Appearing in an Eastern Motors commercial is a rite of passage for D.C.’s most recognizable athletes. A parade of locally famous faces have appeared on your televisions, singing that jingle that won’t leave your head for hours. On Wednesday, Redskins rookie Alfred Morris became one of them.
Morris showed up to Gold’s Gym in Ashburn, the first site of the day’s shoots, driving “Bentley,” as usual.
“She’s not going anywhere,” Morris told me, concerned that people would see the commercial and assume that he’d be retiring the 1991 Mazda 626. “She’s my baby.”
The crew of no fewer than 10 people on hand for the shoot included cameramen, photographers, marketing folks, and assistant for Morris, who was also the guy in charge of spraying fake sweat onto the star before filming weightlifting shots. It was a little overwhelming for the humble running back, who’s not used to being fussed over.
“This is a lot of work for a 30-second commercial,” Morris joked between takes, before someone called for a towel to wipe the fake sweat that had been sprayed on minutes before.
After a stop in the parking lot to film Bentley’s cameo (yes, his beloved car got a cameo), the crew headed to the Easterns warehouse to film the most important part. Morris was about the learn the jingle.
“I watched some of the old commercials,” he told me, when I asked if he knew the song. “But all I remember is: ‘At Eastern Motors, your job’s your credit.’ I know there’s more.”
Yeah, there’s more. A lot more, and Morris was forced to sing it over and over and over. He had the benefit of cue cards to help him, and after a few renditions he got comfortable enough to add some dance moves. A lot of dance moves.
There was the running man, the robot, the moonwalk, and other moves that don’t have names but need some. Niles Paul showed up halfway through the shoot, and almost as awesome as Morris’s groove was Paul’s laughter at his teammate’s silliness.
“It was a cool experience,” Morris told me toward the end of filming. “When I see commercials, I’m always wondering, like, what’s happening behind the scenes to put this together? A lot of people with football, it’s relatable because a lot of people think in practice we just show up and play. But there’s a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes, studying film, meetings, a lot of things we do, just getting a feel for each other and getting coordinated so on the field it looks good.
“To be able to see the behind-the-scenes portion of it is pretty cool,” he continued. “I’m enjoying it.”
The folks at Easterns told me that Wizards rookie Bradley Beal was slated to appear in a commercial as well, possibly sharing a spot with Morris. Hopefully, he’s working on his robot.