Sharpie “Obsession”

It’s tricky for a commercial to use an athlete who’s now as famous for being famous as he is for doing what made him famous in the first place. With the aura of free-floating celebhood that surrounds such a person, his or her presence can easily upstage the brand that’s being promoted. This spot for Sharpie (via Y&R’s BrandBuzz) works its way around that pitfall. While obliging his fans by autographing various hard-to-write-on surfaces, David Beckham starts coveting the Sharpie markers handed to him for this purpose. Before the spot ends, he gets into (and loses) a tug of war with a little girl and then outright steals the pen of a grown-up woman (who shames him into trading his shirt for it). You wouldn’t exactly say Beckham emerges from the spot as an everyman. But then, you wouldn’t want him to. (The world is already full of everymen.) What’s smart is that the vignette focuses Beckham’s interest (and, hence, the viewer’s) squarely on the product, so his star power illuminates Sharpie instead of overshadowing it. –Mark Dolliver