April Spots: Running the Bases

NEW YORK If running were as effortless as Reebok’s latest campaign, “Run easy,” makes it seem, I might try to take the sport up. And I wouldn’t be surprised if this latest spot, directed by Frank Budgen, enticed even the most reticent runners into giving jogging a whirl. The commercial, shot all over the world, follows pairs of friends on their jogs. The editing of the runners’ conversations—yes, they can chat while they’re hoofing it, it’s that easy!—is what gives the spot its counter-Nike-“Just do it” accessibility. The conversational string, which starts with talk about travelling to the moon and moves on to things such as first dates, boobs and night crawlers, makes for some funny juxtapositions. The conversation doesn’t make much sense, but it perfectly supports the “Run at the speed of chat” tagline.

As far as inspiration goes this month, that spot probably does it best. But BMW’s latest spot does prod a wanderlust soul to go see the wonders of the world. Here, the Empire State Building, the pyramids of Egypt and the Taj Mahal, among other man-made wonders, are pictured, nonsensically, as incomplete structures with construction beginning at the top rather than the base. The point: BMW’s fully retractable hardtop is based on sound from-the-ground-up engineering practices. The images of the landmarks as they’ve never been seen before are eye-catching and the car is just as nice to look at.

In the beer category, Dos Equis introduces us to the “most interesting man in the world.” An adventure seeker who bench presses nurses and frees a bear from a trap, he also has blood that “smells like cologne!” Looking suave in a tux, he doesn’t overstate his love of beer. However, he does share that when he wants a brew, he goes for a Dos Equis. The spot offers a nice twist on the worldly debonair character, and the details are amusing.

The best commercial performance last month, however, came from Harvey Keitel in Gatorade’s “Thief” spot. The actor appears on the baseball field whispering in the ear of Derek Jeter as the player contemplates his next move. Keitel, outfitted in a black suit and managing to be as unsettling as ever, seems to channel his character in Bad Lieutenant. “Go ahead, take it,” Keitel urges, as he tells Jeter what plays the competition is gearing up for. “You gotta do what you gotta do,” he says and, with that, Jeter takes off and steals the base. “Aaaah, stealing,” Keitel says, with his best, satisfied mobster-style pitch. “It’s a beautiful thing.”

The oddest, most memorable performance came from Starburst. A lace-collared English lad in a Little Lord Fauntleroy outfit gleefully accosts a pair of teens at a bus station who are munching on the candies. “Berries and Cream, Berries and Cream, I’m a little lad who loves Berries and Cream,” he says with a clap, a click of the heels and an exuberant show of jazz hands. It’s very strange, but so absorbing that he’s cultivated a fan base strong enough to support his own Berries and Cream Web site. Is this the beginning of a new dance craze? Go on, clap along. You know you want to.