Why isn't LeBron's Act Working?
He's just not that guy, pal
LeBron James makes a lot of commercials and most of them are pretty bad. They’re often a strain of what I’ll call social shlock, i.e., emotionally manipulative appeals to important issues, packaged so carelessly as to collapse upon impact. Nobody respectable wants to be seen opposing the Big Issue, which guards the schlock against criticism but can’t grant it resonance. Without criticism, though, there’s no course correction and the social schlock just keeps on going. And so, in the case of LeBron James, he just keeps making increasingly somber advertisements about increasingly sillier products.
First, if you want to see the sort of ad Ruffles chips would have preferred to make with LeBron James, you can watch the light, funny spot they did for his teammate Anthony Davis.
I’m not sure there’s much to analyze here, really. It’s Anthony Davis ruminating on the chip’s ridges as its distinguishing feature, with former Vine star King Bach and autotune maestro T-Pain providing comic relief. It’s not a Don Draper fever dream, but it defines the product to the customer and makes the sale. These yummy chips are unique, so eat em’ up, ya know? It works. I’m hungry.
Now look at the LeBron James Ruffles spot that aired this last week.