Some can make you smile, others can make you cringe. I am referring to commercials starring athletes. Thanks to the internet, we have nearly unlimited access to a library of them. The commercial that sparked this analysis was the new Pepsi Max commercial with Jeff Gordon, called “Test Drive 2.” This was done very well. I was smirking and laughing out loud at times. I believe it worked due to Jeff Gordon’s above-average acting (where athletes are considered). It took some talent to pull off what he did. Although, it was painfully obvious that he forced some of the Pepsi swigs he took during the video.

Another classic that makes me smile would be the Coca-Cola add with Mean Joe Green trading his jersey for a coke after the game while limping through the tunnel. The acting was not good but the director made it work with simplicity and not asking too much of Joe. This was re-created a couple years ago with Coke Zero having Troy Polamalu interacting with a young fan in the tunnel after the game and adding the real actors (Coke brand managers) to make it funny. Both were simple and well done. Check out the links below.

Mean Joe Green Version:

Troy Polamalu Version:

Then there are the horrid ones...

They have great intentions and writing but the acting chops are just not there. I put the T.O. Hardees/Carl’s Jr. commercial in this mix. I love the message and the idea but T.O. just makes me cringe with his lack of acting ability. I mean, nothing felt natural at all! And the last part by the pool, he takes a huge bite and chews it once with no sandwich on his face! I have to think that he would not allow it and it shows that he probably doesn’t even like the product to begin with. It makes me forget how awesome the people playing the Philly fans are.

I also can not stand any Diet Dew commercial with Dale Jr. in them. He is a great driver and I am sure he is a nice guy but I see red anytime I have to witness his awkward, stiff performance selling Diet Dew. Ugh!

So that is the good, the bad, and the ugly of athlete endorsements. Let us know if you find better examples of any athlete commercials.