Friday, August 1, 2008

Giuseppe Franco? THAT Guy's Got an Edge

Let’s just call a spade a spade. Derek Jeter does NOT have an edge. He’s got class, grace under pressure, a good attitude, leadership skills. But this brings me back to my original point, which is that he doesn’t have an edge. Why then, I have to ask, would the people at Ford Edge have created an ad campaign around him and this alleged edge? For those of you who haven’t seen the commercial—you would be people who never watch TV or, specifically, the YES Network, which airs it sometimes two or three times in a row—the summary is simple. The camera cuts from person to person, all of whom offer some slight variation of, “Derek Jeter? That guy’s got an edge.” Cut to Derek Jeter in his Ford Edge, talking about his Edge and why he loves it. I think. I try to tune it out.

The commercial is annoying, true, but it’s also illogical because if you’re going to base an ad campaign for a car around the concept that someone has an edge, you should pick someone who actually has an edge. It’s not enough for him to simply have the car. (Not that Jeter likely has that, either.) What would have made sense was for Billy Wagner or John Crapelbon or, hell, our boy Manny Ramirez to be the campaign rep. Or, you know, anyone really who has an edge. The obvious problem is of course that no one would want to buy anything from the aforementioned people. So, what’s the other option? I don’t know. Call the car Integrity? Call it The Uncanny Ability to Always Say the Right Thing? Stupid names for a car, but then at least your ad makes sense.

On the flip side, there is a commercial that airs on YES and SNY that I believe to be basically perfect. That would be the commercial for Procede hair thickener, endorsed by Beverly Hills hair stylist Giuseppe Franco. Despite the fact that most of us have never heard of Giuseppe Franco, the commercial does an exceptionally good job of Jedi mind tricking us viewers into thinking that we should have. The first tool the commercial employs is the use of footage from Giuseppe’s salon in Beverly Hills. It gets you thinking, the guy cuts hair in Beverly Hills. BEVERLY HILLS. What better proof that he can be trusted to manage your thinning hair’s re-growth? Second, the commercial includes a clip of Gary Busey hugging Giuseppe Franco, hugging him the way you only hug a really good friend. I don’t know whether or not we are to understand that Gary Busey uses Procede, but that’s neither here nor there. It’s a really enthusiastic hug, which tells us what? That really weird B-list actors know Giuseppe Franco. They know him, and they love him. Finally, at the end of the commercial, Franco talks to us in conspiratorial tones saying, “Hey, I’m Giuseppe Franco. Would I put my name on the line for just anything?” You hear this, and a part of you thinks, “Well, I don’t know who you are or what you would do or if it even matters because I don’t think anyone knows your name.” But another part of you thinks, “This guy speaks with conviction. It must be a big deal that he’s putting his name on the line.” That thought is only affirmed by the recently obtained information that the dude knows Gary Busey.

But all this does not comprise the whole of this commercial’s genius. They don’t just get you by selling you on the obvious importance of a person you have never heard of. They also employ the use of irrefutable logic, logic so irrefutable that you could never think to argue. They show a clip of one of the people who supposedly used the product gliding his fingers through his shock of thick, wavy hair, explaining, “My hair looks thicker because it IS thicker.” Now THAT makes sense.

At the end of the commercial, Franco makes one final plea for balding men everywhere to invest in his product so that they can, once again, have hair thick enough to pour a bottle of gel into it every morning the way he does. The problem is I don’t know what he’s saying. I can tell it’s important because he says it with intensity. But I just can’t figure it out on account of that sophisticated Italian accent of his. I have narrowed it down to two choices. The first: “Hey, I don’t own it. I don’t own anything about it.” I guess it makes sense? He’s saying we should trust him because he has nothing to gain by endorsing the product (except for whatever they’re paying him to do so). Sure, it’s improper English, but I get the message. Option number two would be: “Hey, I don’t know it. I don’t know anything about it.” This, I must confess, is what I hope he’s saying. What’s the message here? “I’m an idiot. I am reading lines off a card about a product with which I am unfamiliar and, despite the fact that I am disclosing this information, I expect you will buy the product because I am putting my name on the line for it.” That takes chutzpah. The bottom line about this commercial is that I just can’t get enough of it. It looks crazy because it IS crazy.

Well, I suppose I have to address the latest on Manny, though all the Manny talk is starting to have something of a Farv-esque feel. As I’m sure we’ve all heard by now, Manny is a Dodger, and on behalf of the American League, good riddance. I must say that this does complicate things for me ever-so-slightly because I have been sort of rooting for the Dodgers this season. There’s Torre, of course, and the fact that the proximity to victory makes all my friends in L.A. so giddy. Well, I’m sorry to have to say this because it just doesn’t sound right, but I think I might actually hate Manny more than I love my friends. Or even Joe Torre. I have some pondering to do with this one.

The Yanks traded Minor League shortstop Alberto Gonzalez for Nats Minor League pitcher Jhonny Nunez. I was always fond of Gonzalez and thought he showed promise. But I think Nunez also shows potential—great strikeout numbers—and I have no beef with Cash for hording pitchers. In my humble opinion, you can never have too many. Here’s my only problem—and anyone who has been reading should know it’s coming—my problem is Jhonny. With a Jh. I mean, really. Like Farv, it may not be his fault. But like Farv, he should have addressed it once he reached adulthood. And he’s not the only one. There’s Jhonny Peralta of the Indians and, while we’re on the subject, Torii Hunter of the Angels. You know, it just seems to me to be a matter of laziness. These are guys whose names get printed repeatedly on scoreboards and in newspapers. If you were one of them, and your name was obviously spelled wrong, wouldn't you want to fix it?

Speaking of being wrong, Ed Hickox needs a new pair of glasses. Who wants to chip in? He made a humiliatingly bad call last night, robbing the Pudge of a run. Something we could have been up in arms about if the game had been close enough for it to matter. Stupid LAnaheim.

Uh, I forgot to mention this the other day, but did anyone else notice that Jason Giambi flipped Kevin Millar and Brian Roberts the bird? Ah, to be Jason Giambi for whom life is just a bowl of frat house. Though I must confess, I do think that, as a people, we underuse the middle finger, so I was sort of into it. I was riding my bike yesterday and felt so inspired by Giambi’s recent display of oafish brilliance that I ALMOST flipped the bird at this twelve-year-old boy who was riding in the other direction. I didn’t. But I think he would have gotten it. Adolescent boys tend to get what’s truly funny. They got an edge.


thekoreanmafia said...

Friends > Manny

Michael said...

FYI - I believe it is a blend of the two options. "Hey, I don’t OWN it. I don’t KNOW anything about it." - when you think about it, this guy really IS a marketing genius!