By Barry Janoff
September 15, 2014: In the late 1950s-early 1960s TV comedy, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Maynard G. Crebs (played by Bob Denver, who went on to play the title role in Gilligan's Island), was a beatnik who loved jazz and unconventional poetry.
Blake Griffin of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers channels his best Crebs in a new campaign breaking this week from Vizio to support the consumer electronics company's line of Ultra HDTVs.
Griffin, who has been aligned with the Irvine, Calif.-based firm since early 2011, offers poetic odes to "details of the game he loves," such as mouthguards, bobbleheads and tearaway warm-up pants. Products are not seen in the initial TV ads, which come with the text, "See the beauty in Everything. Ultra HD from Vizio."
The effort, anchored by a trio of TV spots, comes with social media support and a dedicated micro-site in which Griffin "writes" poems based on specific topics submitted by visitors, such as guitars, soccer balls, ice cream cones, lipstick and Ping-Pong paddles.
"My newest hobby . . . mouthguard, bobble head and tearaway pants," Griffin wrote on his Twitter page, which comes with the hashtag, #SlamDunkPoetry.. "Like you've never seen them before."
Lead agency is David & Goliath, El Segundo, Calif.
The Vizio push is the first new national campaign for a member of the Clippers since the sale of the franchise last month to Steve Ballmer as a result of the situation involving racist remarks made by now ex-majority team owner Donald Sterling.
Griffin also has deals that include Kia (also handled by David & Goliath), Nike, Subway, Gamefly and Panini America. He makes about $7 million annually from endorsements, according to industry analysts.
In each ad, Griffin stands on a darkened stage before an unseen audience.
"My tearaway pants," offers Griffin in "Tearaway Pants," subtitled "Metamorphosis." "One flick of the wrist and it's time to dance. Rip-rippity, off you go. Snippity-snap to the flow. A quick costume change before taking the courts. I'm wearing pants — now look, I'm wearing shorts."
In "Mouthguard," aka "Translucent Savior," Griffin recites, "Mouthguard. Looking out for me. A Silicone shield, that's what you be. It ain't no big thing to take an elbow to the face. Because you're always there to keep my pie hole in place."
"Bobblehead," aka "An Exploration of Self," finds Griffin proclaiming introspectively and nonsensically, "Bobblehead, with your distant stare. Who's the best player in the air? Is it me? Is it him? Is it her? Or is it them? You're answering 'Yes' to everything I say. Head constantly bobbing like a ship lost at sea. You kinda, sorta don't look like me. They gave you away for free!?"
At the micro-site, visitors are encouraged to tell Griffin "about the things that make your heart beat so he can write a special jam just for you." Some of the early submissions include "To My Dearest Lipstick" ("This could be quite crazy/Or maybe just lazy/But my love for lipstick/Is really amazing") and "Ice Cream Cone" ("I'll wax poetic/Of the love that I feel/For this ice cream cone that makes/My heart beat like a drill.").
Vizio earlier this month launched “TDs for TVs,” featuring San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Stevie Johnson, a program that "provides fans the opportunity to get involved with Johnson’s on-the-field play and gives back to his favorite nonprofit: Boys & Girls Clubs of America."
According to the company, for the duration of the 2014 regular NFL season, Vizio will award one fan with a 50” M-Series Smart TV each week. "When Johnson scores a touchdown, Vizio will upgrade the weekly fan prize to an all-new, 50” P-Series Ultra HD Full-Array LED Smart TV. The local Boys & Girls Club in the city Johnson scores a touchdown will also receive a TV if he scores one or more touchdowns during the game." (Details here.)