This is the first in our season of Australian cricket ad theatre. Cricket ads have long been some of the most captivating 30 seconds of entertainment ever viewed. Who will forget MS Dhoni’s stunning portrayal of Bhajji, Craig Kieswetter pouring a white liquid on his bare chest, or Shane Watson getting wet hair as Aaron Finch looked on. You won’t, because Cricket Ads aren’t like normal ads, they stay with you forever until one day when you’re dribbling from a forgotten nursing home you’ll just endlessly be whispering, Advance hair, yeah yeah.
For the 2011/12 season the Australians have put on a bumper crop of ads that showcase the very best in crickertainment, and where else to start but with Ponting’s pills.
Nothing shows that vitamins work more than having a fit pro athlete walk deliberately through a cricket ground. But this series of ads is more than just a slow purposeful walk; it’s a wistful recollection of deeds that Ponting has achieved. The only problem is that Ponting is so wistful, so sepia toned, and the INXS’ never tear us apart is so loud that you get little more than mumblings of something that sounds like it was very dear to Ponting’s heart. Or the ghost writer’s.
In one ad he mentions the number 200, in another, the number 13. Everything is else sort of lost as he moves slowly.
Ofcourse this ad isn’t about words, it’s about the scarf that Ponting wears. What a thick lustrous piece of reddish wool knitted together with care this is. It seems to wrap around his neck 17 times in one of the ads. Why is he wearing a scarf in an ad aimed at the summer market? Well it’s obvious really.
The scarf says it all, it transcends cricket and vitamins, it speaks straight to society as a whole as we all move into an awkward and terrifying future together. Ponting is just a man, he has achieved much, and he can look back at his childhood mullet and his parents in the stands with fond memories, but you still need to face the future. He may not be the Ricky of old, but his vulnerability, as highlighted by the scarf, makes us feel like he is one of us. Just an ordinary person who needs a big thick scarf.
We all look back at what we have done, and try and make sense of it all, but all we want is a bit of security, something to make us feel better in this big bad world, something to secure our vulnerable nature, to make us feel like it’s all ok and that we will never be torn apart. What we all need is a scarf. Ricky’s thick scarf.
And that is why this ad works, and why Ricky Ponting sells us vitamins.