Geico Throws a Block Party with Dikembe Mutombo

Geico drafts Mutombo for their “Happier Than …” Team.


This is just straight up funny.

The good people over at The Martin Agency who have crafted laughter inciting commercials for, Mentos, and the Geico campaigns (the Caveman, the Gecko and the Little Pig), have given us their latest in a long line of irreverence, the “Happier Than …” spots.

Presenting a skewed perspective to the ad game with a mandolin duo providing the musical and narrative accompaniment, The “Happier than  … ” tagline denotes a certain colloquial porcine participant promenading all too playfully in fecal matter. That’s part of the bit, wink and head-shake included.

The latest joint is (I think) the funniest of the spots they’ve done and features retired NBA great Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo straight actin’ a fool.

The previous ones (“… Antelopes with Infra Red Goggles”, “… A Witch In A Broom Factory” & “… A Bodybuilder Directing Traffic”) were certified , but this right here?

“Happier Than … M. Mutombo”.                                                                


Casting former baller Dikembe Mutumbo and swat king in all his finger wagging glory is a ridiculous stroke of genius. When he swats the box of cereal and it explodes?  Classic. Try not to laugh. Impossible. The folks over at the Martin Agency win with this one. Period.

Bonus: The top four previous spots from Geico & The Martin Agency, in my humble opinion:

GEICO Night Vision Commercial – Happier than an Antelope with Night Vision Goggles

GEICO Commercial- Happier Than a Witch in a Broom Factory

GEICO Paul Revere Commercial Happier than Paul Revere with a Cell Phone

GEICO Bodybuilder Commercial – Happier Than a Body Builder Directing Traffic




Commercials centering around sports have always been some of the most ground-breaking and interesting ads in the industry. I’ve covered spots from Jordan, Nike, adidas, Reebok and AND 1, to name a few of the athletic outfitters that have morphed into true lifestyle brands in present iterations. The intersection of pop and athletic cultures have made for some incredible synergy, resulting in some of the best spots in the game.

adidas Applies the Pressure to RG III

When the new adidas ad featuring Washington Redskins phenom Rookie of The Year  Robert Griffin III aired, it had people looking at each other quizzically, in that “What you talkin’ bout, Willis”?, did-we-just-see-what-we-thought-we-saw way. After suffering a gruesome injury, does adidas think creating a spot where shit is literally blowin’ up in over half of the visuals is the right way to go?

The commercial, done by 180LA, features athletes going through their off season workouts but centers on RGIII – braids flowin’ and all a’glistenin’ – working feverishly to get himself back on the field for his sophomore stint after blowing out his knee kinda like type-ugly in this year’s playoffs.

It didn’t look good for dude.

So here he is, just a couple months later, in a commercial where everything is blowin’ up – literally – from the field to trophy cases and even the coliseum itself. But why?

“Blow Up – All In For Week 1”

Not a good look.

Really, if I was a Redskin fan (Ha! Blasphemy! NY Football Giants. All. Day.), the all too obvious metaphorical reference to Griffin doing basically the same thing to his knee would have my burgundy and orange panties is a bunch ( I couldn’t resist, Skin fans). This could be on a Madden Cover Curse level, people.

Since the spot has aired his doc, the famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, head coach Mike Shanahan and RGIII himself have all weighed in, with the coach & player sending not too subtle shots in each others direction.

RGIII has since backed off his near-guarantee of being on the field for opening day. Good for him. Being back on Day 1 is moronic if he’s gonna jeopardize his  future in the slightest, which is amazingly bright if son learns when to run and how to slide .

Bottom line, it’s bad enough that the kid went down like a shot a deer, but you’d think his people would’ve shut the whole thing down, tagline, pyrotechnics, everything just to stay away from anything casting negative aspersions and overt team/corporate pressure on him to comeback at 100%.

As his primary brand partner, adidas fumbled this one. Badly.

COMMERCIAL WRAP: Idris Elba goes Black Bond in new Toyota Avalon spot.

To launch their new Avalon, Toyota bets on Black with Idris Elba.

Idris Elba’s new Avalon commercial is a crisp, clean, highly stylized piece of celluloid confection.

Broken down into three different episodes – “The Pickup”, “The Checkpoint” & “The Getaway” – this Toyota trilogy finds Elba in his element: the cool, mysterious man of few words and lots of action. Produced by Burrell Communications, it’s hard to believe it, but this is Elba’s first commercial.

For a rookie, he acquits himself quite well. He translates his unflappable icy sex appeal swathed in menace to the world of advertising with expected ease. Beer to biscuits this won’t be his last.

“The Pick Up” sets everything up quite nicely.

The 2013 Toyota Avalon “Pick Up” with Idris Elba for “Only The Name Remains”

“The Checkpoint” is the mid-point, almost-gets-caught bridge to the third installment.

The 2013 Toyota Avalon “Checkpoint” with Idris Elba for “Only The Name Remains”

“The Getaway” is the supposed climax, but …

The 2013 Toyota Avalon “Getaway” with Idris Elba for “Only The Name Remains”

… it’s just a tease, serving as a cliffhanger for the finale which you can only see by going to the website Once you get to the Avalon page, instead of giving you the payoff in a nice and neat package, it’s really a gateway to a virtual experience where you get to be Idris, the driver, and navigate the twists, turns and obstacles of the terrain and the somewhat transparent plot-line.

The climax is kinda paltry – did the budget not include any shots of Elba, maybe actually driving, rolling up the window or, I don’t know,  shooting one of those patented smoldering Idris as Luther/Stringer Bell stares before driving away?


Maybe I’m asking too much from a car commercial.

Overall, it’s a cool spot, coming off more like a mini-movie than your normal commercial. It positions the redesigned Avalon as an affordable aspirational luxury vehicle. Hey, if it’s good enough for the devil may-care, elusive Mr. Elba, then it’s got to be good enough for the everyday driver on a budget trying to be nearly as cool, right?

It’s a job pretty well done, but the obvious question hangs in the air kind of like a Jurassic Park-sized insect: who is the real star of the spot? Idris or the Avalon?

You be the judge.

Bonus: here’s some behind the scenes footage for you ‘Dris fiends. Ladies, you’re welcome.

The 2013 Toyota Avalon “Behind The Scenes” with Idris Elba for “Only The Name Remains”