Super Bowl ads and their monster budgets steal the spotlight when it comes to sports-related commercials, but there have been some great hockey spots, too. These aren’t necessarily among them, but they should bring a smile to your face if not make you guffaw out loud.
The revival of the classic Mean Joe Greene Coca-Cola ad for this year’s Super Bowl got us to reminiscing about hockey’s commercials of yesteryear. After some Google deep diving, it became apparent there are schools of fish in this sea of schlock, so we decided to offer up 10 of the best/worst.
The spots on this list either are either amusingly awkward, hilariously dated or just plain nostalgic fun. No modern-day slick ads allowed, no matter how funny.
1. Ron and Ally’s Pizza. The prototype for future SCTV spoof commercials. No? Check out Gilles Meloche glancing off-screen after he delivers his lines. And of course, the pizza parlor is on a street called Minnehaha. Ha.Ha.
2. Twohey beer. An Aussie brewery decided to use hockey to sell some suds and the result is, umm, compelling. It includes the memorable lyric, “They put you in to guard the bin not hand out gifts.” How do you feel?
3. Ford/Mercury. Mario Tremblay, some cars, 1980s music and Solid Gold dancers – what could go wrong?
4. Esso. This was a great promotion back in the day. What were Power Players. “Power Players were hockey stamps. Color stamps that Esso made.” The only hitch? You had to spend a minimum $3 on gas.
5. CCM. Two superstars yuk it up, particularly at the end with some engagingly forced laughter.
6. Mercury, part deux. Bobby Hull, Rob Gilbert, a cool-cat golfer and an announcer star in this floating heads ad that we believe was shot somewhere in the Twilight Zone. (Editor’s Note: an earlier version of this post identified Rod Gilbert as Marcel Dionne).
7. 7-Up. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe Canada turned 7-Up.
8. Grecian Formula. We couldn’t do this list without adding the classic Rocket Richard ad. Two minutes for looking so good! In a ref’s uniform. Guess the rioting days were over.
9. Swanson Hungry Man. Hey, the performances by Lanny McDonald and Brian Glennie aren’t too bad. It’s the laughter at the end that clinches it, though. Meow!
10. Weetabix. Darryl Sittler and Norm Ullman. Wooden sticks and wooden deliveries.