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It’s Time for the Next Great Sports Commercial Character

Missing Mars and Other Sports Commercial Characters

You know what’s missing in today’s land of TV commercials? I’ll tell you. Sports characters. Personalities created largely out of thin air to help sell a product or service – be it beer, shoes, a network or a name. Hell, even if those creations of Madison Avenue never made those brands a buck, they sure made me laugh. But I’ll be honest, it’s been awhile since someone’s run with a campaign long enough for me to develop that special bond. You know, the one you may have had with Terry, Lil’ Penny, Mars or maybe even The Rick. I was even starting to find a soft spot for Bud Light Leon. In honor of these sporty fictitious pitch men, a few of my favorites (and hoping for another star to soon emerge).

THE RICK: My Name’s Rick…People Call Me “The Rick”
I always had a soft spot for Mike O’Malley as ESPN’s “The Rick.” Not as keen on him constantly popping on my screen as Time Warner Cable hype guy, but there are more irritating pitchmen. Couldn’t find my favorite “original,” but here’s something to jog the memory (assuming you know who the hell I’m talking about).

LIL’ PENNY: Tell ‘Em Lil’ Penny From the Science Club Says Hell-o
Chris Rock is the man. Can you do that for a brother?

MARS BLACKMON: Here with My Main Man Michael Jordan
I think Spike (um, I mean Mars) still reigns supreme in terms of a lasting true character in the sports commercial realm. He was around for years. He had his own unique personality. Mars was the perfect sidekick for his Airness. Do you know, do you know, do you know?

LEON: He Can’t Do Everything
Sure, it may be all about selling beer. And, who knows, perhaps Leon wasn’t driving Bud six pack sales up. Still, he made me laugh — particularly in this one. There ain’t no we, either.

This was like that Martin Lawrence movie, you know, before the Martin Lawrence movie. Thanks for the comment/tip, anon.

I was a big fan of Dennis Hopper as the mildly-crazed “ref” for Nike. My all-time favorite has to be the classic Bruce Smith spot, but there were others. A great example of a “generic” sports character within the genre. Name or no name, we need to bring these folks back.

TERRY TATE: Office Linebacker
Terry Tate. Office linebacker. Sheer. Brilliance. This extended version is well worth the four minutes. Make time.

The McKenzie Brothers: Roses Have Thorns
I’ve been looking for this clip forever. That I have finally found it gives me a disproportionate amount of pleasure. Although the McKenzie Brothers weren’t particularly sports-focused commercial characters, this one deserved inclusion.

So, first off, who else am I blatantly missing? What other sports commercial “characters” have made us laugh out loud over the years? And is anyone doing it now? Who needs to make a comeback? Which one and done deserved a longer life and showed potential? Hit me up in the comments…or not.


  1. P-Cat

    November 20, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Dennis Hopper's crazy ref was cool. So were the McKenzie Brothers. But man, do I hate that stupid 'Tailgate Tested, Tailgate Approved "spoofs." They are just irritating.

  2. Anonymous

    November 20, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Missing sign boy from the Footjoy commercials.

  3. Anonymous

    November 20, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I want to see them bring back The Bud Bowl.

  4. Anonymous

    November 21, 2009 at 1:54 am

    thank you for reminding me about bob and doug mackenzie….

  5. Cecilio's Scribe

    November 21, 2009 at 10:16 am

    p-cat, i'm with you on tailgate tested, tailgate approved. how the hell did anyone approve that?

  6. RD

    November 22, 2009 at 6:28 am

    Tate commercial is the best

  7. Griz

    November 23, 2009 at 10:41 am

    What about the Allstate guys, Ham & Bergwood? That's a pretty lasting pair. That "Oooh, Creamy Bruley" line kills me every time.

  8. Cecilio's Scribe

    November 23, 2009 at 11:06 am

    good call, Griz. I'll have the same, minus the TAR-TAR sauce.

  9. Anonymous

    November 24, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    How can you forget Larry Johnson as Grandmama?

  10. Cecilio's Scribe

    November 25, 2009 at 9:36 am

    grandma-ma is a great call. i may add that one in.

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