By Barry Janoff
September 29, 2015: During his infamous Super Bowl XLIX press conference, a moody and tight-lipped Marshawn Lynch repeatedly answered, "I'm just here so I won't get fined" except when asked questions about his Fam 1st Family Foundation.
Now, the Seattle Seahawks running back has signed a deal to appear in marketing for Stop Bugging Me Pest Control, based in the greater Puget Sound area, in which he repeats in a commercial during a faux press conference, "Stop bugging me."
In fact, Lynch is building a significant marketing roster based his terse use of words.
Via a deal signed with Pepsi, Lynch this month starred in an aptly titled commercial, "Unlikely Spokesperson," in which he lip-synchs while his lines are read by a woman seated next to him. "When Pepsi approached me about being their spokesman, I said, 'I don't know. I don't really like to speak,'" Lynch mouths as the woman speaks.
He ultimately does say something after taking a sip of the product. "Ahh. Speech mode, boss."
In a Skittles spot, he doesn't speak at all, but is instead seen working out with weights and other equipment filled with the product.
Earlier this year, he also appeared in a spot for Progressive Insurance in which he was interviewed by ESPN's Kenny Mayne, offering one-word answers until he is asked about car insurance and company spokeswoman Flo. "I'm all about that Flo, boss," he says to Mayne.
In an NFL on Xbox spot, he shows up late for a "Game Day Evolution 101" faux class, but when called out by the "professor" he says, "I been here the whole time."
He appeared, but did not speak at all, in a commercial for Duracell earlier this year that featured video game versions of the Seattle Seahawks.
Lynch also participated but did not have any lines in a 2013 Nike commercial, "Fast is Faster," along with players including LeShawn McCoy, Larry Fitzgerald, Darrelle Revis, Alex Smith and Ndamukong Suh.
There is no doubt that Lynch is motivated by family and business, Soon after Super Bowl XLIX this past February, he trademarked the phrase, "I'm just here so I won't get fined," to put on his BeastMode apparel line. He uses proceeds to support his foundation.
Going against the grain, Lynch had a lot to say in a spot this year for Vita Coca, "Thirst Responder," in which he plays a hotline operator resolving the problems of thirsty callers. "Check it out. If you send me your address I'll be sure to get you some Vita Coco coconut water to help with the problem you got, boss."
Pest Control is not Lynch's first local endorsement deal. In 2013, he signed with Seattle-based Beacon Plumbing to do a TV spot in which he says, "Stop freakin' . . . Call Beacon."
"He is a nationally recognized football star with unmatched athletic skills," Tom Grim, general manager, Stop Bugging Me Pest Control, said in a statement. "We wanted to leverage his public persona and give a light-hearted take on his media presence."
Stop Bugging Me Pest Control describes itself as a "full-service pest control company providing extermination services for rats, mice, ants, wasps, bees, spiders, bed bugs and more."
As for emphasizing Lynch's chosen path to limit his words in certain situations, Grim said, "Having pests in your home or place of business is no laughing matter. While we take pest-related issues very seriously, we like to poke a little fun in our advertising campaigns."
Aside from Lynch's answer-on-a-loop, that is shown by the superfluous questions he is asked by reporters: "Who's a better dancer: You or coach?" "Do you believe in Big Foot?" "Who is your favorite superhero?" and "Taylor Swift or Katy Perry?"
One question that hits closer to home: "From the one-yard line should you run or pass the ball?" a direct reference to the play in Super Bowl XLIX in which Seattle passed from the one-yard line rather than hand Lynch the ball to run in for what could have been a game-winning touchdown.
Quarterback Russell Wilson's pass attempt to Ricardo Lockette with 26 seconds to play was intercepted by New England Patriots' rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler, and the Pats then ran out the clock to seal a 28-24 victory.
Lynch added to his portfolio earlier this month via a partnership with high-end underwear company, PSD, to develop a collection of co-branded products initially designed for men, under Lynch's BeastMode apparel and lifestyle brand.
According to Lynch, "I got some PSD underwear and I liked how they fit. I decided to co-create the BeastMode x PSD line so my fans can look good and be comfortable in any situation," he said not verbally but in a statement.
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