Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Who are those masked men?

Has anyone else been freaked out by those new Nike ads that are running now on ESPN (and during last weekend's football games)? They look normal enough at first, with pro athletes like baseball player Albert Pujols and football player Brian Urlacher imposingly glaring at the camera while wearing tight "performance apparel." Then it takes a turn into "Twilight Zone" territory. The athletes then wear masks, meant to represent their "game faces."

Boo! That's LaDainian Tomlinson of the NFL's San Diego Chargers. Meanwhile, Urlacher has a cage of barbed wire on his head. And some guy's wearing a Venus Fly-Trap. (Thanks to this New York Times article, I now know that's Torii Hunter of baseball's Minnesota Twins.)

All of this is meant to push Nike's Pro sports apparel, a bunch of form-fitting, spandex-type athletic clothing that a guy with my puffy build is never going to wear without seriously embarrassing himself - or going on a major diet. But if these ads scare me into losing my appetite, maybe they're indirectly accomplishing their objective.