Beating up Santa, and other swell ideas


Here's the thing I don't understand about commercials: Dennis Rodman roughs up Santa for Nike, and I'm supposed to buy its basketball shoes?

Where is the logic there? Look, I like Santa. Santa was always good to me.

So when I saw that thug Rodman at Christmas, with his orange hair and nose rings and tattoos grabbing Santa by the collar, my first reaction was: Hey, what's going on?! The man is abusing Santa! Is someone dialing 911 here?!"

Shaken? You bet I was. I thought: What's next for Nike? Deion Sanders slapping the Easter Bunny? Jose Canseco kneeing the Tooth Fairy in the groin? I'm sorry, but I don't see how you score points with consumers by cuffing Santa around at Christmas.

Unfortunately, the Rodman spot seems illustrative of the newest trend in commercials: having weirdos and losers pitch your products.

Just look at that other Nike spot in which Dennis Hopper plays this whacked-out (I know, there's a stretch) fan who sneaks into NFL locker rooms and smells the cleats of Buffalo's Bruce Smith and Pittsburgh's Rod Woodson.

SMELLS THEIR CLEATS! What kind of pervert are we dealing with here?! This is a commercial? For what, a sexual disorders clinic?

In another commercial, the Hopper character, mumbling and disheveled, stalks San Diego linebacker Junior Seau on the beach. In another, he bolts past a security guard at the Green Bay practice facility and lunges wild-eyed like some sort of Sirhan Sirhan at the Packers' Sterling Sharpe.

Now the Hopper character is supposed to deliver some sort of "message" at the Super Bowl. Right. The only message this guy could deliver that makes any sense is: "Don't go off your medication like I did."

Then there are the Bud Light commercials with those two idiots trapped on the desert island.

Anheuser-Busch apparently feels these spots sell beer. Me, I see those two goofs and my first thought is: Geez, if I drink that beer, will I get that stupid?

Here they are, apparently marooned for weeks, no food, no water, suffering from exposure, etc. And what are they doing?

They're watching the Bud Bowl.

I don't know . . . Wouldn't there be more pressing issues to deal with than whether Bud beats Bud Light?

Wouldn't your time be better spent scratching H-E-L-P in the sand? Or (I'm just thinking out loud here) climbing that palm tree and finding a coconut to eat?

Even more annoying, if that's possible, are those hairy guys dressed as women in the other Bud Light commercials.

L Let me see if I understand the premise of their latest spot.

This bar is holding a pool tournament for women, is that it? And these four nitwits are so desperate to win a trophy that they show up in drag: dresses, makeup, wigs, the whole nine yards?

Ohhh-K. What exactly is the message we're supposed to glean here?

Bud Light: When You're Out Cross-dressing With the Boys?

Bud Light: If You Can't Win the Men's Division -- Cheat!

Of course, for out-and-out losers, you have to go some to beat the McDonald's commercial with the two diehard football fans stranded on the side of the road.

As I understand it, they're headed for a great time at the Super Bowl in Miami, except for a few minor problems:

* They have no tickets.

* They're driving a beat-up station wagon that looks like something Adlai Stevenson campaigned in.

* They drive with the gas gauge on empty for 30 miles until the car -- stay with me, this is where it gets technical -- runs out of gas.

Sure, sure, we've all done stuff like that -- when we were 18! These guys are what, in their 30s? And they're sober!

You're not supposed to do stupid stuff like that unless it's the day after a big frat party and you've been sniffing glue.

So now they're stranded in the middle of nowhere, nightfall setting in, wolves howling, who knows what kind of maniacs liable to pull up, and all they can think of is: a Big Mac.

Sure, that's the first thing that comes to mind when you're stranded on a highway.

Not: Oh, God, what do we do now?

Not: What's that guy waving, a gun?

Not: What is that, a mountain lion?

No, you'd be thinking: Gee, I could go for a Big Mac . . .

Naturally, this being an already stupid commercial, the producers decided to make it even more stupid.

So as these two walk along the road, lusting after Big Macs, a McDonald's tractor trailer happens by.

And they . . . they start running after it!

Reportedly, a follow-up commercial is in the works. I can't wait to see what happens when they finally reach Miami.

My guess is they get held up outside Joe Robbie Stadium, bound, gagged and tossed in a storm drain, and when they wriggle free and the police come to take a statement, the boys say: "You know what would hit the spot about now? A couple of Big Macs."

But, again, that's only a guess.

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