Hey sports fans, it’s worth a shot

—The U.S. Ad Council’s new ad suggests Americans should “get off their bums, get vaccinated and get their bums back in stadium seats.”—

I came upstairs one morning early last spring, after another endless loop of Zoomerang calls in our makeshift Bubonic basement bunker.

I discovered our son, sprawled out in his pyjamas, watching the news, so I asked why he wasn’t dressed and having breakfast.

“The world’s sick,” was his earth orbit-halting reply. Such was the profundity of those three words, the resignation with which they were delivered, and by whom.

You see, spring has a particularly pointed significance for my son and me. It’s not about cherry blossoms, Easter and a clock change. It’s about sports. Hours and hours of sports.

It’s the time when Canada’s Raptors make their perennial push for a deep playoff run (editor’s note: Ummm, about that); his Canucks and my Leafs clutch and claw their way into hockey’s perilous second half. The first sprigs of hope peek out in the fields of Dunedin, where our beloved Blue Jays begin spring training. And he and I assume our rightful posts at opposite ends of the coaching couch.

But it all ended that morning in March of 2020. First the NBA. Then the NHL. And soon thereafter, everything sports came to a halt.

Which is what makes this effort from the American Ad Council, promoting the importance of vaccination, so compelling.

Watching these sports events—teeming with rabidly frothing fans, clambering over one another and fused together by their burning passion for the game—now feels so strange, so foreign, so ancient.

And that’s the idea.

Maybe you can convince a diehard Red Sox fan to realize that the only way to once again sing “Sweet Caroline” next to a complete stranger during the seventh-inning stretch is to stop being a prick, and get one instead.

Maybe if you include packed arena scenes filled with the great unwashed worshipping at the feet of their glistening WWE Gods, you might get just a few of that congregation to line up at the same arena for an inoculation.

And maybe if you serenade those images of tailgate parties, championship walk-offs and frenzied, firework finales with a haunting Willy Nelson rendition of the WWII anthem “I’ll Be Seeing You”… well maybe, just maybe, you can coerce those millions and millions of average Joes, Janes and jackasses to get off their bums, get vaccinated and get their bums back in stadium seats.

Here’s praying. To the Sports Gods.

Craig Redmond is a Creative Leader with Palmer Stamnes and Co, an independent family of marketing communication companies.