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Coke's Wizards Ad Explained

G-Wiz and Carville, pre-kiss.

Yesterday I posted about the way some obsessive Wiz fans and I noticed that the audio and video of Coke's Super Bowl ad featuring the Wizards did not match up. Investigative journalism commenced. (If you just want the answer, scroll to the bottom.)

From the Wizards, I learned that James Carville, Bill Frist and friends never even came to a game for this commercial (although Carville is a current season-ticket holder and Frist a former one). They all came to the arena on a dark day in December for a shoot that took about four hours, start to finish; the end result was about five seconds that culminated with Gilbert's shot and Buckhantz's Dagger and G-Wiz kissing Carville on the head. I wondered how you could spend four hours to get five seconds worth of a mascot kissing a bald-headed political pundit.

"Can I tell you something?" asked Carville, who found time to talk with me about G-Wiz on the day after Super Tuesday. "I've done feature film movies, television shows, [and] I mean, the production in that thing, good God, it must have been like 'Gone With the Wind.' "

(Carville is also a Nats fan, but roots for the Saints in football.)

Carville had no idea that the audio and video weren't a match, and it turns out that when Buckhantz--who only learned of his impending national stardom a week before the Super Bowl--initially missed the mismatch as well. A computer geek friend of his found the clip online and sent it to the play-by-play man before the day of the game; Buckhantz watched it and moved on with his life. He invited friends and family over to watch the game in his surround-sound living room, but the surround-sound went on the fritz and only an emergency repair visit even allowed the television speakers to work by game time. The ad came during the second break of the fourth quarter. The result?

"You could barely even hear [the 'Daggerrrrr'] on my own TV set," Buckhantz told me. "So it was rather anticlimactic. Everyone sat here after the commercial was over and looked at each other and said 'I didn't even hear you.' "

I asked him about the audio-visual discrepancy; "It really took me five times looking at it to even notice it wasn't Gilbert, because it happened too quick," Buckhantz said. "If you got up to go the kitchen or the bathroom, or if you coughed, you missed that part of it."

Believe it or not, Buckhantz believed the audio to be from Gilbert's game-winner against the Bulls in the 2005 playoffs; I disagreed then, and still disagree now. It was, in my opinions, and appropriately, the Bucks.

Anyhow, at the close of business yesterday, Coke spokeswoman Susan Stribling called me back with the answer. The company requested the clip from the Wizards and the NBA, but what they received was not in HD. With so many people taking special delight in an HD Super Bowl, the company didn't want to show an SD ad, so they requested a different, HD clip. What they got was that bit against the Heat, but there was no audio attached. So now, working with tight time constraints, they had dramatic audio from an SD video clip, and no audio from a non-dramatic HD clip. You know what the result was.

"It was a matter of creative editing so we could have a high-def version," she said. "We certainly have to give [Wiz fans] kudos for having their love of the Wizards be so extensive that they'd catch the difference."

All this, to my mind, distracted from another key question: why was G-Wiz chosen over G-Man. That will have to wait for another day, but in the meantime, I did get some comments on G-Wiz.

"I have to say, I'm not terribly familiar with him, but he's very entertaining in our ad," Stribling said. "I'm not a big aficionado of NBA mascots--I'm more of a college football person--but he's fun, he's big and blue, so he stands out. I don't know how you can't like him in this ad, kissing James Carville on the head."

"He's kind of a pro; I've gone to a lot of sporting events, and it strikes me that he tends to be more energetic than most of 'em," Carville said. "He didn't mess my hair up, thank God."

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 7, 2008; 1:18 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Next: Gilbert's New Favorite Drink


so bottom line was it gilbert taking the shot or someone else?

Posted by: aaron g | February 7, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Totally off-topic, but does anyone know when single game tickets will go on sale for the Nats?

Posted by: DCmarathoner | February 7, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Uh, not Gilbert.

Posted by: Dan Steinberg | February 7, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

What you really want are Nationals SEASON tickets!

Posted by: Stan Kastan | February 7, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

The loical next step? A Maryland Terps ad featuring Mary Matalin kissing a turtle--or perhaps Ms. Matalin French-kissing Mason's Gunston? That's hot. (??!??)

Posted by: Arlington Pimp | February 7, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

ok dan, (the best t-shirt wearer and now giver ever), i'll have to play it over slowly cuz i totally thought it was gilbert shooting

Posted by: aaron g | February 7, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it Stevenson taking the shot?

Posted by: Fairfax | February 7, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Why did they choose 82-80 as the final score? Just completely random?

Posted by: Ben | February 7, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

It's DeShawn. We rewatched it a few times when it aired during the game.

Posted by: MAT | February 7, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the explanation.

Posted by: sitruc | February 7, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Small wonder Steve Buckhantz didn't realize the audio didn't match the video in the SB clip, since he doesn't do much play-by-play for Wizards' games anyway (although I find it hilarious that he actually invited people to his home to watch the clip!). Buckhantz's contribution to any Wizards game is to read statistics and/or promos -- a true Promosexual, Buckhantz -- THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE FREAKING GAME -- stopping only infrequently to interject something that is germane to the activity on the court. Screaming "Daggerrrrrrrrrr" at a critical point in the game, but only when he has concluded his statistical recitation, serves only to con the uninitiated (Brett Haber from WUSA9 obviously included in this category) into believing that Buckhantz is actally engaged and involved in the games. (It does provide Sports Center and/or Comcast with a great sound bite, though, doesn't it?) Buckhantz's constant droning had become so annoying that I muted the sound on the TV, so I could actually enjoy watching the Wizards play. Let's find Phil Chenier (Chenier is great!) another partner who actually does play-by-play and let Buckhantz "host" the Macy's Day parade or some such thing, where he can drone on and on to his heart's content, force-feeding unsuspecting viewers his pap and twaddle. The Wizards deserve better than Steve Buckhantz.

Posted by: Mottox | February 7, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Who the heck do you think ASKS Buckhantz to read all promotional crap? The Wizards.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Dan, good job. I ready every word of this.

Why should anyone be confused about G-Wizz being the best?! He's really good!!

"It was, in my opinion, and appropriately, the Bucks."

That was the most game-winning-est shot ever, even if it wasn't, if you know what I mean.

I've got Wizards glow-in-the-dark pom poms! I'm looking forward to getting the Wizards wigs this year. Then we'll do another contest, K?

la la la la

Saw a San Antonio Spur in the Starbucks by the Ritz-Carlton this morning, I think. Wow, they're tall.

Posted by: Nancy | February 7, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

P.S. Seriously, a bought a bunch of Coke after watching that ad. I liked that ad! It was fun, and it's something all people who live in this region can relate to.

Posted by: Nancy | February 7, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I like Buckhantz. He and Chenier currently are my favorite announcing team.
Now, if I could just get Bill Rafftery to call Masno games, I'd be even happier. But I guess you probably don't like him either. Shame.

Posted by: Arlington Pimp | February 7, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Why the hate for Buck? I personally think he and Phil do a pretty sweet job. The best is the righteous indignation they show whenever the refs make a bad call. (And of course Buckhantz's "dagger" catchphrase). Also, note that Buckhantz has an Emmy to his name; I presume he must be somewhat competent.

Posted by: Icantfeelmyface | February 7, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

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