NFL games are riddled with commercial breaks or the more PR-friendly sounding, “TV timeouts.”
We get these TV timeouts at change of possession, end of quarter, the always (un)popular touchdown-point after attempt-COMMERICAL-kickoff-COMMERICAL stretch. And now they’ve even wedged more commercials in during breaks in the action for injuries and instant replay.
As much as you try to watch the NFL RedZone channel on Sundays to avoid the same 20 commercials that inevitably become annoying by Week 4, resistance is futile. By now you’ve surely come across this spot for the NFL Shop.
OK, did you take that all in? In summary, a young family starts out as Vikings fans, the kids grow up, move out and after being on their own, return home for another family photo. It is when they turn home that the circumstances have changed. Drama!
This is one of the most annoying commercials ever constructed. Yes, that may sound like hyperbole, but wait until we dive deeper into this thing.
From the get-go we’re introduced to the parents. The matriarch of this family narrates the 30-second spot.
“We started out as a Vikings family.”
You see a shot of family photo hanging on the wall. A young family is assembled in the backyard for a family photo. Mom and dad are slimmer and have color in their hair. They’re both wearing Fran Tarkenton No. 10 jerseys and the kids are also decked out in Vikings gear. It is a beautiful Norman Rockwell-esque shot of a family who all share a love for one another and the Minnesota Vikings.
Now, we see mom and dad with touches of gray in their hair and a bit of a paunch around their waistlines looking a tablet (they’re so hip!) at a new Vikings jersey on NFL Shop. No. 22? Something tells me this part of the commercial was redone in postproduction and that second '2' used to be an '8.'
"Hey, we shouldn't associate a Vikings' No. 28 jersey with small children. Quick, change it to No. 22!"
After mom and dad are done buying their new gear (On a tablet! It's so easy!), we learn about the kids. Mom continues…
“Until my son, Brendan, met Sara from Philly, got married…”
While mom is filling us in on the first-born, Brendan, we see a shot of him at a bar in his Vikings gear (understandable) becoming smitten with a pretty Eagles fan — Sara — at the other end. She is standing on a barstool and yelling at the TV. Love at first drunken sight! Next thing we know they’re getting chased through the city streets (Philadelphia? Probably Philadelphia) by fellow wedding goers wielding sparklers. Shockingly, no one including the groom, the bride or the wedding party is wearing NFL-licensed wedding gear. But, now we find out why they were running because they were on their way out of Philly to Cincinnati. And sparklers? Is this a thing? It's been a while since I got married. Anyway, back to the love birds Brendan and Sara.
“… moved to Cincy and had Bengal babies.”
Let’s recap here. We learn that the first-born son has moved out, married an Eagles fan and while at this point we think he’s still a Vikings fan, his kids are somehow Bengals fans because they live in Cincinnati. I guess if the choice was between making your kids Bengal fans or eating Skyline Chili, I also would have done the same, Brendan and Sara. I have no qualms here.
OK, so the original players in this commercial are now grandparents. We see grandpa in his Vikings hat playing with his grandchildren, all in Bengals jerseys. Now, I also did not know that if fans to two different teams get married and have kids, those kids automatically become fans of the NFL team of their current city. Brendan and Sara need to have more of an influence in their kids’ lives.
“While my daughter Julie met Emmitt Smith and never let us forget it.”
So we see Julie taking a selfie with Emmitt Smith (he wasn’t busy that’s why he’s in his commercial). Julie’s phone has a Vikings case. We’ll get back to her in a second.
“And after years of eating Roethlisbergers my son, Dan, became a fan of the guy, too.”
All right, so as much flack as we’ve given Brendan for marrying an Eagles fan, the youngest, Dan, is just down right pathetic. He eats some disgusting burger. Because of this burger he becomes a fan of the quarterback. Since that quarterback is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, he changes his allegiance from the Vikings to the Steelers. Dan, have you ever heard of a small town called Milledgeville, Ga.?
Back to the matriarch, who has now introduced us to her three children. We snap back to the homestead where the commercial began. The kids have returned home to mom and dad to pose for another one of those family backyard portraits. This time, instead of a mom and dad and three kids all in Vikings gear, we see those Bengal babies running around the backyard, Julie is there in her Vikings jersey — wait, did she remain above all this nonsense and stay a Vikings fan? I think I love you, Julie.
Nope, never mind. She is wearing a Cowboys hat with her Vikings jersey. I mean, COME ON?!?! Just because you met Emmitt Smith and got a photo with him?
“And that’s how my Vikings family became a Vikings, Bengals, Eagles, Steelers, Cowboys family. NFL Shop, jerseys, gear and gifts, for the whole, entire family.”
The commercial ends with a new family photo. Brendan is there on our far left. It looks like he’s left the Vikings for the Eagles to join his wife, while his four rugrats are in Bengals gear. Apparently, Sara's parents were invited to the photo shoot because next to her is an older couple in Eagles gear.
Julie is sitting to the right of her dad in her Vikings-Cowboys combo. She doesn’t have a significant other, unless she’s now dating Emmitt Smith, who couldn't attend the photo shoot because he wasn't ready to meet Julie's parents. That would explain the Cowboys hat.
Dan is sitting in the center next to the old man with his lady friend also in Steelers gear. Dan, you’re still not cool in my book.
Then, in the back right, there is a host of other Vikings fans/family members we weren’t introduced to. I’m guessing these are the "losers" who didn’t leave this god-forsaken town and remained fans the Purple People Eaters.
We can all agree this family sucks. How can everyone who moved away become such bandwagon fans? Yes, it’s the Vikings, but this wouldn’t happen in real life. Can you image kids who grew up in northeast Ohio in a tight-knit family that loved the Browns moving away and joining allegiances to their teams based on a girl, a burger or a chance encounter with a former player?
As for the clueless advertising executive who wrote this commercial. Yes, it worked because here I am talking about it, but the premise makes my blood boil. It is beyond dumb.
If the NFL Shop didn’t have such cool gear and if I had any semblance of will power, oooooh, the boycott I would do to you. Instead, I’m just going to bitch about your dumb commercial here and continue to consume your website. NFL Shop, you lost the battle with this crappy commercial, but you've won the war.