As a Mets fan I wanted to like this latest Under Armour ad featuring Jose Reyes. Especially since not long ago I had some kind things to say about a Dick’s Sporting Goods/Nike ad starring arch enemy Jimmy Rollins.
Unfortunately, it just doesn’t feel right. If Nike is the varsity team of sports marketing this spot feels very JV.
The fact that UA felt the need to ID Reyes is the first problem. If you are a fan of baseball you know Reyes, even out of uniform. If you are not a fan, putting his name on the screen is not going to mean anything so why bother. It’s just a distraction.
Secondly, labeling Reyes as New York Shortstop because UA could either not afford, or could not clear, the name New York Mets makes things even worse. New York Shortstop? Yankees? Mets? New York City? New York State? Is he on the Brooklyn Cyclones? The Binghamton Mets? Again, if you don’t know him…New York Shortstop is not going to help.
Thirdly, who is the pitcher? He is clearly not a major league player. It doesn’t seem like a real challenge for Reyes, one of the sport’s premier base stealers, to grab two bags off of either an actor or a minor league pitcher. Or a minor league pitcher with a SAG card. Where’s the drama in that. Same goes for the catcher.
According to Shilo creative Noah Conopask:
We wanted it to feel like a battle, where Jose and the pitcher both had their fingers on the trigger. We wanted you to see it in their eyes, in their body language, and we wanted to subtract everything out of the world they were in, no bleachers, no fans, no scoreboard, only the moment…
This brings us to our fourth point. The spot feels too sterile. As if it were shot on a sound stage. Baseball is all about the fans. All sports are. I understand that Reyes and our generic pitcher and catcher will zone everything out when they are in the moment. It’s just that the vehicle of bringing the house lights down feels very theatrical, not very athletic.
Finally, as with the lighting, the music also feels a little more theatrical/orchestral than emotional/athletic. Where’s the adrenaline. Where’s the sweat and the training and the skill. Where’s the big finish. If Reyes was about to pull off a two base steal the crowd would be going crazy. This doesn’t feel like going crazy, adrenaline pumping in a stadium full of people music. It feels like the final scene before intermission of Wicked.
Overall, I just don’t think this works. If you are going to play with the Nikes of the world you need to bring your A game. This feels like a minor league B.