“Though this be madness, yet there is method in't.” – Hamlet | William Shakespeare
March Madness has descended upon basketball mortals like a ray of sunlight burning through the grey clouds of the U.S. economy. The paparazzi scurry like cockroaches at the sight of 68 NCAA teams vying for the chance to hoist the Naismith championship trophy.
Unfortunately, one of the game’s legends, Charles Barkley, had trouble getting into the studio with former NBA guard Greg Anthony in a humorous new Capital One Venture Card commercial aimed at face-painted fanatics and the campus masses.
In a March 6 video on YouTube, actor Alec Baldwin fills in for Sir Charles in “Telestrator” while the latter joins the broadcast via satellite. What follows is a familiar clip of Barkley being the butt of a funny joke, similar to what the hall of famer has to endure from colleagues in a typical TNT broadcast.
Hint: The punchline revolves around giant undies in a scene that subtly pokes fun at Sir Charles’ past weight issues. (See Michael Jordan appear with Charles Barkley on Oprah)
Okay, that’s PC (political correctness) talk. To be more blunt, Chuck was straight-up obese after an illustrious career in which he subsequently became celebrated as one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time.
The 30-second spot with Alec Baldwin is one of nine television ads and online videos uploaded on Capital One’s YouTube page. Beginning on March 17, fans can follow March Madness on Twitter and win prizes @CapitalOne. Use the hashtag #RallyCry to tweet your team’s progression through the tournament.
Charles The Great
The Capital One Venture Card commercial was unveiled last week, the same day Sports Illustrated proclaimed Sir Charles as the second “most powerful” person in sports media.
SI.com writer Richard Deitsch opines: “Barkley might be the only broadcaster in sports who can actually increase eyeballs by his mere presence. He's the reason Inside The NBA has maintained both cultural cachet and ratings success. He can't be replaced, which gives him immeasurable power at the network and access to Levy's office anytime he wants.”
There’s a simpler way to explain that. In the entertainment world, of which sports belongs, those who entertain yield the power. Eyeballs bring revenue.
But ranking Bob Costas of NBC at number three on the power list? Now that’s funny. Somewhere, a producer is preparing super tiny undies in a copycat commercial.
Here’s another Capital One commercial featuring Sir Charles and Alec Baldwin. In “Little Ball,” Alec and Charles engage in some bleacher banter during a college basketball game. Alec tells Charles he played a little ball in his day…bocce ball. (Watch the clip)
The facial reaction is priceless. Barkley looks like someone told him Shaquille O’Neal should be his BFF.
Here are other Charles Barkley and Alec Baldwin March Madness commercials from Capital One: