-around gems of professional football. The similarities even stretch to both QBs struggling through much of their team’s first trio of games this season. So what type of measuring stick could possibly be implemented to break this virtual tie between two of the NFL’s premier names? Quality of TV commercials.
As these marketable stars vie to accept any primetime football television spot not already featuring Peyton Manning or that twitchy freak from Papa John’s, The A.V. Club settles the raging debate of Rodgers vs. Brees by subjecting some of the play-callers’ notable spots to a rigorous evaluation process.
Surprisingly, the client that requests Brees’ commercial services most often is a weight loss and health supplement company called AdvoCare International. Neither the production values nor the pitchman’s acting chops are up to snuff in the ads for this multi-level marketing company—cough PYRAMID SCHEME!!! Sure, Drew has some funny and even professional performances in other ads, but a good half-dozen AdvoCare ads (well, bad half-dozen, actually) drags down his net believability.
Whether he’s exalting his long-trusted Ford brand trucks or dejectedly exiting the State Farm office, Rodgers usually manages to deliver performances so wooden and soft-spoken that he seems to dodge the overacting and cheesiness that plagues many other athletes-turned-actors. And Rodgers’ facial expressions in ads where he doesn’t utter a single syllable are nothing short of genuine-seeming comedic gold.
Quality of products hocked
Looking past the checks he cashes for affixing his name to that AdvoCare snake oil (which makes those bounty payments seem ethical by comparison), the Saints QB makes a killing in half-minute increments as spokesman for an array of relied-upon national staples such as Walgreen’s, Vicks VapoRub, and NyQuil.
While his counterpart has his hand firmly implanted deep in the coffers of various medicine cabinet mainstays, Rodgers spreads his pitchmanning to a bevy of products, some of which… leave something to be desired. Case in point: this Pizza Hut ad. Even if this were truly a world in which the reigning NFL MVP hung out in his all-red man cave (complete with neon “pizza” sign) and shared a ’za with the “I got these tiny hands” guy from that five-year-old Burger King commercial, that pizza sure as hell wouldn’t be part of the Big Dinner Box from Pizza Hut with a strategically-placed Pepsi two-liter. This ongoing ad campaign is the Shannen-Doherty-online-college commercials of athlete pizza endorsements.
A handful of Brees’ spots tend to rely heavily on the involvement of his family. While the ones featuring his wife Brittany lend a touch of trustworthiness in their devoted family-man angle (and encouragement in knowing that even those of us with facial birthmarks are capable of finding love), those involving his sons—such as this Chase ad co-starring his second son, Bowen—border on abuse. No, we aren’t referring to using his son as a shill in a bank ad without his rational consent. But depicting him as a kicker in said ad is just cruel. (Plus, when does a $200 deposit cover football-sized holes being smashed through an entire house? That’s got to be at least $300 in damage.)
Rodgers isn’t married, and if he’s a father, it would be a replacement-ref-sized oversight on behalf of media outlets. So that frees A-Rodg up to ply his acting skills beside an ever-changing supporting cast that ranges from teammate B.J. Raji, Brewers icon Ryan Braun, and the crème de la crème of regional commercial namesakes: David motherfucking Gruber. Unless Brees was sidled by Peter Francis Geraci, he never stood a chance.
With Rodgers now victorious in the ever-important commercial appeal category, a win where it counts is sure to follow.
Packers 31, Saints 20