In a departure from the regular “This is Sportcenter” ad format, the current spot for SC doesn’t feature a high profile athlete or famous mascot, but instead offers viewers the opportunity to vote on having one of two anchors read the next highlight, or, option “C”, watch a cockatoo slam dunk a basketball. Michael David Smith from AOL’s Sportshouse blog says he doesn’t like it:
The commercials are at their best when they give us the utterly ridiculous juxtaposition of LaDainian Tomlinson sorting mail or Tony Romo having a party at ESPN’s headquarters or LSU’s mascot stuck in a tree. The dunking cockatoo isn’t a recognizable figure in our shared sports consciousness and therefore isn’t as funny.
As a sports fan who works in this medium, I found it to be a great spoof. Similarly to how Time magazine named You, the Consumer “person of the year”, ESPN pays an Onion-esque homage to the push toward consumer generated everything. Worth noting among sports fans is that while it’s great to have your voice heard, the real reason we watch ESPN — including the pro and college highlights — is for the star power and athletic feats. I can dunk a basketball, but I can’t throw one down like LeBron — and there’s a big difference between an amateur and a pro (wow, haven’t journalists and advertisers made the same argument?), including taking them out of their element and controlled environment and allowing them to be funny.
That being said, I did enjoy the spot. How about you?