Barrel O’ Fun ‘Signs of the Game’

“Predictable” is generally a term of scorn when applied to any creative effort, whether a novel or a commercial. But that can be a misreading of how the audience reacts. This spot for Barrel O’ Fun snacks, via Minneapolis agency GdB, illustrates the point. When we see Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire running through some of the signs he’d use to signal a play (including, here, a hit-and-run and a squeeze bunt), we know something goofy will ensue. And so it does, when one of the signals becomes a repeated downward-brushing motion on his torso, which turns out to mean (as an on-screen super explains) “I’ve got Barrel O’ Fun potato chips all over my jacket.”

But there’s something satisfying (for baseball fans, at least) in seeing this familiar source of humor yield yet another jest. In a context like this, “predictable” isn’t a bad thing. People like a certain amount of predictability. (It’s one of the things we enjoy in tonal music, for instance, as a progression of chords leads to a resolution we know is coming.) In this spot, the snacks brand does an amiable job of linking itself with the leader of the much-loved local team — and in a season when the Twins are off to a good start in a new ballpark, no less.
Aside to baseball fans: If you’re wondering whether Gardenhire ever really does signal for a squeeze bunt, which is something of a rarity in the American League, some quick research via Google finds he’s done so from time to time, with mixed results. Of course, he spent his playing days as a National Leaguer (with the Mets), so maybe some of its free-wheeling tendencies stayed with him. –Mark Dolliver