There is a lot of press about how hockey can't seem to penetrate major markets. One of the reasons may be hockey commercials. You see, they vary. They vary between awesome, hilarious, etc., and mind-meltingly awful. However, the awesome and hilarious ones are catering to a fairly limited sector of the population who are going to find them funny, and an even more limited sector that actually enjoys the camp value. And the mind-meltingly awful ones have universal bad appeal.
You want to see a decent Nike commercial? This one, with Naslund and Kovalchuk, from a couple years ago, is pretty good. It's a cool concept, with bits of actual humor (look at the referee's and then the coach's expression--highly amusing!) and--this is key: it involves VERY LITTLE ACTUAL ACTING. This is because hockey players are generally very very bad actors. See: Good commercial.
A bad, bad commercial that I cannot for the life of me find on Youtube right now is that one that they keep showing on TSN (and, I'm sure, other networks, but I don't really see them) with the awful dark lighting and players that I cannot recall like...rolling over each other's backs in order to score goals. It's awful. There is not one single redeeming factor about that commercial, and it doesn't even come across as "cool" as they keep hoping it will.
You want to see a bad commercial of a different stripe? I have three: This tragic Blackhawks commercial about soda, this tragic one where they can't decide what to watch on the TV they inexplicably have in the locker room, and this one just in general. You know what the common thread is, here? (Don't say the Blackhawks. That's only partial credit.) THEY ALL INVOLVE ACTING. Look, man. They are TERRIBLE actors. Even if they sat around and talked like that in real life--which I can't see just because I don't think Marty Havlat would bother hanging around most of his teammates--they couldn't pull that off. It's just not good! Does that make you want to watch the Blackhawks play hockey? I hope not.
This is a bad commercial because it is boring as all get-out, and Ted Nolan is not an especially attractive man. That's the best you could come up with, Islanders Organization? Really?
You want to see a couple misguided but extremely funny anyway commercials? Here and here, both of which are from the amusing nation of Slovakia for, I think, the World Cup. Both feature arguably attractive young women who are very, very poor actors, being surprised in daily activities by a three-piece band of nutty Slovakian hockey fans with...musical instruments. No, I don't understand it either. Just watch them, seriously, you will laugh.
The whole set of NHL commercials that were running a couple years ago, the "[Player X] is just here to remind you that the season's starting soon," those were pretty good. Although this one with Peter Forsberg is somewhat terrifying, just because of the whole concept of Peter Forsberg being in someone's bed besides his own, with his "I will eat your soul" eyes. But this one, with Marty Turco, is very awesome as well, if only for that guy's delivery of "Okay! No music!" Seriously, who is that guy? He needs his own show.
Another set of NHL commercials I really really really enjoyed were the "NHL players are just like you and me!" commercials. I'm torn over which is my favorite: Joe Thornton's inability to eat toast, because that one was actually my life after the past week since none of my three roommates nor I could remember to buy margarine at the grocery store and had only rock-hard butter to eat on or toast, OR Ovechkin's inability to buy chips out of a vending machine. That commercial is the awesome reason whenever I'm directing someone, I shout "I said left! Left!" in a heavy Russian accent, but since no one but me remembers that commercial, I come across as a lunatic, not an...impersonator of hockey commercials, which I guess means I fall into a different category of lunatic.
The same set had the unbelievably awesome NHL Roadtrip commercial, which if you've never seen, you need to watch, like, immediately. It is all KINDS of awesome. (Except for the Staal brothers, who are just creepy as anything.) It has again, Ovechkin being kind of weirdly hilarious and ordering a shitload of food in Sidney Crosby's name, Sidney Crosby being not only hideous but a terrible actor, and about a dozen other players just generally being stupid and hilarious. My favorite part? "What are you doing?" "Nothing."
And, of course, the "Swedish Twins" commercial. This is a really really awesome commercial, if only for the Sedin twins dancing around. Honest to God, every person in that commercial deserves to be just heaped with awards. The first time I showed this to my dad, he nearly had a stroke from laughing so hard. That's how awesome it is.
Now I feel like I watch too much TV. So I'll finish off with this commercial, which at least makes me feel better about my addiction. The more hockey you watch, the tougher you get.
[And a thank-you to the beyond awesome girls over at Untypical Girls for linking to me! Sorry about the Stars losing to the Sens, guys. But...the Sens really needed the win. Please don't hurt me. You guys rule!]