Cricket ads and the damage done

Why wouldn't you let Mark Waugh help you with your dandruff.

“The only time an Australian walks is when he’s run out of petrol, but you don’t need to worry about that with…”

That is a line from an ad I heard in South African in 2003 during the world cup. My mate and I were travelling around the ‘03 World Cup and we spent a lot of time listening to cricket on Radio 2000. And that ad struck me, because it was so specific.

Think about this, to get that ad, you need to know that Australians don’t walk and what walking is. Hilariously during that world cup Adam Gilchrist walked.  But Most cricket ads aren’t like that, even if they are aimed at cricket fans, they usually aren’t in the know jokes.  That one has always stuck with me.

For those who have been following my work for a long time, you will know I started on a blog called cricket with balls. It was never meant to be anything more than me shouting about cricket in a voice I was using at the same time to write a novel.

My friends and I talked about and followed cricket a certain way, and the media wasn’t doing it. And so I started the blog.

When the site popped (thank you SCG 2008) I thought I could turn it into a profession. But with the advent of social media, blogs lost their place, and I had to go into the world of media to find my way.

And a side effect of that was that I stopped working with advertisers directly, which meant that I couldn’t have fun with them. What I always wanted was a partnership with a company where I could make money while at the same time making incredibly niche and nerdy cricket ads.

So when I started this substack, the YouTube and the podcasts I had another chance. Bodyline T shirts provided me with some cool tees for the videos. But the second sponsor that has come on board is manscaped.

If you don’t know what that is, well it’s a company that produces shavers for male genitalia, or as my kid yelled out in the park, “my dad’s sponsor helps you shave your dick.” Although it’s more for your balls.

And so here we are, full circle, from cricket with balls all the way back to balls with cricket. And so after all these years I finally get to make proper cricket ads.

I’ve written four, and the first one has just been finished. I know it’s an ad, and not a 20 minute video essay on Neil Wagner, but I am very happy with it.  Take a look.

On cricket with balls I used to do a regular segment on cricket ads, because I always loved them so much. Some of my favourites I can’t find anymore, like the luggage ad with Sunil Gavaskar and and Ian Botham. Or the ad where Ricky Ponting hits a ball into a bowl of milk giving a woman a pearl necklace.

But I managed to find a few of my favourites.

When I think of cricket ads, I always think of Mark Waugh,, and dandruff.

Merv Hughes did a lot of bad ads, many of them also had bad hats.

Max Walker is probably more famous for other things in Australia now than cricket, and that’s because he was a marketable character.

Can’t find the original of this ad, but probably for the best.

These guys were into cricket before the IPL.

Pepsi are in a world of their own, but let’s start with Shahid Afridi in golf clothes.

But Umar Gul deserved an oscar for this.

Sadly Dhoni didn’t get dressed up for this.

Moeen Ali ready meals, YES PELASE.

Worth it for how out of place Gilchrist’s catch seems to be.

Just a collection of Indian ads including one where they almost get killed by a lion.

But, Rahul Dravid is still the king.

Do you want your health insurance from Tony Greig, hells yeah you do.

Or, um, nappies from Tony Greig.

Hey man, that’s my line.

Shaun Pollock and Sprite years after he retired, why not.

Four and out, says Mark Taylor. That classic cricket line.

And I will leave you with this. Because of the laugh at the end.

If you have any more, feel free to put them in the comments.

If you want to see more cricket ads in print, Russell Jackson spent years collating great ones from Aussie and UK cricket magazines. Maybe some of his most important work.

But I’ll leave you with this. My ad is fun, this is art.