Major League Baseball, “Brian Wilson’s Epic Beard”

In honor of Major League Baseball’s opening day, here’s some quirky new work from Hill Holliday under the theme, “MLB Always Epic.” This first spot—one of four currently in rotation at—stars world champion San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson, who’s become a bona fide advertising star thanks to his fastball, his eccentric personality, his giant and terrifying beard and his impressive work during the World Series last year. (Wilson also featured prominently in ESPN’s “Opening Day” spot by Wieden + Kennedy, which we wrote about in this space last week.) Here, Hill Holliday takes a closer look at the famous Wilson beard—going deep inside it, in fact, to reveal some tiny Renaissance-fair merrymakers having a grand old time dancing around the follicles, and using one thick strand as a maypole. Um, what? I suppose it is epic—in miniature, anyway. A second Wilson spot shows ninjas fighting inside the beard, while the other ads feature Ubaldo Jimenez of the Colorado Rockies (seen searching for his first name among the mini license plates at a gift shop) and Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners (who puts his pitching arm to good use at a carnival game). It’s offbeat stuff for MLB, which tends to go in a more emotional direction—as seen in pretty much all of McCann Erickson’s “Beyond Baseball” work. But it’s a nice way to kick off the new season. As every fan knows, you can’t get too serious about the game until much later in the summer. —Tim Nudd