On Aug. 28, 2014, Snickers candy bar, a division of Mars, Inc., has added a new video, “Johnny JamBoogie” to YouTube. In the opening segments, the rookie Cleveland Brown’s backup quarterback, Johnny Manziel, also currently known as Johnny “Clipboard,” Football,” or “Bench,” depending is an aerobics instructor, “Johnny JamBoogie.” Yes, that’s right, an aerobics instructor, whose actions have been described by the guys over at Bleacher Report as “Manziel Does His Best Richard Simmons in Snickers Ad” is pretty much spot on.
As you watch that video, and then you watch it again, you may agree that it’s just so very, very wrong. He’s there chanting in rhythm, “Who’s got a pelvis?” Who writes this stuff?The “sell” part of the ad is that some actor as an unauthentic Cleveland Browns player comes in the room as he asks the ladies, “What’s my name?” They all call out in unison, “Johnny JamBoogie!!!!” and after the conclusion of the video (lest it be spoiled for you), well, you just have to watch it to have that sick feeling deep inside your Aggie-living, Aggie-loving, Cleveland Browns-rooting core. This is the best they could do? As Seth Myers and Amy Poehler would say, “Really? Really?” Were I with the Cleveland Browns, I don’t think I’d have green-lighted that ad either. Branding, it’s all about the branding, you see.
Yes, really; it’s both embarrassing and strange, simultaneously, to see the guy whose cameo in the McDonald’s commercial with LeBron James was to strike the famous Heisman pose. That was plenty of sell and marketability without his speaking a word. And that’s pretty much his best marketing talent is to stand there and not say much. Surely his aerobics moves aren’t going to translate into candy bars sold. It will, however, likely find him being mocked to high heaven in the locker room of the Cleveland Browns in days to come.
There are days when really, you have to figure you have enough money and just sit some of these opportunities out, or get your agent to pull rank and talk “creative control.” Remember the poignant, wonderful ad where the little kid hands Mean Joe Greene a Coca-Cola? Remember the Peyton Manning dialing his dad “Papa Bear” on the Buick wireless command feature as he drove to see his family? Good one.
You can remember Ray Lewis and a bear for Old Spice aftershave; there was the clever Aaron Rodgers and B. J. Raji “Discount Double Check” dance that was pretty good. Then there’s Peyton Manning and the Papa John’s pizza CEO chatting, about pizza, good football food, no dancing. There was a sorta macho Noxema commercial with Joe Namath and Farrah Fawcett, and then there was the Joe Namath in Beautymist pantyhose commercial, but at the end he was rewarded with a brunette model cozying up to him and he didn’t dance a step. And then there’s Johnny JamBoogie. Does anyone have an aspirin? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
The conglomerate who owns Snickers candy bars, Mars, Inc., has an official web site that features four videos, which you have to enter your birthday to watch, presumably to provide demographic data to the marketing team. On their web site, though, the four videos they feature, some with 389,020 views to date, not bad for someone with enough free time to visit a candy bar’s web site, include “Gorilla, Peanut Butter Squared,” “Intercom” and “Leisure Suit.” Okay, for those keeping score at home, the brand new video featuring Johnny Manziel is not even posted on the product’s corporate brand web site. What’s up with that? Has anyone checked with LeBron's team to find out what they are thinking there?
In the department of regrets, it could be that young Manziel is even more greatly missing those days of old, as in one year ago, when he was still enrolled in college, as he tweeted just four hours ago, “Good luck to all my brothers back at A&M let’s get this win,” including the Twitter address for the Aggies starting quarterback this season, Kenny Hill. Interestingly, despite the possibility of perhaps adding a photo of the Aggies’ starting QB, Hill, to his post, instead he tacked on an Instagram photo of, well, himself, standing with Aggies offensive coordinator, Jake Spavital, from last season.
One can safely assume that the road to the NFL glory spot of first round draft pick has not been at all according to plan for the young, hopeful Heisman winner. Manziel is likely now missing the place he called home for three years, Texas A&M, which held for him a plethora of loving, adoring fans, who absolutely worshipped the ground he once walked on at Kyle Field. No doubt, too, he’s missing the coaching style and wisdom of the Aggies Head Football Coach, Kevin Sumlin. In the Aug. 25, 2014, Bryan-College Station Eagle, the new Jim Dent book is reviewed, noting how Kevin Sumlin is described as “Johnny’s Second Father.”
Meanwhile, daddy Sumlin is busy today, as the Aggies are in South Carolina taking on their SEC rival, the proud alma mater of another very talented Cleveland Browns quarterback, Connor Shaw. So, while the YouTube counter is showing 16,416 views right now, it’s just a matter of time before everyone sees the video. But how many candy bars is it going to sell?
This Snickers commercial is such a disaster, if you’re like me, you probably need to watch a rerun of the Mean Joe Greene, the kid and the Coca-Cola commercial, just to get rid of the horror of the other one. Have a Coke and a smile, and forget about the candy bar. Seriously.