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Happy little trees from ESPN and W+K

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This post reflects my interest as a marketing student in advertising and sports marketing. The opinions expressed here are mine and in no way reflect the opinions of my employers.

Just spotted on AdWeek’s Ad of the Day: An ESPN commercial from Wieden+Kennedy features none other than Bob Ross, a TV painter whose PBS show undoubtedly distracted entertained scores of Gen Xers before the advent of cable televisions’s Golden Age and the Internet. AdWeek already has a nice overview, so I’ll just add my two cents on why this spot works: The commercial’s retro setting (e.g. the brown paneling, the Sears silk curtains, the bamboo furniture) along with the actor’s costumes and props, give it a weird but effective then-meets-now that will resonate with Xers 35 and older who were so bored at Grandma’s back in the 1970s and 1980s that they gave into Ross and his paints and spent the captive, believing they too could paint happy little trees. And that makes for a happy little memory.


You’re always taking the TV to watch all your painting shows.


~ Husband,
ESPNWatch commercial, May 2012



The ESPNWatch “Paintings” spot was posted on ESPN’s YouTube channel on May 21. At the time of this writing, it had 2,471 views.

MORE: Bob Ross painting mountains:



Author: Jacqui Barrineau

Jacqui Barrineau is a writer and editor who lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., with husband Trey, a Shetland Sheepdog and two unhelpful-but-funny cats. Her work has appeared in "So to Speak" and "Calliope," and she's a regular contributor to the flash-fiction sites Paragraph Planet and Doorknobs & Bodypaint. Once upon a time, she was the audience engagement editor at USA Today. Now she does other fun things that involve advertising, marketing and social media. The views expressed here and in other outlets are hers, not her clients'. Outside of work, she's proud to serve on the Northern Virginia Community College Marketing Advisory Committee. As a committee member, she joins industry leaders in lending their knowledge and expertise to ensure the college's Marketing curriculum is relevant and responsive to the needs of the students and the surrounding business communities.

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