The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
Fernando Torres’s recent slew of low-budget ad spots for Spanish TV may have their critics, but in my opinion, this is unequivocally the greatest football-themed dog-obedience-school ad of the last five years. Calling this “bad” (Futbolita) or “cheap and dreadful” (The Beautiful Game) just because it has people whistling a fife tune instead of actual fifes on the soundtrack is like calling From Elvis in Memphis “bad” because the rhinestones weren’t real diamonds. Let’s take it frame by frame.
0:00 — A martial drumroll calls us to attention. Have you ever seen a more alert pug in your life?
0:01 — YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN A MORE ALERT PUG IN YOUR LIFE.
0:02 — Alert and…thirsty?
0:04 — The first piece of low-fi magic (of many) in the ad. The pug had looked enormous, unstoppable, larger than life. But now, the camera cuts back to reveal a pug-dwarfing Fernando Torres as he gently helps the little guy sit down. Fernando Torres initially appears to be over a hundred feet tall.
0:06 — Nando introduces himself, then introduces his “amigo” (Nacho?), who’s wearing an entire suite of licensed dog-obedience-school apparel. Kudos to him for mining the alternative revenue stream. Rick Parry would be proud.
0:07 — He’s also wearing a couple of Weimaraners.
0:11 — We see the obedience-school logo for the first time, which tells us that it’s owned and operated by a German Shepherd named Narub.
0:13 — Nacho, Nando, and a St. Bernard are out for a walk on what looks like a beautiful spring day at the paramilitary training complex.
0:14 — The St. Bernard attempts to eat Nacho’s hand. Otherwise, it must be said, it’s very well-behaved.
0:16 — A series of quick closeups showing dogs at the ready. Note the impressive training equipment. The little Pekingese is actually standing next to a tea table.
0:17 — Nando allows his face to be licked by an enthusiastic bulldog. Thankfully we don’t see this in slow motion.
0:20 — The Narub logo again, for anyone who doesn’t remember seeing it nine seconds ago.
0:22 — Is it raining? Fernando Torres, now only sixty feet tall, is standing under a fifty-foot umbrella, holding the leashes of several thousand lapdogs who are each exactly one inch high.
0:23 — He has never looked more like a character in a picture book than he does at this moment. Magical.
0:24 — Unannounced closeup! Nando knows how to whistle with his fingers. Kind of.
0:25 — This school can train Great Danes to look out the window!
0:26 — And Rottweiler puppies to jump through hoops!
0:26 — Although one wonders if the hoops really need to be on fire.
0:29 — It’s Steven Gerrard, the German Shepherd! I remember him. Just don’t let him near any DJs, ha ha ha.
0:35 — Nacho gives the thumbs up. I really thought he’d play a bigger role in this commercial.
0:36 — Surrounded by dogs—and, apparently, an eighteenth-century plough of some kind—Torres and Nacho pose in front of the obedience school’s slogan, which is (I’m freelancing a little on the translation) “You give us a dog. We give you back a warrior.”
0:43 — Nacho waves goodbye. He looks deeply suspicious for some reason.
So, in short, I don’t know what strange, fanciful world of military fife marches, doggy obstacle courses, Pekingese tea parties, and antique farming equipment those other bloggers have been to. Personally? This is the only one I need.
I could, and possibly will, watch this all afternoon. If you need more variety, however, here are some of Nando’s other recent acts of recorded salesmanship.
He’s playing tennis!
And my second-favorite after the dog-school ad: he’s styling hair!
Have a great summer, everyone.
by Brian Phillips · February 6, 2009