Have you been listening to the Twins Spring Training games on the radio? I have. Baseball on the radio is always a great change of pace from televised games, and it’s perfect for lazy weekend mornings or background noise while you’re doing yard work. But there is one drawback: the commercials. Radio commercials are much cheaper to air than television commercials. Unfortunately, the companies that buy radio spots do not use any of that savings to hire better script writers. And for whatever reason, the Twins radio broadcasts only have about 10 commercials that they play over and over. The result is a series of commercials that are terrible, but you kind of get used to them and grow to like them after you hear them two or three hundred times.
No, just kidding. They’re still terrible. Below are some of the ones I’ve grown to love/hate over the years:
My Local Hardware Store
Have you ever heard these commercials? They aren’t advertising any particular store – just the local store. In case you were planning to drive 100 miles to go to a store that is not local, Ron Gardenhire would like to remind you that the local one is more convenient. And he does so with the least inspiring voice acting I have ever heard. I think Mr. Gardenhire is a solid manager and a good fit for the Twins. But it never ceases to amaze me that so many companies ask him to do their radio ads.
Gardenhire is also the pitch man for “Our Family” brand, which makes both dog food and potato chips for some reason. But the Our Family commercials are intentionally corny (without being over the top ridiculous), which somehow works well with Gardenhire’s acting style.
These ads are produced by “The Ad Council,” which is responsible for pretty much every single Public Service Announcement that runs during Twins games. I hate to pick on PSAs, because they are always for a good cause. But the Ad Council seriously needs to hire a better script writer, because their spots are often quite terrible.
My favorite example is “the forest.” No, don’t ask which forest, because they’re not going to tell you. It’s just a commercial for “the forest” in general. They don’t really tell you what you’re supposed to do there (camping, hiking, logging, hiding from the government, etc.) – apparently just mentioning the forest is all they’re trying to do. And if they have to use a talking banana slug to do it, so be it.
Target’s “Big Fans of the Fans”
Target paid for the naming rights to the Twins stadium, and I think they’ve let it go to their heads. Ever since Target Field opened, they’ve been producing epic jingles filled with vague references to baseball and claiming to be “big fans of the fans.” I hate to pick on Target specifically, but their song from last year (“it’s rally time, grand finale time”) is in my head right now. But Target is just one of a plethora of companies that thinks that making a few generic baseball references is going to convince baseball fans to buy their products. To be honest, if I’m going to buy milk and deodorant, I couldn’t care less whether the store where I buy them can sing about baseball.
As I mentioned, Target isn’t the only offender here, and they probably are not the worst. This year they have a new commercial for pork (what’s the deal with these radio commercials advertising so many generic products, anyway?), and they used the phrase “baseball fans love the excitement of a grand slam or a home run.” Not only was that a particularly lame attempt to shoehorn a baseball reference into a commercial for meat, they didn’t even get the reference right! I don’t know what kind of excitement baseball fans love, but I do know that almost all of them can tell you that a grand slam IS a home run.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this commercial; it’s just a guy talking about how Kinetico water company provides water for Target Field. But there is one line that bothers me. They always play the commercial in the middle of the second inning, and the last line of the commercial asks to drink a glass of water “as we head to the bottom of two.” It’s just such an odd phrase. A normal person would say “the bottom of the second,” but I guess delicious water makes you say things differently.
As for why the commercial has to be played right before the bottom of the second inning in the first place, I have no clue. But it sure makes me thirsty.