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The Definitive Ranking of ACC Network Ads During the ND-Duke Game (By How Much I’m Buyin’ What They’re Sellin’)

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After the Irish won 38-7, it became VERY clear that what our readers wanted was a ranking of the ACC Network commercials shown last night during the game. Pat Rick is on the case.

NCAA Football: ACC Media Days Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

There were a lot of Notre Dame Fighting Irish football fans that were audibly upset about watching their game against the Duke Blue Devils last night.

Surprisingly, though, the fans didn’t have anything to be upset about performance-wise. Your Fighting Irish went on the road to Durham and did exactly what they should do to a 4-4 Blue Devils squad — they kicked their shit in, 38 to 7.

So, what about that rout of an inferior opponent was fit to be complained about by the Irish faithful, then?

Of course, it was that the game was shown on the ACC Network, a new ESPN network that is not carried by all cable providers and/or not included in everyone’s basic sports TV packages. The gripes with this viewing experience going into, during, and after the game were plentiful from the Irish faithful, ranging from things like access to the broadcast and commentator quality all the way to annoyed grievances filed on Twitter about the eclectic collection of commercials shown during breaks in the action.

I understand why accessing the broadcast was annoying or frustrating or difficult for many, and I, too, was pretty annoyed to hear the commentators keep bringing up the 2016 Duke game, their complete bewilderment as to why Clemson and their horrible strength of schedule weren’t in the first CFP rankings, and how many times they mentioned that Chris Finke is a former walk-on.

But the toxic comments I read on Twitter regarding the commercials that the ACC Network was showing? Well, folks, that’s where I can’t say I agree with any of you Negative Nancies out there.

I wasn’t always paying attention during commercial breaks, but I have to say that watching the ACC Network and the commercials they choose to air was easily the best TV ad experience I’ve had during a single sporting event in YEARS.

So, with the caveat that I started making this list mid-4th quarter and thus definitely missed some good ones (PLEASE sound off in the comments with the best snubs), I wanted to put together the definitive ranking of those TV ad spots by how ridiculous, inane, funny, and awesome they are — or, put more simply...how much I was buyin’ what they were sellin’.

Let’s do this, in descending order so that we save the best for last.

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12. Tecovas Western Boots

I don’t think this video was the exact commercial I saw during the 4th quarter, as it would have been absolute torture to endure a two-minute advertisement for a product I simply wouldn’t ever wear. But we will use it as an example of what I’m talking about.

I have never owned a pair of “western boots” and thus have no idea if Tecovas is a good brand for them or not, but in terms of the criteria I’m looking at for this (a combination of how ridiculous the commercial is and how much I want the product), this one is dead last of the 12 that I wrote down.

The commercial is well-made with an uplifting but not obnoxious musical accompaniment, and at no point did I say to myself, “You know what? It’s time for Ole Pat to get some cowboy boots, drive his pickup truck through a picturesque field, and then sit with my new boots WAY too close to a campfire.”

Sorry, Tecovas. Please accept this cowboy-related Vine as compensation for me placing you last. Also, don’t call me Ole Pat.

11. Zaxby’s New Chicken Sandwiches

This is just your quick, basic chain restaurant commercial advertising new menu items, so it’s honestly not much better than the boots above. However, it automatically beats those boots because I have had Zaxby’s once or twice and it is pretty good, so I know I’d be okay eating these sandwiches — specifically the one on Texas Toast.

I do have one other quick note on this — it gains some major points for a SUPER BRIEF, SNEAKY, YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE NOTICED IT ad-within-an-ad at the end of the commercial promoting the upcoming sequel to 2017’s summer blockbuster Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Obviously I am talking about Jumanji: The Next Level starring The Rock, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, and Nick Jonas. Any time we can work a Jumanji reference into a sandwich commercial, I’m gonna be a fan, folks.

10. The Concept of Jerome Bettis Being On Your Flag Football Team

This Geico commercial would honestly be dead last in these rankings if it didn’t feature our favorite large Irish adult son, Jerome Bettis. Only his presence saved it from being the cowboys boots/15-second-chicken-sandwich-commercial of this list.

What’s my problem with this admittedly funny analogy for how easy using Geico is?

Jerome Bettis’ antics on the flag football field are ALL illegal, and my good friend Josh of Buffalo Rumblings agrees with me.

Let’s quickly list out what Jerome Bettis does and why he would never be allowed to get away with it in flag football, a notably contact-less version of regular football where you are not allowed to push other people in any sort of manner.

  • (0:09) — The Bus stiff-arms a would-be flag-grabber before quickly spinning off him. Please note that stiff-arming in flag football is the equivalent of flag-guarding and is not allowed, for obvious reasons
  • (0:11) — The Bus stiff-arms a second defender, this time even extending his arm in a fashion that would DEFINITELY draw the attention of even the least dialed-in referees in the game, considering the unnecessary roughness in play here. Alas, there is no penalty flag thrown, and Bettis rumbles onward
  • (0:13) — The Bus literally palms a guy’s face in a brazen THIRD stiff-arm of the run, discarding the poor guy on the ground like a rag doll
  • (0:16) — The Bus, bored of stiff-arming guys to the ground, takes his latest foe (Baldy McGee) and grabs him by the head, driving him backwards for about 5 yards using his forehead to steer, only to then once again toss him to the ground
  • (0:18) — The Bus’ last victim, Baldy McGee, manages to make a helluva defensive play as he falls victim to the stiff-arm shove, snagging one of the runner’s flags on his way down. Unfortunately for him, Bettis has clearly rigged his flags somehow to not tear away when a defender grabs them. This is very obviously not allowed and results in Baldy McGee getting dragged another 15 yards before Bettis scores what is evidently his 7th touchdown of the game...how much did he pay these refs to allow this to go on all game??

So, moral of the story here is that Jerome Bettis, a 47-year-old man who hasn’t played professional football since 2005 and was never known for his speed or agility anyway, would absolutely NOT be the juggernaut flag football player that Geico makes him out to be, considering he would be penalized literally every play for the very clear violations of basic rules he would have to commit in order to compete at that level.

And so, considering all that, I don’t want to buy their insurance, you guys.

9. The Latest Star Wars Movie, The Mandalorian

I’ve never been a big Star Wars guy. I’ve seen the 6 original movies plus Rogue One and generally enjoyed the story and the action and everything, but overall the space/sci-fi thing never really did it for me. I’m definitely more of a Harry Potter/Game of Thrones/Lord of the Rings kind of guy.

So, in terms of how much I want to buy what they’re selling with this trailer for The Mandalorian, I’d say my answer would be “not very much.”

Nevertheless, it still beats out the boots movie, the chicken sandwich/Jumanji spot, and the cheating Jerome Bettis ad, so it lands at #9 in the list. Here are my random thoughts from watching the trailer and not knowing basically anything about the plot/premise of this film:

  • Heads on the ground, heads on spears...seems bad
  • Wait, why would they have spears in this world of lightsabers and laser guns?
  • That’s Carl Weathers. He can give you acting lessons and also teach you how to make a stew
  • That was Iron Man, I’m pretty positive
  • Mustache Man riding a piranha horse and holding a gun
  • Why is that lady winking?
  • Moses’ mom about to set him afloat down the river, I see
  • Now they have guns, no spears in sight...glad they listened to me earlier
  • Is that Gustavo Fring? Yes, it is. Very excited they’re finally giving us the Breaking Bad/Star Wars crossover we’ve been clamoring for!
  • Sick hover-hog, man
  • Ohhhhh this is about the bounty hunter guy, isn’t it?
  • Who is the old guy? I don’t like him

Okay, that’s it for this one. Almost certainly not gonna see this movie.

8. Dr. Pepper (and Infidelity)

Dr. Pepper is the best soda/pop out there and it’s not even remotely close. So in terms of the “would Pat buy it?” criterion for this one, it’s a resounding “yes.”

The commercial itself is fine. I mostly enjoy the Fansville ads they’ve been seemingly running for 5 years now, and appreciate a number of things in this specific ad (“is that dijon mustard?”, “are you seeing another grill?”, “she has an onion volcano!”, “she uses propane! this is natural, girl,” “HWHAT?!?”), but I can’t put this any higher because this, like all the Fansville ads, can be seen on normal networks during college football season.

Additionally, I just think the next 7 commercials are funnier/more ridiculous/more entertaining, so this is as far as the Dr. Pepper ad will make it.

7. Nick Saban Selling Me Aflac Insurance

Obviously, this commercial is like the Dr. Pepper one in terms of it being shown on other networks, but I think the entire concept is funnier and more ridiculous, so it snags the #7 spot.

Just the idea of Nicholas Lou Saban Jr. being this passionate about an insurance provider is unbelievable and perfect, and I love that the entire ad campaign is broken into these recruiting events with Saban and his duck partner courting this couple with an in-home visit, a campus tour, etc.

Saban is rocking an Aflac polo, and the Aflac duck is apparently wearing a matching sweater or something? What an adorable little insurance pair, you guys!

I love when the highlight video is played and the duck is wiggling its head/neck in a dance-y fashion as it watches the film, and then I also love when the wife inexplicably gets turned on by the video of her husband paying bills. She says, “you look good paying bills,” which to me implies that he doesn’t currently pay them, and thus the thought of that happening is very appealing to her. Does she pay them instead? Are they just not paying for anything, from utilities to mortgage/car payments to taxes??? Also, when his wife says that to him so sensually, why is his first reaction to turn and stare lovingly at the duck?

It’s an electric commercial, and if it weren’t such a big company with tons of ads playing all the time everywhere, it might be higher. But, unfortunately, it has nothing on the below commercials, in terms of capturing my heart.

6. Island Coastal Lager

I have never, in my life, heard of this brand of beer. Let me start there, as I got fairly into beer while I lived in small-town Southwestern Michigan (there is little else to do in SW Michigan in the winter), and Island Coastal Lager has never been something on my radar. When this ad came on the TV, I honestly thought it might be a joke commercial or that it was Bud Light or Miller Lite or something and the “Island” thing on their shirts was something else.

But, alas, this is real. So now let’s talk about what happens in the ad. Two tailgate bros reach simultaneously into the cooler and grab the last beer, awkwardly picking it up in conjunction with the other and gazing mischievously into each others’ eyes without saying anything.

Then, everyone at the tailgate in perfect, simultaneous fashion points and yells “PLAY FOR IT!” It’s clear this is a common occurrence — two idiots somehow managing to grab the one beer they have left and refusing to share it — and so at this point in the ad, they begin playing cornhole.

I gotta be honest, it was at this point in watching it that I’d convinced myself this was not a beer commercial, but an ad for a cornhole board manufacturer or something. Also, the clips of their game show other people playing cornhole too — do they get some of the beer if they win? Or are they just forced into these two guys’ weird competition for one beer at a tailgate, with no personal reward? Why would you agree to spend your time doing this, other people???

We never find out who wins, because some other people arrive with more Island Coastal Lager, and everyone cheers and starts shotgunning the beers. They appear to have brought AT LEAST 6 cases of beer, and guessing that each is probably a 12-pack based on size, I think we can estimate they brought ~72 Island Coastal Lagers — hell yeah, BAY BEEEEEEE.

The commercial closes with the tagline “Elevate your tailgate, and take it easy,” which to me is a horrible slogan, considering the second half of it directly contradicts the first. If you’re elevating your tailgate, you probably aren’t taking it easy. C’mon, Island Coastal Lager!!!

Anyway, a solid commercial considering I’ve never heard of the brand, it creates a ludicrous scenario where two guys feel they must compete in cornhole to determine who gets the last beer at a tailgate. I approve of this advertisement, even if it’s not a commercial for Hamm’s Premium, the BEST tailgate beer.

5. My Pillow

I cannot remember which My Pillow commercial was shown on the ACC Network last night, but I found this one on YouTube and just HAVE to share it.

First and foremost, the My Pillow guy just appears in this couple’s mirror, and they’re not the least bit disturbed by that, instead just greeting him as if he’s a celebrity they encountered out on the street.

Then, the My Pillow guy has the woman lie in bed and he starts pressing her pillow down to show her that her pillow sucks (smart sales tactic — he even says “this pillow is no good” at one point).

The My Pillow guy claims to have tried every pillow out there and that none of them worked. That is A LOT of pillows, buddy. Where do you find the time???

He then goes on to explain, after a customer testimonial, that he makes all the pillows in his home state of Minnesota and they have a 10-year warranty, which is honestly WAAAAAY too long to keep a pillow. Why would you want a 10-year pillow warranty?

Finally, at the end of the commercial, the My Pillow guy once again haunts this poor couple’s bathroom by appearing in the mirror only to tell the guy he’s sleeping better and then tell him he’s looking good, which the couple replies to with “feelin’ good,” which is then rhymed again with My Pillow guy saying “I knew ya would!” That’s just electric as hell, folks.

The commercial closes with a nice little jingle where My Pillow claims to be giving people “the best night’s sleep in the whole wide world.” That is a bold claim for sure and doesn’t sound right, but I don’t know enough about pillows to dispute it.

Overall, I love sleeping and thus love pillows, and think the My Pillow commercials are so bad and awkward and seem sort of like a scam, which makes it an even stronger commercial to show during a prime time college football game on your network. A solid #5, for usre.

4. HootersMoneyball.com

Even after the ambiguous and weird beginning of the ad is cleared up with an explanation of what the commercial is for, I still do not exactly know what this is. I thiiiiink it’s sports gambling through Hooters; which, if that’s true, that’s hilarious and amazing.

I’ve never been to a Hooters, but the idea that they said “we should take the name of a movie about baseball sabermetrics, smash it together with our brand name, and make it a website where guys can gamble money on football” is absolutely perfect, and I am so glad I got to hear about it. This country is the best.

Add on bonus points for the sexual tone in the beginning and the clips they show of people watching games at Hooters near the end, and it’s just fantastic television. They give reasons to go to Hooters and one is “the best fans on the planet,” and I of course need some clarification. Are these fans of Hooters itself? Or are they saying the best fans of all teams go to Hooters to watch games? If so, how can they possibly measure/prove that?

I also really dig the incredibly awkward fist-bump-and-explode interaction between a Hooters waitress and a male “fan” in a generic green football jersey near the end of the ad — that was stupendous and is DEFINITELY the kind of relationship I always have with my waitress in a sports bar.

So yeah, HootersMoneyball.com is too funny of a URL to advertise on the ACC Network during a Notre Dame vs. Duke football game — it HAD to make the top 4, folks.

3. LaserX Laser Tag

This looks like something I would have LOVED to have as a kid with all my neighborhood friends. Hell, it looks like something I’d LOVE to have now to use while running around downtown Chicago with friends — laser tag is pretty great.

But moving past the obvious fact I would buy this, there were some fantastic things said in that commercial.

First, they claim to be the “#1 home laser tag game on the planet,” which is a crazy claim that I don’t think they can legally back up, similar to some of the claims made above by HootersMoneyball.com and My Pillow. Secondly, I love the phrase “your neighborhood is the arena!” That’s what I’ve always dreamed of.

Third, I like that instead of just two team choices, a third choice is just “GO ROGUE,” which to me sounds like you’ll just be running around executing people left and right because they don’t know what team you’re on.

I also adore when they’re showing all the different laser guns and they mention the “Compact Micro Blaster.” WHO WOULD WANT THAT SHITTY LITTLE THING?? Especially when the next ones they mention are the Fusion Modular Blaster (500-foot range) and the “LaserX Morph Blaster” that morphs into a training machine and has 300-foot range as a gun.

Furthermore, I want to thank this ad for introducing me to the phrase “blaster-to-blaster,” and for the “unlimited number of players” reveal wherein they have kids shoot down into the living room and onto the stairs via beams of color reminiscent of Power Rangers. Ahhhh I miss Power Rangers so much...

Anyway, at $49.99 plus processing and handling, this seems like a total steal for anyone trying to sprint around outside with their friends and shoot lasers at each other, all while GOING ROGUE and fighting BLASTER-TO-BLASTER.

2. MTailor

“Guys, how frustrating is it to find a great pair of jeans?”

That’s how this infomercial for MTailor opens, and it is so poorly worded, it’s fantastic. I know what she meant — how frustrating is it to try to find a great pair of jeans? But instead she just says that it’s frustrating to find a great pair of jeans, which to me is counterproductive for the entire sales pitch here. It would actually be wonderful to find a great pair of jeans, ma’am. I disagree with your premise.

Not a great start.

She starts talking about the issues people can have in the fit of their jeans, and the camera pans over this guy’s ill-fitting pants...and as I watched alone in my apartment, I felt compelled to blurt out to literally no one, “Are those even jeans?!?” They do not look at all like a pair of jeans anyone has ever owned, in the history of jeans. What in the world is he wearing?

ARE THOSE EVEN JEANS, MAN???

“Stop spending HOURS trying stuff on.”

How long does it take other people to try on jeans? Am I the only person who is able to try on a pair of jeans in just a couple minutes? Is the amount of time spent trying on clothes really the selling point here?

“MTailor measures you digitally and is 20% more accurate than a professional tailor.”

By what metric? How does one measure “accuracy of tailors”? I have so many questions on how they came to that statistic, and can’t even begin to fathom how they did it. Also how would a phone app ever be more accurate at measuring someone than a professional tailor measuring them in-person? That just cannot be true, folks.

Anyway, I don’t know if I would ever use this app or buy jeans through MTailor, but the commercial is so bad and ridiculous and funny that I couldn’t help but rank it this high.

1. ProjeX Projection Gaming Arcade

Only one of the commercials last night made its way into my text conversations with friends in terms of products we agreed we wanted, and that was, of course, ProjeX Projection Gaming Arcade.

And once you watch that video, it’s easy to see why. Whether it’s the amazing tag lines that pull the consumer in — “When it’s lights off, that means it’s GAME ON!!!” — or the fact that this appears to be a game designed to succeed in the 1999 toy landscape, the ProjeX commercial is a superb mix of over-the-top corny and way too simple of a concept to succeed today with all the video game systems out there. I love it so much. I NEED a video game that just projects ducks onto my wall.

I truly want to turn my house into a projected gaming arcade, and really enjoy things that are “A BLAST TO PLAY!” Also, it rules that when they’re explaining that no TV is needed and it’s super easy, the text on the screen just says:

You can “swap slides to blast different targets” and then they only mention two options — ducks and UFOs. Of course, I’m happy they covered the Big Two things that we are always shooting guns at (ducks and UFOs) , but couldn’t they have included a lot more options for kids to choose from, to keep things interesting? Also, I love that when they say it has “intense sound effects” you just hear a duck quacking. Amazing stuff.

Finally, this thing costs $49.99 plus processing and handling, which is the same price as the laser tag set despite including much less, I believe. That makes it funnier and I definitely want to buy this if it means my friends and I can stare at a dark wall and shoot at ducks and UFOs from the safety of our own home...that’s a no-brainer.

***

Well everyone, that’s what I’ve got. Feel free to #EmbraceDebate and disagree/argue about this in the comments, and please let me know if anyone wants to play ProjeX with me in the near future. I plan on ordering it this week!!!