I just couldn't let this one pass by: In a slightly embarrassing macho-cheesy advertising campaign, our PWD hero Gary Hall, Jr. (Olympic Swimmer extraordinaire) is the first-ever "Real Man" for a Barbasol Shaving Cream campaign to help fund the JDRF. Actually, he has been the "Real Man" since last Spring, but I just noticed him a few days ago on my hubby's can of Barbasol. Huh?
"Time after time Hall has delivered when his team and country needed it most. Even out of the pool, Hall has consistently delivered awareness and funding in the fight against Type-1 Diabetes — a disease the once 'World's Fastest Man in the Water' suffers from himself... A portion of the price of Barbasol cans with Gary's likeness will be donated to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation."
OK, I get it. Great athlete, great cause. But as usual, the public's reaction varies greatly. Check out the six-page discussion thread on the US Masters Swimming Forum, for example. You'll find everything from "great to see swimmers getting some big-time endorsements!" to "the guy's an egomaniac and he gives swimming a bad name" (which I personally believe is just some pretty rancid sour grapes).
I like "aquageek," who wrote: "The guy has brought more press and attention to swimming than anyone else in decades. He's charismatic and one heck of a hard trainer. He's also quite the ambassador for diabetes. And, he promotes swimming on his own although he apparently now does commercials for the worst shaving cream ever invented." Geek also adds, "I'll take his warts along with his good deeds. We need more flambouyant characters like Hall in swimming."
I wanted to mention that I met Gary Hall, Jr. in person just once, at a cocktail party at last year's ADA Conference. He didn't come across the least bit arrogant -- or flambouyant for that matter. He sat quietly at the dark end of the bar while throngs of party guests oohed and aahed over the big-screen dLife images of himself training and talking. Fidgeting with his drink in his black horn-rimmed glasses, he appeared a bit embarrassed about all the hoopla over him. My kinda Real Man.
Not only that, but his amiable endocrinologist adores him. When I interviewed Dr. Anne Peters for Diabetes Health magazine a while back, she said something along the lines of, "He's just such an incredibly nice person, and he really wants to make a difference for people with diabetes. He's accomplished so much as a spokesperson already."
How true, how true. And now he's got the backing of BD Medical going into the 2008 Olympics. Take a moment to read about the BD Diabetes Makeover Program. (Yes, kind of like TCOYD's new Pimp Your Diabetes campaign, but without the racy title and wacky lead team).
Anyway, the way I see it, it's all good for people with diabetes.
Oh, and remember: "The next time you're shaving with Barbasol, ask yourself, 'Am I going to be a Barbasol Real Man today?'"