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by Lisa reporting for AFANA from Chicago

The AFL introduced a series of very humorous ads during this year's finals campaign. The ads were primarily aimed at the Sydney market and featured Barry Hall as Professor Barry Hall, founder of Barry Hall Hall, a school where students learn how to be AFL fans.


In one ad, Barry is standing next to a fireplace in an elegantly decorated room.

There is the premiership cup on the mantle, a Swan team photo, and a book of AFL fan etiquette on a nearby stand.


In various ads, the narration describes the school's curriculum with accompanying video of the "students" and the classes they attend. All the ads begin with a view of a large wrought-iron gate through which can be seen a vast estate. We then see a group of men and women, clad in white T-shirts, socks, and shoes running toward a large grey, austere looking building. Cut to an elegant looking room and Barry seated at a large desk, clad in a stylish 3-piece suit. On the wall behind him is an autographed poster of Barry in a celebratory pose with arm raised and fist clenched, probably after a goal.


Some of the "classes" described are:


Goal Celebration: Hall moves toward a window with a cup of tea in hand. He looks out and we see the "students" gathered in a huge cluster as Hall watches. 


AFL vs. Rugby: A bearded, lab-coat clad "professor" standing next to a torso mannequin clad in a rugby jersey and a caption to the left says NRL. The "professor" then tears off the sleeves and high collar to make the jersey into a sleeveless V-neck as the caption shifts to the left and changes to read AFL.


Scarf Dangling: Several students watching the instructor, notepads in hand, as he demonstrates using a car door braced on a stand, window open. The instructor is measuring the scarf to demonstrate the proper length to be dangled out a car window as a standing fan blows it around. 


Club These Song: Students in a large room, some seated on straight back chairs and others standing, singing the Sydney team song as the "professor" directs them; he then sits down and begins plucking a large standing harp.


Mascot Conditioning: The Sydney mascot - someone wearing a rather comical looking red and white swan costume - working out on a tread mill.


Interpretive Dancing: None other than Sydney's dashing Irish defender Tadgh Kennelly leading the students and giving instruction for a traditional Irish jig. And, of course, he is wearing his playing togs.


Ball Handling: Students are seen trotting down a tiled hallway, trying to bounce the balls as they head toward a stairway. One or two fall over.


Crepe Paper Appreciation: Several students trying to work with the crepe paper. One of them stands up from the floor and is covered almost head to foot in the sticky stuff. Cut to the middle of the gymnasium where we see a large cheer squad style banner. In the middle of it are instructions: Insert Rhyming Cliche Here. We see Barry Hall passing by as he watches several students jog past him, red and white pom-poms in hand.


Even Barry himself is seen giving a lecture on "holding the ball". it begins with Barry standing next to a TV showing a game clip of a Swan player tackling a West Coast player. Cut to the next shot and we Barry in front of stand piled with watermelons and Barry in a white marketer apron, holding a melon. He himself is tackled as his narration explains that the play warrants a free kick from the umpire. He then asks a group of students what fans are supposed to yell out. Cut to choir-robed students with "hymnals" in hand. They sing out "Baaallllll".


Kennelly isn't the only Swan player to get involved as Jude Bolton is brought into another class to demonstrate the midfield run. He enters after the "professor" explains how players run with the ovoid, spherical ball. Bolton has a "runometer" strapped on his back as the "professor" urges him to run, run, run and Bolton obliges by increasing his pace as he runs in place.


A final scene takes us back to Barry's office, where we see the premiership cup laying on its side on the floor, several golf balls surrounding it and one gently rolls into the cup. Cut once more to Barry, golf club in hand, telling the viewers how they can become the fans they want to be. He then asks for tea, and is handed a cup. Oh, yes, at one point in the ad, we see Barry at his desk with a quill pen in hand and bottle of ink close by.  In the one scene of Barry next to the fireplace, click on the cup, the photo, and the book and watch what happens.

Source: video produced by the AFL, video clip provided to author by Fred Schwinghammer, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Article last changed on Saturday, May 23, 2009 - 10:36 PM EDT

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