Hunter Pence returns tonight and the last bit of outstanding business relating to him involves the Giants’ ad campaign released at the beginning of the season. You’ll recall that Grant reviewed all the ads just before he left us, and McCann Worldwide, the agency that created the campaign, recently added a spot featuring Andrew McCutchen, so I’m going to spotlight one thing that caught my eye in Pence’s ad with the hope that McCann might revise this one specific thing . During the Hunter Pence ad...
(Don’t remember that one already? Well, here’s a refresher:
If @hunterpence weren't a player, he'd be a local Bay Area artist whose favorite colors are orange and black. Because when it comes to baseball, it doesn't get more SF. #SFGCommercials | #SFGiants pic.twitter.com/HJyjYexYBf— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) March 19, 2018
... there’s the following bit in the voice over...
If Hunter Pence weren’t making clutch plays in the outfield, he’d be a well-known artist living in this loft in Potrero Hill. He’d paint. And sculpt. And from time to time, record experimental music with his band.
... which leads into an insert shot of the album for said band:
First, the YouTube closed captioning states, “record experimental music with his bat”, which is automatically funnier than the aired copy. I’m not kidding —
Second — and this is in no way a slam against the ad, which is fantastic — Hunter Pence’s career is at a crossroads. Tonight’s activation could represent his last hurrah. They should seriously consider revising this visual to scrub the word “implosion” from anything having to do with Hunter Pence. Under the circumstances, the word paints the wrong picture. And I assume McCann/Giants Marketing would want to get a return on their investment by still being able to run the ad for the rest of the season (because, as Grant suggested on Thursday, Hunter Pence is here to stay).
It seems like this would be an easy enough fix. The shots of the album cover and record sticker are static. They could render different album art over them. And as for the music we hear? Easily handled. Every ad agency has creatives who moonlight as musicians or have access to music libraries with appropriate soundalikes. So, what kind of album art should they use?
Here are my pitches. Oh oh — but wait. It’s really important for you to know that I am not a master of comedy lists. I am no Megan Amram. But I still think these are maybe, possibly, somewhat better than what we got and would help Pence and the Giants save face, given everything that’s happened to him in the first third of the season...
Six Pence Hunter Pence
I just think this one would play well in the Bay Area. Every time I visit, I scan by Alice @ 97.3 FM and, my goodness, they’re playing the same six songs from 1996-1999. One of those songs is Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me”. Everybody of baseball interest age and watching baseball on their cable package during a weeknight age who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area definitely knows Sixpence None the Richer, ergo, they would really appreciate this reference.
This one’s for the kids. But not even really the real kids. The what thirtysomething-year old’s version of the kids. And instead of computerized “bleep bloop” EDM-style sounds, it could be Hunter Pence making the “bleep bloop” sounds to create the commercial track’s beat (or, you know, some intern at McCann who sounds enough like Hunter Pence to make convincing, Pence-esque “bleep bloops”).
A concept album inspired by the 1986 Michael Mann film Manhunter. That’s a retelling of the Hannibal Lecter story Red Dragon, but done in that mid-80s Miami Vice style. As you can see, Pence does mostly accordion work on this one, and when it comes to the accordion, a musician really has to hunt for jams.
See, this one would have nothing to do with baseball, but the casual fan watching this commercial while folding laundry might appreciate the twist. It’s a concept album of actual nocturnal bat signals. Pence the Artist might even declare in an interview that it’s pronounced “Bat Sin-yalls”, just to be really pretentious.
New Swing, Who Dis?
Sure, it’s a play on Hunter Pence working with a hitting guru to alter his swing, but I imagine this is the cover art for some kind of punk-sounding children’s music. “The Wheels On the Bus” at 150 beats per minute is the tempo of modern parenting.
No matter what happens with the ad, it will be fun to see Hunter Pence back at AT&T Park and in a Giants uniform. He’s always been entertaining, a total team player, and without him, the Giants’ organization would’ve had far fewer funny faces to replay and remember over the years.