Secrets Of Russian Guy, Mini-Giraffe Ad Revealed

One of the best TV ads I’ve seen in a long time comes to us from Direct TV in a recent piece featuring a parody of a Russian oligarch. The :30 spot, produced by Grey Advertising Group, has officially gone viral on the web and in my head - exploding into innumerable views on Youtube and elsewhere.

Secrets of Direct TV Russian Guy, Mini-Giraffe Ad Revealed

(Actor Tim Murphy was actually kissing a metal stand)

Recently disembarked from the International Space Station? Here’s the spot:


With much of the Tube-consuming public addicted to the ad, the language-mangling Russian character’s opening line in the scene, “Opulence, I has it,” is rapidly penetrating our lexicon.

As an obsession, the more I watch, the more I want, so my only problem with the Direct TV commercial is there’s an absolute dearth of intel on the piece’s behind-the-scenes.

Secrets of Direct TV Russian Guy, Mini-Giraffe Ad Revealed

(Actor Murphy appeared at MTV VMAs in character as, “Gregor Chigal“)

I want to know every detail behind how that mini-giraffe came about, who the actor behind the Russian character is, and the scoop on the photo of the blue-shirted soccer players flanked by a man resembling an authentic oligarch, Roman Abramovich. (Incurably sick. I am.)

Thankfully, I was able to get in touch with the two-person creative team from which the entire production germinated: Jon Kallus and Luis Romero.

Jon and Lu were kind enough to submit to my series of queries about their stunning work. Read more…

Nets Jet: NBA Team Requests To Change Name

Stefan Bondy of the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS reports of the New Jersey Nets this week:

Mikhail Prokhorov New Jersey Nets Owner

(New team owner Mikhail) Prokhorov’s camp confirmed this morning that they’ve sent a request to the league to change the team’s name.

Changing a team’s nickname, uniform or city name is a long process requiring that the owner gives the NBA notice 25 months in advance.

The change, if it happens, would coincide with the team’s future move to Brooklyn.

Just for fun, here’s some possible team names that immediately came to mind when I thought about the new regime era in Nets basketball.

New name for relocated NBA team in Brooklyn:

View Results

Leave your own suggestions in the comments. Like mine, keep them light and breezy!

Video: Russian NBA Owner Does Jet Ski Backflip

Here’s the dude who could become the most intriguing sports story of 2010, that is “wild child” Russian Oligarch and new NBA team owner Mikhail Prokhorov:

Video Mikhail Prokhorov Jet Ski Back Flip Tricks

(Prokhorov could leave hip-replaced Mark Cuban in NBA popularity dust)

Honest to god, if I didn’t live in L.A., where the NBA is by far the most popular spectator sport, I would’ve completely stopped following The League years ago. I know I’m not alone, the NBA has plummeted in popularity the past two decades, with the league bordering on irrelevance in many non-NBA markets.

On its surface, the sale of the New Jersey Nets and its arena project to Russian Billionaire Prokhorov is another bad sign for the league, spotlighting its rapidly weakening financial state. The (fire) sale of the Nets and former team owner Bruce Ratner’s once-grand Brooklyn arena project to Prokhorov essentially saved the franchise from financial ruin, but the move to welcome a Russian Oligarch’s money into the league borders on desperation.

No matter how David Stern spins it, this never would’ve happened pre-economic downturn.

Prokhorov’s splurge will be the first in a series of buy-ins in USA-based pro sports leagues from foreign interests - much like what has already happened to the English Premier League. But in the particular case of Prokhorov, I believe his presence will be the best thing that has happened to major pro sports in America in years. Read more…

Meet The Russian Who Will Bring LeBron To Nets

At this point the speculation surrounding LeBron James leaving the Cavs has become folklore; like Bigfoot sightings, or Chad Ochocinco shutting up for five minutes. But if there’s one man who can lure The King from his Clevelandly realm, it’s the man below; a Russian billionaire who once played professional hoops and flips jet skis to relax. It’s like I have a twin!

Mikhail Prokhorov

Who is Mikhail Prokhorov? Think of the New Jersey Nets as owned by Goldfinger, or the alternate James Bond villain of your choice. Russia’s richest man, who made his $9 billion fortune mainly in nickel and gold production and nanotechnology development, has been called Russia’s most eligible bachelor. He’s fond of traveling the world in his private jet with beautiful women in tow, and was once arrested in an investigation of a high-end prostitution ring.

Read more…

Speed Read: Romo, Jones Have Different “Picks”

Usually, Tony Romo saves his worst for last, shining as the season begins but falling apart in December and January. But hey, last night was kind of a big game - it was the first “official” game at the new Cowboys Stadium, and it was a national TV audience against the arch-rival New York Giants. So I guess you can’t blame Romo for reverting to his late-season form and throwing up all over himself in the Cowboys’ 33-31 loss.

Tony Romo vs Giants

Romo threw three picks - including one that was returned for a touchdown - and generally looked more spooked than a race horse that’s just been hit with a firecracker. But despite this, the Cowboys actually led late, and it looked like Dallas might pull out an improbable victory. Read more…

Does This Mean The Nets Are Turning Communist?

Earlier this week, we told you about the dire financial straits the Nets find themselves in, losing money at a pace of $50 million a year at last count. Considering the franchise itself was only $300 million when purchased five years ago, um, that ain’t good.

Brooklyn Nets logo Soviet colors
(You know who else thought those were nice colors? THE SOVIETS.)

So in a move that’s bound to piss off anybody who has ever screamed “GIMME BACK MY COUNTRY,” even - nay, especially when it doesn’t even make sense in context, Russia’s wealthiest man is set to swoop in and make a deal for the team. Russia! That’s where the czars are from! But his decision to pursue the Nets means that his wealth may be a stroke of luck, not good judgment.

Read more…