The Art of the Sell: “Chicks Dig the Long Ball”

These posts celebrate the movie trailers, movie posters, commercials, print ads, and other promotional material that stand as their own works of art. 

1999 was a heady time for baseball. Just a few years earlier, Major League Baseball delivered a nasty self-inflicted wound with a labor dispute that cancelled a sizable chunk of the season, including the World Series, an event that world wars and devastating natural disasters couldn’t wipe off the calendar. Fan animosity was justifiably at a riotous high, and it seemed likely that legions would turn their back on the sport for good. Then Cal Ripken, Jr. saved baseball by reporting for work with historic regularity. The reclamation of fan affection was completed in 1998, when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa both broke the standing single-season home run record, once thought to be effectively untouchable. (Affectionate memories of that summer’s most notable athletic feats have become complicated, to say the least.)

The home run fever of the late nineteen-nineties informs one of the best baseball-themed commercials of the day. Produced for Nike — when the brand was still willing to occasionally employ wit in their advertising — the commercial found star pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine sulking because home run hitters got all the attention, especially from pretty TV stars like Heather Locklear. They decide to employ the only tactic that makes sense: fight long ball with long ball.

Other entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Art of the Sell” tag.

 

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