We review Georgia Tech's latest attempt to convince players, recruits, and alumni that Chan Gailey is not, in fact, a former Coweta County maintenance man yanked at random from the streets and placed in the position of football coach at Georgia Tech.
School: Georgia Institute of Technology
Ad Title: "The Right Thing To Do."
EDSBS Title: "Bobby Dodd Ten Minutes Before Kickoff."
Setup: Chan Gailey wanders around Bobby Dodd blathering on about academics and standards and stuff. The place is entirely empty but the lights are completely on, clues which can only lead us to believe that the film was in fact shot ten minutes before kickoff sometime during any one of the past three years of the Chan Gailey era. A single trumpet plays in the background, something supposedly evocative of the lonely grandeur of being a football coach dealing with the rigor of fielding a football team at an academically prestigious institution. For Gailey, the effect here is less "Great Man working alone in the darkness, and more "Taps." The dialogue, read by Gailey, says something like this:
Combining strong academics and athletics at the highest level?
It is challenging.
But at Georgia Tech, it's the right thing to do.
Subtext: Suck it if you ever expect anything past 7-5, because recruiting here is hard 'n stuff.
Production values: Not bad. The music couldn't have cost that much, since they just hired one guy to toodle some miserable notes on a trumpet in the background while Gailey read his lines and thought about oatmeal. (Mmm. Oatmeal.) The cinematography's nice enough, with the turf of Bobby Dodd glowing an almost supernatural green underneath the lights of the stadium. (Yes, we know what you're thinking, but they closed the reactor at Tech years ago.) All told, not bad, though we're not sure that given the concept of the ad it could have cost anymore barring the addition of a CGI Buzz the mascot fighting off an Voltron-esque Al-Qaedabot against the backdrop of the Atlanta skyline.
Hits: The nuke-green grass is nice, but you don't make a whole ad off the beauty of fescue unless you're selling fertilizer. Depending on your opinion of Chan Gailey's coaching ability, of course, this may be precisely what this ad is attempting to sell you. A big whooshy shot of the stadium light tower booming on is always cool, too, though a little too lifted straight from "Field of Dreams" for our taste. Chan Gailey's suit has no pudding stains on it, either, which deserves mention.
Misses: The whole pitch and concept of the ad, which is that Chan's just a lonely, hardworking stoic yoked to the strictures and burdensome responsibility of being a coach at a prestigious university. Rather than getting people excited about Tech football--like showing thirty straight seconds of Calvin Johnson winding in Reggie Ball's scattershot passes instants before getting scissor kicked by onrushing defenders--they show Chandy Griffith in his suit pacing the stadium carefully whining about how difficult it is to balance academics and athletics in his job.
When George O'Leary had a problem, he'd do something crazy like hire Ralph Friedgen or Jon Tenuta. When Chan Gailey has a problem, he makes an ad featuring him walking around an empty stadium. Whether this is apology or a documentary of what will happen if Gailey coaches another three years at Tech remains to be seen.
Points off for relying on the central figure of Gailey, too. Just from a sheer stature point, he's not the alpha-male linchpin you want as the emblem of your program. At the points in the ad where he's supposed to look deep in thought while gazing at the stadium we just imagined this dialogue between him and the camera crew.
Chan: Man, that's nice fescue.
Crew: Yes, it is coach.
Chan: Who plays here?
Crew: Your team, sir.
Chan: My team?
Crew: Yes, sir. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Chan: Naw, that can't be right. That job would be haaaaaarrrrrd, I tell you what.
Crew: ...umm, would you just stand over there for a minute?
Chan: But that is some nice fescue, there.
Crew: Yeah, just...just watch the grass, okay?
Summary Grade: C-. The commercial equivalent of buying sushi at the grocery store: the packaging's glossy, but the ingredients are old, dry, and mediocre. Still, just like Chan Gailey, it'll get you through in a pinch if you really need it.