Ryan Braun for Kwik Trip, and 3 other awkward Brewers endorsements
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Baseball players and broadcasters, even those employed by the indisputably underperforming incarnation of the current Milwaukee Brewers, represent the crème de la crème of people in their respective fields. Of the countless throngs of hopefuls who grow up aspiring to set foot on big league dirt or call a World Series game in the radio booth, only a fraction of a fraction of a percent actually see their dream come to fruition.
The unmatched prowess of these wunderkinds in one facet of life foolishly makes advertisers think that skill will translate into the vastly different realm of product endorsement. In some cases, this works well, like Nike’s “Bo Knows” and “Be Like Mike” campaigns in the ’90s, or most Blake Griffin and Peyton Manning commercials of late. Usually, though, athlete endorsements fall flat due to a combination of the star’s inability to act and the lack of connection to a wholly unrelated product they’re hocking. If someone as all-around amazing as Aaron Rodgers can’t sell shit with any regularity, most Brewers don’t stand a chance.
Here are some of the worst cases of modern Milwaukee endorsement The A.V. Club has found while channel surfing.
Ryan Braun for Kwik Trip
As a result of his suspension last week, Ryan Braun lost his lucrative endorsement deal with Wisconsin bagged-milk empire Kwik Trip. But even before the convenience store cut ties with the polarizing player, Braunie wasn’t doing the company any favors in the advertisement department. In a TV commercial that’s no longer being aired, the suspended slugger (obvs outfitted in a rejected Ed Hardy collared shirt and distressed blue jeans) lumbers through a 30-second spot in which he invites a lucky fan to dine with him at Ryan Braun’s Graffito (likely soon to be renamed “Ersan Ilyasova’s Pasta Emporium”) after he disingenuously touts his love for occupying his off days “enjoying this great city.”
We call bullshit on that. We’ve never so much as seen Ryan Braun out anywhere near our neighborhood Colectivo!
Bob Uecker for Usinger’s Sausage
Bob Uecker is the best thing to happen to Usinger’s Sausage since the introduction of the Pretzilla Bun. However, the same iconic voice that’s proven invaluable to the Milwaukee meat company in thousands of on-air plugs in the Brewers broadcast booth doesn’t really translate in the low-budget visual medium. This is the second such commercial with Usinger’s resident wurstmacher Tony Migliaccio. The first one found Mr. Baseball’s counterpart echoing Ueck’s ode to deli meat with a heavy German “YAH!”
This time around, Migliaccio inexplicably sheds his Germanic accent and, for some reason, conducts a smell test on a blindfolded Uecker. Between the awful chicken clucking, the shoestring budget (the meat was likely the most expensive prop), and the creepy twist ending, this is the worst thing Uecker has done since Major League: Back To The Minors. To be clear, Uecker can do no wrong. But this is about as close as it comes.
Robin Yount for Lakeshore Chinooks
After his incredible Hall Of Fame career, Brewers god Robin Yount has earned the right to pitch whatever he wants as poorly as he wants. He’s run with that in his cringeworthy Kapco Metal Stamping and Robinade radio sports and, over the past two years, his halfhearted endorsement of the Lakeshore Chinooks of the Northwoods League. As part owner and the biggest name in Milwaukee baseball since Henry Aaron, it makes sense to feature Yount in commercials. The bat throwing, multi-frame commercial itself doesn’t make sense.
Doug Melvin also makes a cameo, alleging he scouts future big leaguers from this Summer Catch wannabe association—which, if true, helps explain the team’s performance this season. After half a minute, we’re hooked, too… meaning we feel as if we we’ve been impaled and pulled up to a surface we cannot breath in.
Rickie Weeks and Casey McGehee for Kunes Country Auto Group
Yes, this one is a tad older than the rest, as the presence of current scapegoat Rickie Weeks and now-Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles player Casey McGehee implies. But this 2011 spot is so bad it deserves retroactive scorn. This ad begins irrevocably bad, as both players awkwardly introduce themselves as being “of the Brew Crew” to avoid infringing on the Brewers trademarked name. Tip: If the pitchmen must introduce themselves and tell the viewer where he or she may know them from, the players probably aren’t the best fit for the product. Additionally, “from Milwaukee’s professional baseball squadron” would’ve been a less forced way to skirt Major League Baseball.
From there, the personal information of the players, the laconic delivery of ad copy (between blatant looks at cue cards off camera), and absent wardrobe department keeps this 30-second nightmare going. The only place Kunes is redeemed is his clunky usage of phrases like “All-Star service and selection,” “they’ve got the bases covered,” and “our MVP for vehicles.” It’s a tad subtle, but All-Star, bases, MVP, and winning tradition are all terms that can be applied to baseball. Extra points are awarded for making it seem like Weeks and McGehee had never met before that day’s taping.