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Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like an Abusive Daughter

I guess I understand the point Adidas is trying to make with that commercial where Layla Ali, through the courtesy of CGI, looks like she's boxing with her father. I mean, the message -- Nothing Is Impossible! Sisters are doing it for themselves! Grrl Power! Work the body, Layla... weaken his legs! -- ain't exactly Dostoevsky in its complexity.

But I think it's important for both Adidas and ad creator 180/TBWA Amerstdam -- whose creative director Dean Maryon is quoted in the above-linked New York Post article as saying "She's kind of glad that she's managed to tag her father, and then there's an acknowledgment at the end, kind of a proud father. So there's a happy ending" -- that their commercial is one solid haymaker away from going from an innovative way to sell sneakers to a public service announcement on the perils of elder abuse.

"Hi, I'm Muhammad Ali, Olympic Gold medalist and three-time heavyweight champion of the world, reminding you to buy Adidas shoes. If you don't my daughter won't stop hitting me."

(Special bonus non-TV related material: There's a print ad in the current issue of ESPN the Magazine, featuring the galaxy of star athletes endorsing Adidas, including the Louisville Lip and his dad-punching daughter, Layla. Also featured is Roger Clemens who, because of the vagaries of Major League Baseball licensing, appears in his Yankee uniform but with all the logos Photoshopped out of the picture. The effect is that The Rocket looks like he pitches for some sort of prison baseball team.

Baseball fans familiar with both Clemens and the Yankees will find that imagery highly fitting.)


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