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Calvin Ayre is the Dave Thomas of Poker


Remember Dave Thomas? The Wendy’s founder who, after the super sexy “Where’s the Beef?” commercials (if you’re into older women that is), appeared in every Wendy’s commercial up until he died in 2002. Well, taking a page from Thomas’s marketing playbook (as well as Lee Iacocca, Remington’s Victor Kayem, and the Scottstrade do-gooder dude) Bodog CEO and Founder Calvin Ayre is launching a new television ad campaign in which he is the star.

The campaign consists of four slickly produced spots, each highlighting one of the four poker “predators” that lurk at the poker table, including “The Hustler,” “The Ringer,” “The Wild Card,” and “The Underdog.” Each spot begins the same Cocktailwaitwith Ayre walking alongside two starlets into a "only-in-your-dreams" card room packed with pretty people in every direction, barely dressed women serving the drinks, a DJ laying down some beats, Cirque du Soleil-like performers doing their thing and I swear if you look closely you can see a midget juggling a poodle and a chihuahua in the corner.

While this is happening, a voice over says:

“When searching for a poker game in this urban jungle of ours, it’s important to learn about the predators lurking around the soft felt of the poker table."

The camera then works its way to a Bodog-logoed poker table and focuses in on one of these four cocky poker “predators,” as the voice over tells you about his or her particular preying tactic. The predator’s confident posture quickly disappears though once Bodog CEO Calvin Ayre sits down at the table, you know, because he is Calvin "Fucking" Ayre (I guess). As the camera zooms in on Ayre’s face, the voice over says:

“But that will be a mistake . . . Some people just have to learn the hard way.”

Ayre then says to the camera:

“Learn poker the easy way. Be the king of your jungle.”

The screen then goes black with the Bodog name and below it the tag “Learn Easy. Play Hard.”

End scene.

More screen captures from the spots and our take after the jump . . .

They’re pretty nice looking spots, and as we see it, having Ayre as the star is a good move for Bodog, even if his presence at the poker table wouldn't likely cause many of us to shrink in our chair. Ayre is popping up in magazines and on red carpets everywhere, and the commercials reinforce his Bodog role and links it it together with all the publicity this man seems to be generating. Most importantly though, no one lives and breathes the Bodog brand better than its CEO, and whenever you can put a face and a personality behind a brand, especially a CEO who clearly embodies the positive attributes of the brand, it’s a smart marketing move.

The spots do make me wonder what Ayre's chops are like at the poker table. No doubt he has learned a few things from his sponsored players David Williams and Josh Arieh but I'm not sure if I've ever seen him tossing cards. It doesn't really matter though for the spots. I mean, I met Dave Thomas about a decade ago (and even came across the actual Wendy), and I must say Ayre and his girls are way more pleasant to hang with than Poppa Dave and his redheaded child. Not one to talk about a dead man here, and Thomas did some great charitable work when he was alive, but let me just say I’ve met a lot nicer folks than the biggie-sized grumpster Thomas. Perhaps it was just a bad day but he was nowhere near the friendly faced fellow he played on TV.

And what's the moral of the story here?

Well, I still love my #2 with cheese, biggie-sized with a Dr. Pepper to drink.

I've had these spots to look at and review for several weeks now but just haven't had the chance to do so until now. Two of the spots are hitting the airwaves now as well as movie theatres, and it's all a part of Bodog's new marketing campaign that includes the beaver/lap dancing viral spots we highlighted a few weeks back. For now, enjoy the screen captures, and once Bodog finally links it on their site I'll update this post with a direct link for your viewing pleasures.

:: snake


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