By Barry Janoff
February 26, 2012: Moviegoers and TV viewers are familiar with the face, voice and acting chops of Jeff Goldblum, whose Hollywood resume includes Independence Day, Jurassic Park and on TV as Det. Zach Nichols on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Now, basketball fans and auto consumers can see Goldblum playing the role of a scientist whose forte is "dunkology" in a new commercial for Kia that stars Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The 60-second spot, which broke on TV this past weekend during the NBA's 2012 All-Star festivities, finds its origins in the 2011 All-Star Weekend. That's when Griffin won the Slam Dunk Contest after jumping over a Kia Optima (the official car of the NBA) and subsequently being unveiled as the carmaker's new national spokesperson.
Fast-forward to 2012, which finds Griffin wondering aloud whether or not a Kia Optima could dunk over him. "I looked into it," Griffin says as the commercial rolls, "and it's entirely possible."
That's when Goldblum makes his appearance. "That's right, B.G. And I should know," Goldblum, wearing a lab coat, confirms. "I'm a 'dunkologist.'"
"Actually, I'm a theoretical physicist but that doesn't have quite the [same] ring to it, does it?!" deadpans Goldblum.
He then explains, with the help of a mini-display, how the Kia Optima "is going to go at full speed down this runway, up the ramp [over Griffin]." He then demonstrates to a bewildered colleague how a basketball attached to the front of the Kia detaches "and it dunks over Blake."
As the Kia Optima and Griffin take their places for the real deal, Goldblum and other members of his team run through a series of faux instructions: "Add 60% more quantum boosters." "Turn the over-thrusters to 62 degrees."
"Ignition!" Goldblum finally yells, which sends the Kia flying toward the ramp and Griffin. However, a slight miscalculation occurs and the car goes through the ramp and straight at Griffin, who manages to yell "Time out!" before getting slammed by the vehicle and into a pile of boxes.
As Hoops Nation holds its collective breath, an unharmed Griffin shakes off the impact and asks, "Did it work?" Goldblum's reply: "Making ourselves scarce," as he and his team jump into a van and speed off.
Griffin currently stars in other commercials as part of a multi-year deal with Kia, which said the alliance with the 2010-11 NBA Rookie of the Year has "greatly exceeded its expectations" in reaching what it describes as an educated, urban and multicultural target audience.
See the full spot here.
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