Great-Granny Got Game For Gators

94-Year-Old Fan Leads TV Cheers for U. of Florida’s Women Cagers
ATLANTA–She’s not your typical fan. Then again, this isn’t your typical basketball season.
With the professional game on hold, Turkel Schwartz & Partners has turned to a rabid 94-year-old fan, who puts on her game face in new television commercials for the University of Florida’s women’s basketball team.
Mary Elliott, a Gaines-ville, Fla., great-grandmother who attends every Lady Gators’ home game and even stretches with players in warm-ups, stars in a trio of humorous takes on the team’s raucous fans.
In one 30-second spot, Elliott is crammed in the stands with other fans, screaming at an incompetent official in colorful language that is censored with a blatant sound bleep. “Hey Zebra! My dead grandmother could have made that call!” and “I saw that from here and I’m legally blind!” are as nice are she gets.
In another 30-second ad, she sits sweetly knitting in a rocking chair, maternally addressing the camera about how much her great-grandchildren have learned from the Lady Gators. She then turns to the kids and screams, “Haven’t you learned anything? No blood, no foul!”
A 15-second ad shows Elliott from behind in her nightgown, apparently preparing for bed with night cream. As the camera tilts up, her face is revealed in the mirror to be painted in the school’s blue and orange colors. She ends with a ferocious growl.
The ads for the team, currently ranked 20th in the nation, conclude with a husky male voice urging, “Go home hoarse!”
“Women’s basketball is one of the hottest and fastest-growing spectator sports in the country, and Mrs. Elliott is about to make it bigger than the Dream Team,” said Bruce Turkel, executive creative director at the agency. “We knew when we met Mrs. Elliott that her enthusiasm, sense of humor and intense love of the game were exactly what we were looking for.”
Agency partner Philip Schwartz noted that women’s basketball fans are primarily senior citizens and families with young children looking for inexpensive entertainment.
“The principal goal is to build attendance,” added Schwartz, “and we’re hoping to take advantage of the basketball starved fan.”
The Miami agency would not divulge the budget for the television campaign.