You Don't Have to Be a Psychologist to Figure Out the Deeper Meanings of Giants' TV Ads

Categories: Sports

Let's be honest, the Giants could use this guy, too.

The San Francisco Giants' entire ad campaign used to boil down to "Come watch: We Got Barry." Now the overriding message is, "Come watch: Barry's gone."

A quartet of new Giants ads have been playing on San Francisco screens, and the theme couldn't be clearer: These guys are young, fun, and just like you! Hey, they even take Muni!

To wit:

  • A man in a business suit running around the street is gunned down at "home" on a toss over all the parked cars from Freddie Lewis to Bengie Molina;
  • A femme fatale in black takes off sprinting on an N-Judah; infielder Kevin Frandsen catches her in a "rundown," and throws to Pablo Sandoval, who applies the tag; 
  • A mafia don-type swinging in an impromptu batting cage set up in a meat locker channels  the National League and can't hit Tim Lincecum;
  • An apparent meteor shower on Justin Herman Plaza is just Aaron Rowand swatting Barry Zito's soft-tosses (note: Advertising involving Zito serving up atmospheric shots does not put fans in a positive mindset).
Without mentioning He Who Must Not Be Named, Brian Bacino, the executive creative director of Swirl -- the firm that created the ads --pushed the benefits of the Giants no longer having the greatest hitter of all-time batting cleanup. In fact, he saw this as a selling point.

"It's a different locker room, that's no secret. One of the great things that happens when you're not focused on one superstar is people coming together and feeling like a team," he says.

Bacino noted the "authentic human drama" of watching young players -- Frandsen, Lewis, Eugenio Velez -- mature into Major Leaguers.

Perhaps this is more true than Bacino would have liked. One of the major aspects of human drama is the high degree of failure -- and, ever since the team opted to part ways with Bonds, there have been extra helpings of failure to go around. We pick on Zito enough, so lets focus on the offense: Last year the Giants trotted out a lineup full of No. 7 hitters and went 72-90. There are 30 teams in the league. Here's how the Giants did last year:

Runs: 29th
On-Base Percentage: 24th
Runs Batted In: 30th
Home Runs: 30th

Bacino's commercials are entertaining. The team is full of likable young players. But you know what? There may not have been a less likable team full of degenerate sleazeballs -- and unattractive to boot -- than the 1986 Mets. And they didn't need an ad campaign to get people to show up.
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