HONOREE: Lil’ Penny

25 06 2009

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Commercial: Nike Air Pennys

Actor/Voice:  Chris Rock
We’ve All Said It Before:  “That was Tyra Banks, fool!!!”
lil-penny & marsContinuing with the basketball theme this week and with the LeBron and Kobe puppets making their debut, we thought it’d only be appropriate to pay homage to the originator. Granted the Air Penny series of kicks never had quite the hype surrounding Jordans, but we still have to highlight the brilliance applied by the Nike marketing team in having the foresight to apply Chris Rock voiceovers to create a legendary isht talkin’ calf-high sidekick and allowing Spike to direct the effort.
In most instances, we’d have to say using a puppet to drive sneaker sales is certifiably terrible, but Lil’ Penny happened to be right on time as an evolution of trendsetting characters and not a cheap knockoff of Mars.
The TC Awards Committee often finds blatant evidence of recycling going on amongst characters. And that’s definitely the case with Lil’ Penny and the mysterious appearance of  Miles Thirst as LeBron’s sidekick. Not to hate on LeBron, but sprite could’ve definitely done the homey a few steps better on the sidekick front…the shades and that fro? combined with a psuedo mc gusto voiceover and various assortment of dookie ropes? Just killed the whole vibe before it got started.  Sometimes the original should just be left alone.
At least Nike tried to redeem King James with the talcum powder loving muppet bearing his likeness. Outside of being everywhere and politicking with more celebs than most of us will meet in our lifetimes, Lil Penny’s success and lasting impression has to be attributed to the genius and foolishness of Chris Rock. Hilarious in his own right, the fact that he co-signed on this project with reckless commentary at all times has kept this character in rotation and the clones bitin’.
The originator shinin’ in all his glory:



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