Bo's Promos

Bo Jackson is one of the most transcendent athletes of his or any era. Maybe that's why his promos for 5-hour Energy are so depressing.
Share |

For all that we know about what Bo Jackson knows—football, baseball, lucrative shoe contracts, a mystique that towers over the abbreviated length of his athletic career—MLB.TV viewers in 2013 now know, thanks to a ubiquitous series of ads, that Bo Jackson knows two 5-Hour Energy promos. To be clear, Bo knows the product as “5-hour ENERGY,” the stylized version of the name Living Essentials prefers, since the company wants to make sure consumers are buying their pint-sized bottle of fun for the all-caps vim/vigor it promises to impart—healthily! with no crash! for up to 5 hours!—to your dragging ass. You do not need to know much about Bo Jackson to know that this is all sort of a bummer, or at least something very like catching Hercules in an underlit advertisement for discount furniture. Bo’s promos realize those bummers in all their fetid glory.

The more professional-looking promo—that is, the one that seems the product of folks sitting down for a good handful of minutes and thinking about what should be put on screen before turning on the cameras—plays off of the indelible image hewn from Jackson’s singular athletic accomplishments. Granted, viewers will have to be of a certain age to associate the black-and-white photography of this ad with that iconic Nike poster showing an in-his-prime Bo relaxing with a baseball bat behind his neck while wearing football pads, or to think of the “Bo Knows” campaign (by way of Corinthians) when Jackson briefly summarizes his life’s accomplishments. Bo is a business owner and a spokesperson. Bo is a husband and a father. Bo does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Bo never fails. All of which, sure, if you think it’ll move some taurine-juice.

For what it’s worth, Bo is making this pitch as interstitial music from a film based on a Nicholas Sparks book warbles dramatically in the background. This lends the ad an oddly expectant air that, unsurprisingly, is never fully realized. Jackson is also shown reciting most of this dialogue in an outfit that suggests he was dragged into the studio not so much after as during a golf outing and then given a few minutes to prepare for the shoot. Again, this is the more professional-looking of the two commercials.

Then there is the other 5-hour Energy promo, which is the one I had the pleasure of frantically muting over and over again during the first week of the 2013 baseball season. “Why Does Bo Jackson Use 5-hour Energy?” it begins. After the first dozen or so times I was quick enough with the mute button not to hear the answer, but Bo Jackson does indeed go on to answer that question, in mundane detail, while behind-the-scenes footage from the first commercial plays. As Bo explains that he’s not as young as he used to be—this still-jarringly-fit man turned 50 last November—and that the aforementioned elixir gave him the boost needed to get through an arduous round of golf, viewers get to watch as a man who once casually ran up an outfield wall and over Brian Bosworth (not in the same game) goes through the motions of swinging a bat and a driver while in his finest business casual duds. This, as you might expect, is somewhat anticlimactic.

Then we cut to Jackson, now wearing a suit, in an office at the Bo Jackson Elite Sports complex. He explains in voiceover, and exemplifies in images, the drudgery of the workday grind. Bo looks out the window of his office as it rains. Bo slouches in a chair while checking his smart phone. Bo sits at his desk to answer a landline phone. (I assume there’s a director’s cut wherein Bo has multiple assistant managers stop by to explain the importance of the new TPS Report cover sheet in copious detail.) Finally, Bo concludes some kind of meeting and shakes some hands. But as Bo stands from his chair to shake those hands, I can’t help but notice, at least after the sixth or seventh time I saw the ad, that he braces himself on the meeting table with his left hand while getting up.

***

If a professional athlete grows old gracefully, it’s most likely by accident. The rigors of making a body move and act in ways that aren’t natural, and then repeating those actions at alarming speeds and with alarming frequency, is bound to exact its toll, even for an athlete lucky enough not to experience the kind of debilitating injury Bo Jackson suffered. That Jackson was able to play professional baseball after undergoing hip replacement surgery and not embarrass himself is a testament to his unparalleled physical gifts, as well as the sort of resolute consequence-damning stubbornness that sports fans want their favorite athletes to exhibit.

It’s that very same quality that makes former athletes—even those whose accomplishments dwarf their stage presence—perfect spokespeople for lifestyle products like these. There is no amount of taurine and caffeine that will make an ordinary human anything like Bo Jackson, but: well, there he is. Granted, the sort of physical therapy athletes undergo to return to even a shadow of their former selves isn’t quite the same as making it through another eight-hour day at a job you can’t stand so you can send out another mortgage payment, but even at the height of one’s profession, the shit is still the shit.

However, the ex-athlete is usually presented as an ideal—either a wise and unassailable authority figure basking in the glow of his on-field accomplishments, or the perfect next door neighbor with the perfect lawn and the perfect house and the perfect family enjoying the fruits of the aforementioned athlete’s spectacular labor. Whether it’s a result of Living Essentials not caring much about these ads beyond securing Jackson as a spokesperson or just the slipshod nature of the production, what these ads do to the idea of Bo Jackson—at least, the idea of Bo Jackson, Benevolent Athletic Demi-Deity that the target audience presumably has in mind—is the sort of ruthless demystification that bloodthirsty columnists couldn’t accomplish with a year’s worth of slanderous text.

Not that there’s anything wrong with giving athletic idol worship a little necessary perspective shift, of course; there isn’t, at all. And as great as it is that some folks can throw or run better than almost anyone else in the world, there’s something to be said about what one accomplishes outside of the throwing and running.

The thing is, Bo Jackson is an exemplar of exactly that kind of accomplishment, too. He not only went back and finished his collegiate studies, but parlayed his brief pro athletic career(s) into a series of (presumably) successful business endeavors, including the aforementioned Elite Sports Complex. The Bo Jackson in these commercials—weary, sullen, burdened by the khaki, quotidian day-to-day—isn’t basking in any glories, athletic or otherwise. There’s no juxtaposition between young Bo dodging tacklers or hitting mammoth home runs and elder Bo getting paid for his business acumen, physical ailments be damned. Sure, there’s Bo Jackson’s face and voice and pantomimed golf swing, but nothing of what actually makes Bo Jackson great, never mind someone worth listening to even during a 30-second MLB.TV interstitial.

Instead, there’s just a 50-year-old ex-athlete awkwardly shilling for a small-format energy drink, uncomfortably carrying the weight of every one of those years, made to look small and insignificant by a bottle the size of his palm. Those shots of him going through the motions of swinging a baseball bat or holding a football make him look like a struggling actor wearily working the genre-convention circuit to press flesh with folks that just want to hear him or see him do that thing he did some decades ago for the umpteenth time. And the sight of Jackson looking through an office window as it rains is so wistfully morose, the drink pitch could be replaced with a narrator speculating on what could have been accomplished by an injury-free Bo, and it’d be just as appropriate.

Time comes for everyone, eventually, but usually advertisers use that to their advantage, instead of also succumbing to that inexorable pull. Seeing Bo Jackson look and act more like Willy Loman than Willie Mays is the sort of existential sucker punch that no combination of caffeine and vitamins could ever erase. It’s hard to imagine how an ad for an energy drink could be more enervating, or heavier, or less energizing. It’s all bad for you, every sour ounce. You sense Bo knows it, too.


Share |

Comments

Hi great post, I seriously liked reading it!Thanks for the cool educational post. Continue the truly amazing work :)Thank you for the post.Really getting excited about read more.Cool.Really recognize you sharing that blog post.Really many thanks! Actually Cool.app

I was surfing the Internet for information and came across your blog. I am impressed by the information you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject. parimatch

I am happy to find this post Very useful for me, as it contains lot of information. I Always prefer to read The Quality and glad I found this thing in you post. Thanks 먹튀사이트

This unique looks utterly perfect. Every one of plain and simple records are prepared through the help of great number for working experience handy experience. I will be happy it all for a second time considerably. MCI airport hotels

A circular of applause for your post.Much thanks again. May study on...Thank you very for you personally website article.Thanks Again. Cool.Awesome website article.Much thanks again. Significantly obliged.Thank you for the article.Thanks Again. Great.gray cashmere scarf

I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog!!!! Pet Travel

I am very much pleased with the contents you have mentioned. I wanted to thank you for this great article. venus detective agency noida

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. Thanks... ulukhar.com

Thank you so much for the post you do. I like your post and all you share with us is up to date and quite informative, i would like to bookmark the page so i can come here again to read you, as you have done a wonderful job. como consertar celular

I value the article post. Really Cool. SAG Awards 2019 Live

A round of applause for your blog article.Really thank you! Want more. sup paddle

You delivered such an impressive piece to read, giving every subject enlightenment for us to gain information. Thanks for sharing such information with us due to which my several concepts have been cleared. สมัครสมาชิกufabet

Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work. instagram takipci satin al

Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work. instagram takipci satin al

Interesting and interesting information can be found on this topic here profile worth to see it. บาคาร่า

This is a great post. I like this topic.This site has lots of advantage.I found many interesting things from this site. It helps me in many ways.Thanks for posting this again. https://www.lesmeilleursvpn.com/guide-vpn-faq/conseils-pratiques/quel-vpn-choisir/

Hey great article, I really loved reading it!Thanks for the great educational post. Keep up the truly amazing function :)Thank you for your post.Really looking towards read more. Cool.Really enjoy you sharing this website post.Really many thanks! Really Cool.buy followers on instagram

Yes i am totally agreed with this article and i just want say that this article is very nice and very informative article.I will make sure to be reading your blog more. You made a good point but I can't help but wonder, what about the other side? !!!!!!Thanks android projects

Thanks for the blog loaded with so many information. Stopping by your blog helped me to get what I was looking for. oxley tower kuala lumpur

I understand this column. I realize You put a many of struggle to found this story. I admire your process. video tours

Hello I am so delighted I located your blog, I really located you by mistake, while I was watching on google for something else, Anyways I am here now and could just like to say thank for a tremendous post and a all round entertaining website. Please do keep up the great work. S12888

I read that Post and got it fine and informative. M88

I have read all the comments and suggestions posted by the visitors for this article are very fine,We will wait for your next article so only.Thanks! sofaiswork

Wow, What a Excellent post. I really found this to much informatics. It is what i was searching for.I would like to suggest you that please keep sharing such type of info.Thanks Damien Bromfield

I think that thanks for the valuabe information and insights you have so provided here. Judi Online

Easiest Way to Bypass & Remove iCloud Lock on iPhone and iPad. The Service removes the lock for an iCloud account bypassing the need to enter an iCloud when you either forget or don't have the iCloud log-in details or if you have bought it from Amazon, Ebay etc, and the original owner also forgot his login information. bypass icloud

Yes i am totally agreed with this article and i just want say that this article is very nice and very informative article.I will make sure to be reading your blog more. You made a good point but I can't help but wonder, what about the other side? !!!!!!Thanks btc

Wow! Such an amazing and helpful post this is. I really really love it. It's so good and so awesome. I am just amazed. I hope that you continue to do your work like this in the future also İnstagramda satış

Yes i am totally agreed with this article and i just want say that this article is very nice and very informative article.I will make sure to be reading your blog more. You made a good point but I can't help but wonder, what about the other side? !!!!!!Thanks receive sms

Yes i am totally agreed with this article and i just want say that this article is very nice and very informative article.I will make sure to be reading your blog more. You made a good point but I can't help but wonder, what about the other side? !!!!!!Thanks http://www.flowersforfunerals.org.uk/

Yes i am totally agreed with this article and i just want say that this article is very nice and very informative article.I will make sure to be reading your blog more. You made a good point but I can't help but wonder, what about the other side? !!!!!!Thanks http://www.cheapflowersdelivered.co.uk/

Furthermore this is aside from that an awesome put up that we all unquestionably preferred perusing. It is far from normal i enjoy the odds to work out a product. bayilik sosyal medya crovu

It will be also an extensive space i remarkably savored shopping. Is not actually day after day that offer the chance to look at goods. عمادة التعليم عن بعد

This phenomenal hearings thoroughly correct. Most of low statistics are prepared by making usage of large number about feel effective skills. We're anxious the software once a whole lot. Defesa

This process is definitely confidently seriously the best choice. Every one with incredibly small streaks will be expected via a variety of tradition capabilities. I like to recommend software program such a large amount. papystreaming sur smartphone

You have a real ability for writing unique content. I like how you think and the way you represent your views in this article. I agree with your way of thinking. Thank you for sharing. pregnancy diet chart

Thanks for another wonderful post. Where else could anybody get that type of info in such an ideal way of writing? 123movies

Wow, What a Excellent post. I really found this to much informatics. It is what i was searching for.I would like to suggest you that please keep sharing such type of info.Thanks pokerpelangi188.xyz

In the world of www, there are countless blogs. But believe me, this blog has all the perfection that makes it unique in all. I will be back again and again. https://sweepstakedaily.site/recipes/make-tasty-healthy-salad-recipe/

This is a great post. I like this topic.This site has lots of advantage.I found many interesting things from this site. It helps me in many ways.Thanks for posting this again. english tenses table

You there, this is really good post here. Thanks for taking the time to post such valuable information. Quality content is what always gets the visitors coming. https://asbestosremoval.quora.com/submissions

This is very appealing, however , it is very important that will mouse click on the connection: 더킹카지노

I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. เล่นบอลออนไลน์

Love to read it,Waiting For More new Update and I Already Read your Recent Post its Great Thanks. biostem bionatura

It was wondering if I could use this write-up on my other website, I will link it back to your website though.Great Thanks. tapestryshopping

Most of the time I don’t make comments on websites, but I'd like to say that this article really forced me to do so. Really nice post! chia pudding almond milk

I am definitely enjoying your website. You definitely have some great insight and great stories. hcgdietdropsreviews.org

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. lan messenger

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. lan messenger

Great post, and great website. Thanks for the information! rent bus in singapore