Athletes selling out to make a quick buck is nothing new. For decades, companies have pined for individuals who are good at dunking a basketball or running a ball into an end zone to endorse their completely unrelated products. If you’ve ever watched television, you’ve probably cringed at your favorite athlete while disregarding his or her dignity for a paycheck at some point.
Although some athletes capitalize on their achievements and success with critically acclaimed commercials for internationally known brands like Nike, Gatorade and McDonald’s, others have to settle for singing jingles for local exterminator companies. Budgets aside, many athletes have found themselves in commercials that have gotten people talking for all the wrong reasons.
But which athlete commercials have we deemed the absolute worst of the worst? The list is below.
5. Bronson Arroyo
On the plus side, at least there is someone out there who will pay for Bronson Arroyo’s music. On the not-so-plus side, people in the Cincinnati area had to listen to this.
Arroyo made this epic commercial for an Ohio-based frozen food company. Reds color analyst Chris Welsh is apparently depressed the Reds are on a road trip (despite the fact he, you know, travels with the team), and for reasons unknown, that sadness translates to him wanting/needing/not being able/maybe being able to get a sandwich from a place that apparently sells sandwiches even though they are nowhere to be found on its website. Arroyo and his epic tune, “Together Again,” lets us know that Welsh will be just fine because he has been reunited with his beloved frozen dish.
We thought writing this out might help us make sense of this commercial. We were wrong.
4. Tom Brady
UGG For Men, 2012
As if being the, ahem, brand ambassador for UGG wasn’t embarrassing enough, Tom Brady must have been forced -- through blackmail or physical threat -- to participate in this commercial. We refuse to believe he chose to do this. WE KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY YOU MAKE, TOM. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY!
Brady is lurking around the locker room waiting for an unknown football player. (Clearly every other member of the Patriots said “hell to the naw” to this opportunity.) The player, who looks a good 20 years past his rookie year, is waiting to see if he has made the roster. We know this because there is an ominous Post-it note that says “See coach, bring playbook” on the wall while threatening music plays in the background. When this player returns, he finds a brand-spanking-new pair of UGGs in his locker. Just like every football player would want. Obviously. And because he has received a pair of every college girl in America’s favorite comfort shoes, he knows he has made the team. FOR NOW.
3. Ray Lewis, LaVar Arrington, Clinton Portis, Brendan Haywood
Eastern Motors Automotive Group, 2007
What happens when four local star athletes come together to lip sync a corny jingle for a car dealership? Probably not increased auto sales. But it does make a very entertaining 30 seconds. ARE YOU LISTENING, MAN?
Eastern Motors is known in the DMV for its frequent commercials with area athletes. In fact, it was hard to pick just one for this list, and we would recommend checking out Alex Ovechkin's and Jason Campbell’s efforts while you’re at it. We don’t know what the appeal of this place is for these players (other than easy money), but we do know that at Eastern Motors, YOUR JOB IS YOUR CREDIT!
2. Akinori Otsuka
Corky’s Pest Control, 2006
What does a baseball player have to do with pest control? While this might sound like the setup to a Jose Canseco joke, the answer is actually absolutely nothing.
In this TV spot, then-Padres closer Akinori Otsuka is just doing his thing, wearing his full baseball uniform and hosting a turkey dinner picnic in the great outdoors, when these pesky cartoon ants spoil the party. Otsuka does what just about none of us would do and impractically tries to kill the ants with his baseball bat (that he, of course, happened to have handy). And then, after one would hope they’ve taken care of those silly little ants, he leads an extermination crew in a little ditty and accompanying jig.
1. Pete Rose
Aqua Velva Aftershave, 1977
Before he became a disgraced gambler, baseball outlaw, tax evader and reality show star, Pete Rose was a man who just wanted to smell like a man.
This commercial for Aqua Velva Aftershave has everything. Blatant sexism? Check. Cheesy dialogue? Done. A blazer with “PRESS” in huge letters stitched on? But of course! Most importantly, how can we get one of those?