Mariners 2012 TV Commercials

The Mariners 2012 TV commercials were released today. You can see them and vote on your favorite on Mariners.com/commercials and Mariners.com beat writer Greg Johns also posted a story on the commercials.

Kevin Martinez, Mariners Vice President of Marketing, who’s been present behind the scenes for most of the Mariners TV campaigns, says this year’s crop is a good mix of veterans of the process, some rookies making their debuts, and a few surprises.

Watch the 2012 Mariners Commercials

The character Larry Bernandez, who became a phenomenon last season, makes a special guest appearance. When Felix Hernandez saw the ventriloquist dummy of little Felix/Larry, his reaction was “I don’t believe it.”

There was a real ventriloquist there to give Felix a few lessons on how to work the levers that control the eyes and mouth of the dummy.

Brendan Ryan put on a clinic of his mimicry skills. Martinez says he knew that Ryan did a spot-on Robert De Niro, but he wasn’t aware of the depth of Ryan’s talent. Ryan entertained the film crew with his Christopher Walken, Johnny Carson and Harry Caray. (link to outtake of Ryan’s impersonations)

During the shoot, Martinez figures Ryan repeated his part about 50 times off camera as he fed lines to his co-stars Chone Figgins and George Sherrill. “He was perfect every time. It was fascinating to see him turn it on and turn it off in an instant,” said Martinez.

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Dustin Ackley makes his Mariners TV commercial debut this year in his own featured spot. He shares the screen with a Burgess Meredith look-alike and a chicken. In one scene, the crusty old boxing trainer (a la Mickey Goldmill of the Rocky movies) says to Ackley “If you can catch this, you can catch greased lightening.” The chicken is supposed to dart in front of Ackley, but Martinez says the first five takes, the hen just sat there. The chicken finally lost its stage fright and they got the shot.

The final scene of the commercial is Ackley hitting a home run. It was shot at one of the practice fields at the Peoria Sports Complex and Martinez says the timing was late in the afternoon, what film people call “the magic hour.” The lighting was soft and beautiful, and it almost looked like something out of The Natural.

The other two commercials may as well have been shot in the Pacific Northwest. For Justin Smoak’s turn as a lumberjack, the crew managed to find a stand of pine trees in the middle of the desert at the Raven Golf Club in Phoenix. In Seattle Welcome, Brandon League and Jason Vargas initiate new catcher to the team with a friendly game of salmon toss. Martinez says they had an iPad at the ready with video of the Pike Place fish mongers in case Montero needed a primer on what they were doing. But Martinez says Montero knew all about it from his visits to the Market when he was in town with the Yankees late last season.

The news release detailing the commercials is also posted on Mariners.com.

- RH

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