The company lined up star power endorsers including David Ortiz, Bruin great Bobby Orr, former Boston College and Patriots quarterback Doug Flutie, and Patriots running back Laurence Maroney.
The ad, hastily produced by Reebok staff last week without benefit of an advertising agency, flashed photos of the city and its athletes, as Wahlberg asked: “What do they all have in common? They all play right here, and they all wear . . .” He doesn’t finish the sentence; the word Reebok appears across the screen.
Flutie says, “This is Reebok Nation.”
Amid the images of sports stars, Menino, dressed in a business suit, appears on the pitcher’s mound at Fenway Park with outstretched arms, and says: “Welcome to the greatest sports city in the nation.”
Menino recently joined the ranks of the fitness-minded by demonstrating his cycling prowess around his Hyde Park neighborhood. But he said it was his talent trumpeting the city that earned him an invitation to appear in the ad from his longtime friend, Reebok vice president Paul Foster. He was not paid for his appearance.
“I saw the script and said, ‘Why not?’ ” said Menino. “If you were mayor and someone said we’re going to run a commercial to promote your city, wouldn’t you do it? It doesn’t make any difference. Anyone who asks me to sell the city, why wouldn’t I do it?”
Menino called the final product “clear and precise.”
“Some of those commercials, you don’t know what they’re about,” he said. “I thought they did a magnificent job.”
The company “chose people who really represent Boston,” Foster said. “You see them and you know this person equals Boston. The mayor was another iconic personality that represents Boston.”
The others, he said, are endorsers of Reebok or members of teams that are outfitted by Reebok.
Menino said he didn’t contact the State Ethics Commission to make sure that appearing in the ad did not violate the state’s conflict-of-interest laws, which prohibit public officials from using their position to gain an unfair advantage for themselves or others. He said he did not believe there was anything wrong with appearing in the ad because he was promoting the city and not a product.
The only time the commission has publicly reviewed such a case, in 1984, the commission ruled against a district court judge who asked if his name could be used in a TV ad endorsing a product, even if the judge was unpaid. “The use of your name clearly would be benefiting a private interest,” the commission wrote.
Menino’s advertising premiere was viewed with amusement and goodwill by several observers.
“This is kind of the golden age of Boston sports,” said Councilor John Tobin. “Success of this kind has never been seen around here as it is now and probably won’t be seen again for another 100 years, which will coincide with the end of the mayor’s 24th term. He looked good, but I don’t think he’ll be getting a Screen Actors Guild card anytime soon.