The following video from MLB stars Bryce Harper with a group of kids in Nationals jerseys. MLB has been releasing lots of these #THIS themed videos over the past year to share and celebrate memorable baseball moments.
This video is different. It is not just a clip grabbed from a TV game feed. It has a lot of production value. It is very carefully edited.
It looks, sounds, and feels like a super polished 30 second commercial, and in a way it is a commercial. A commercial for what, you ask? Watch the video and then let's talk about that.
Right up front is Bryce Harper, the guy everybody wants to be like. Today we are told that "To play good you have to look good."
Now, we all know how much Harper makes how he looks part of his personal branding, but here the narrator wants us to believe that looking good is integral to playing "good". Bryce Harper looks good, therefore he is able to be a winner.
That makes sense.
Next we meet a group of little league baseball players all wearing Nationals jerseys. They are not winners and have not been playing good.
This sets up the plot for this 30 second mini show.
These are our protagonists and they have a major problem that needs to be resolved.
By the way, the choice of wardrobe here is a clear nod to the Nationals club buying Nationals jerseys for every child playing Little League or Rookie League baseball in DC. That is $110,000 of Nationals branding and public relations outreach rolled into one.
The message is not only that the Nationals are generous but that your child should want to wear a Nationals jersey just like the big league guys instead of the jerseys sponsored by Chico's Bail Bonds that they usually have to wear.
Now that we have a problem to be resolved, let's find a hero to fix the problem. These kids are not winning baseball games, so it makes perfect sense that Bryce Harper would show up to save the day.
He is a very good baseball player. If he can't help them, who can? The children are excited to see Bryce Harper. They are as confident as we are that Harper can turn their season around.
Indeed, Harper is ready to rumble and gets right to work fixing the problem.
Bryce Harper chooses to turn these losers into winners by cutting their hair. To play good you have to look good.
Looking good means having a great haircut. If you don't have the right hair cut then you won't hit a lot of home runs.
Apparently, Bryce Harper is the modern equivalent of the biblical semi-hero Samson, whose power was also in his hair, and today Harper is giving away the secrets to his powers for free in a thirty second internet video.
But hold on, you cry, isn't this just a silly and fun promotional video? Isn't this just supposed to make us feel good?
That line about the home run hair cut is just supposed to make us laugh, right?
Maybe you're right. I'm sure most children watching this video will laugh and point out how ridiculous it is that making a superficial change to their hair style might make them better baseball players.
I'm sure the parents of those children are not at all buying into the idea that success is tied not to hard work but more to kids feeling good about how they look.
Let's wait and see how your kids react the next time they lose a few games of little league ball. When you offer to buy them sno-cones or pizza and they counter by demanding you take them to the nearest barbershop, remember this day.
Bryce Harper has worked incredibly hard for years to become who he is, yet your children are being told that they can get the same results for the price of a haircut.
This is a commercial for self-esteem. It also sells Bryce Harper, haircuts, and the Washington Nationals brand of baseball along the way, but core product here is self-esteem.
Success comes to those who feel good about themselves. Feel the power, fellas.
So if you share this video on Facebook or show it to your kids because they love Bryce Harper then you may want to add a disclaimer that the statistical link between great hair and home runs is not as strong as some would have you believe.