It’s No Holiday for Ripken

NEW YORK It’s baseball season, which means it’s officially time for Holiday Inn’s Three Business Guys to go into major road-doofus mode while promoting “The Official Hotel of Major League Baseball.” Last year, they could be seen meeting and offending sportscaster Joe Buck by trying to replicate his inimitable play-by-play announcing voice.

This year, we find them in a Holiday Inn lobby circling around all time great, and 2007 Hall of Fame electee Cal Ripken, Jr. After one of the guys congratulates him on the Hall of Fame honor, another says, “We went to Aberdeen High School together. I was just saying to my crazy buddy, ‘I wonder what ever happened to Cal Ripken.’ What line of work are you in?” Ripken answers good-naturedly that it’s baseball. “My gosh,” the clueless one responds. “No kidding! Good for you! Where was this—in Jamaica?”

While The Office-style improv thing is getting overused in advertising, this spot feels fresh. The writing is smart and funny, and the acting is terrific. Ripken seems to be a natural, and he’s great at remaining deadpan in the face of sheer idiocy. The dialogue crackles like a three base hit, and unlike some others in the series, it’s even clear why you’d want to stay at this particular chain.