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NCAA Tournament ad review: It’s NOT about drinkability

When you watch a sporting event that’s bound to attract a large audience, beer commercials are inevitable. The latest campaign by Bud Light — “The difference is drinkability” — is dumb and disappointing, considering the fact that the folks at Anheuser Bush are usually good for entertaining ads. (I also would point out that Bud Light is “drinkable” because it tastes like water.) Few of the commercials airing during March Madness have been memorable, but a couple have stood out to me.

The first is a Vitamin Water ad featuring Christian Laettner and Rick Pitino. (Unfortch, the video is no long available on YouTube.) I know. I know. I hate Duke, so why do I like this ad? Because that last-second shot against Kentucky to go to the Final Four was probably the highest high of Christian Laettner’s storied college career, which went nowhere in the NBA. It’s funny to see him make fun of himself a bit by allowing us to imagine that he’s always trying to relive it. I’ll also add that Laettner’s Duke teams were actually good. My biggest beef with Duke and Coach K is that they have been coasting on the glory of that back-to-back championship team ever since. They hadn’t made it past the tournament’s first weekend in several years — despite favorable seeding — and got to the Sweet Sixteen this time only to be dismantled by Villanova. And yet, when the pre-season rankings come out in the fall, guess who’ll have a spot reserved in the top ten?

Getting back to the commercials, though, and speaking of Coach K (because no college coach gets more TV ad time than this man), another good one featured him with UNC coach Roy Williams, Louisville coach Rick Pitino and coaching legend and curmudgeon extraordinaire Bob Knight shilling for the new Guitar Hero Metallica.

The throwing of the drum set is what kills — that and Knights knobby, old man knees.


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