Firestone “Ballad of a Baseball Coach”

When a commercial reprises an old hit song, people who knew the original may be pleased to recognize the reference. Or, alternatively, they may say to themselves, “Heaven help me, am I really so elderly that I remember that ancient thing?” This spot for the Bridgestone company’s Firestone tires (via The Richards Group) will likely evoke a mixture of those emotions as its “Ballad of a Baseball Coach” brings to mind Jimmy Dean’s 1961 hit, “Big Bad John.” (Given recent news in West Virginia, it’s not the best month for a commercial that reminds people of a pop song about a mine cave-in, but no one will hold that against Firestone.) The spot will certainly strike a responsive chord with anyone who coaches a team of kids and shepherds them around in his or her car, though other viewers may feel the voiceover tagline lays it on a bit thick when it says, “Legendary drivers need legendary tires.” Amid all the Norman Rockwellesque imagery of caring parents and telegenic kids at the ballfield, the spot introduces one moment of weirdness when coach and kids drive past a group of duffers playing croquet and singing the name “Firestone” as a bass line. (Check out the guy with the odd hat.) This one slightly astringent element has the effect of saving the vignette as a whole from seeming saccharine. –Mark Dolliver

Publish date: April 23, 2010 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT