White Sox “Beard”

Until we start hearing rumors about baseball fans taking steroids (perhaps to improve their chances of grabbing a foul ball in the stands), it’s not a bad idea for a team’s advertising to focus on them rather than on the players. The Chicago White Sox do so to excellent effect in a pre-season campaign via EnergyBBDO. Are there really fans, like the bearded fellow in this spot, whose personal tradition it is to stop shaving between the last day of one season and opening day of the next? I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s a clever theme for a commercial precisely because fans do have all sorts of oddball habits in the way they root for their team, endure the offseason and so on. Viewers in the target audience will get a laugh from the spot even while feeling it has latched onto something true about them. The commercial also knows how to keep a straight face – something that often seems a lost art in modern pop culture. Thus, the protagonist is commendably deadpan as he relates how the beard’s length acts as a kind of calendar. (When it reaches his belt, he knows it’s time for pitchers and catchers to report to spring training.) If the White Sox themselves keep their eyes on the ball as well as this commercial does, it could be a long season for the Twins, Indians and other American League Central rivals. –Mark Dolliver