Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin has made a name for himself as one of the NBA's most dependable endorsers, an exciting young player with Will Ferrell-inspired comedic timing and the willingness to support anything from Kia to GameFly. He succeeds at it in part because he communicates a sense that he's in on the joke, that he understands that commercials are dumb and manipulative. It's a tactic brands and ad agencies have used for some time now, as David Foster Wallace would tell us, and Griffin understands how to make it work.
Griffin's latest spot for Foot Locker, though, brings the concept to a whole new level. As Chris Paul sits down to complement his Clippers teammate on his gear, Griffin begins a stilted parody of an enthusiastic pitchman discussing all the great products available at Foot Locker. CP3 is confused, presumably because he's never seen his own State Farm ads. Of course, before he can get out a complete sentence, Griffin launches into a portion of an ad for salsa, after which we see that he's hooked up to some kind of electronic gizmo known as "The Endorser 5000." Paul turns it off, but Griffin just lets us know that he's totally sincere about his appreciation of his Foot Locker gear, which is just a natural feeling to have for anyone, whether he's in a commercial or hooked up to a machine or just hanging out with his bro in an expensive apartment. The ad ends with Paul turning "The Endorser 5000" back on, for some reason, because we need to end the spot with a funny bit about Lithuania.
The idea here is about all celebrity endorsers, but also Griffin specifically. By virtue of the sheer number of ads he does, the target demographic might not believe he could possibly be sincere about every product he touts. So this ad puts a twist on it — he lets us know that he actually is telling the truth this time. It's up to the audience to decide if we can believe him, or if the essential relationship here is the same no matter what is said. Maybe an ad is always an ad.
Foot Locker really does have some great gear, though.
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