#8 — John McEnroe for Bic Razors
On the surface, having John McEnroe endorse a product during the 80s seemed like a great idea. He won seven Slams. He had a larger-than-life personality. What Bic failed to realize, though, was that a 30-second spot for its razors was at least 25 seconds too long for McEnroe's meager acting abilities. (Also, putting a bladed item, no matter how small, in the hands of a man with an anger problem is a questionable call at best.) Meanwhile, rival Bjorn Borg still shaves in the traditional manner: using a team of highly trained elves from his native Sweden.
Yes, that commercial was on the public record before someone decided to give McEnroe his own talk show. Wow.
#9 — Jonathan Ogden for Gebco Insurance
Former Baltimore Ravens left tackle Jonathan Ogden is sure to wind up in the Hall of Fame some day, where his plaque will read "11-time Pro Bowler. Super Bowl Champion. Member of the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 2000s. Star of One of the Worst Car Insurance Commercials Ever." This local spot for Gebco Insurance highlights all of Ogden's many skills. Acting. Dancing. Flexing. Laughing creepily for no apparent reason at the end of crappy local commercials.
Marquee Ravens running back Jamal Lewis spent time in prison for cocaine trafficking in 2005, yet this spot was somehow the low point of the decade for the Ravens' franchise. It gets better/worse, though! Ogden and his dancers returned for another commercial in what must have been the least necessary sequel since Weekend at Bernie's II. Dance on, big man!
#10 — Rick Pitino for Budget Auto
It's a situation we've all found ourselves stuck in at some point: you're in a diner, desperate for advice on where to buy a used car, and for some unexplained reason have a British accent. Who can bail you out? Rick Pitino, of course! While it seems unrealistic to portray Pitino sitting at a restaurant's counter rather than mounted atop a skank in a booth, Pitino really brings it in these ads. ("It" being "the ability to hold up a newspaper and occasionally smile.") The real tragedy here, though, is that Pitino could have been doing so many better things with his time. Heck, in just this 3:15 worth of spots, he could have gotten laid, like, 13 times.
#11 — Pat Riley for Rolaids
Pitino's turn for Budget Auto looks downright animated when you compare it to Pat Riley's Showtime-era spot for Rolaids, though. All Riley has to do is stand there and look greasy while Marv Albert does all of the heavy lifting with his voiceover.
If Riley looks distracted, it's probably because he was really only focused on one thing: playing his next game of Pat Riley Basketball on his Sega Genesis:
#12 — Dikembe Mutombo for C&D Scrap Metal
Fact: nobody knows what a chain-smoking rhinoceros' speaking voice would sound like. If we had to guess, though, it would probably be similar to Dikembe Mutombo's raspy grunt in these scrap metal commercials. Mutombo barks out a few semi-intelligible lines, then stares directly at the camera, smiling and unblinking, like a seven-foot African version of a Stepford Wife. One ad explains that C&D Scrap Metal support Mutombo's charity foundation in the Congo, which is a nice gesture, but the most charitable thing they could possibly do for Dikembe would be to never, ever run these ads again.
#13 — Isiah Thomas for Dale and Thomas Popcorn
In 2003 the good people behind gourmet popcorn maker Popcorn, Indiana decided to team up with one of Indiana University's most famous alums, Isiah Thomas. Zeke, a longtime aficionado of all things popped, was a huge fan of the company's wares and wanted to get in on the ground floor with an ownership stake. Thus, Popcorn, Indiana became Dale and Thomas Popcorn; affixing Isiah's name to the company was a branding move that has proven to be almost as savvy as naming your new cruise ship The Titanic and Leaky Express.
We can't find a Dale and Thomas commercial, so please accept this humble substitute: Isiah shilling for Toyota in 1991. It's possibly the only time you'll see someone (other than Knicks owner James Dolan) use positive terms to describe Isiah without being sarcastic.
#14 — Roger Clemens for Zest
Back in 1987, the world still loved Roger Clemens. He had yet to stab Boston in the back or be charged by teh feds, so Zest hired him for an ad in which some out-of-work dinner theater actor dubbed Clemens' voice for a song about getting Zestfully clean. The spot may seem cheesy now, but kudos to the director. He must have needed quite a few takes to get one where the towel totally obscured the seven syringes hanging out of Clemens' ass.
#15 — Barry Bonds for Blizzberry
When selecting an athlete to endorse your product, it's important to get someone likable who will help you curry good favor with the fans. If you can't do that, there's always Barry Bonds. Here's a look at the home run king himself doing a non-speaking cameo in an ad for California yogurt bar Blizzberry. We didn't think it was possible to look like a jackass while eating frozen yogurt, but we should have learned never to underestimate Bonds.
Lousy Bonds. Hank Aaron would never have done that spot. He ate his fro-yo the right way. On a cone. With sprinkles. Rainbow sprinkles.
#16 — Dennis Rodman for Japanese Dunlop Tires
There is a very slight chance that if you actually spoke Japanese, this commercial featuring a Bull-era Dennis Rodman dunking and dribbling a Dunlop tire might make sense. It probably still wouldn't, though. It takes a lot for something to be called "weird even for Japan," but this one does it. We're still not sure how Dunlop talked Akira Kurosawa into directing it. Free tires for his Dodge Caravan, probably.
#17 — Doug Flutie for English Leather and Remington
When you think of well-shaved faces, your thoughts naturally turn to Doug Flutie. Perhaps that's why he was apparently the leading shaving endorser of the 80s. The tiny QB appeared in a Remington shaver commercial with Remington president and CEO (and later New England Patriors owner) Victor Kiam.
What do you do after you're done shaving with your Remington Microscreen? Slap on some English Leather and throw pillows at your wife. Nothing turns a woman on more than being pelted with housewares.