If you hear the name Brad Benson, the first thing that strikes you is still probably Super Bowl XXI, where the Pro Bowl offensive lineman played a key role in helping the New York Giants get past the Broncos. Yet that awareness is changing — fast — to reflect his reputation as a zany auto dealer pitchman, all in the efforts of boosting sales at his New Jersey Hyundai dealership, under the flag of Brad Benson Auto Group.
(He’ll throw in his own celibacy if you buy the undercoating.)
Well, just as his crack pot radio ads on superpower New York sports station WFAN started to settle down, he rolled out a new gem yesterday, claiming that — in honor of the Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton fight — he would go celibate until he became the top-ranked Hyundai dealer in America.
Luckily for Benson and his wife, he only has to top one other dealer to pull off that feat, but it’s still a ludicrous claim. Making matters more interesting is that, as NEWSDAY’s Neil Best reports, no one knows whether to take him seriously or not. While most of his ads are so openly satirical that they can’t be taken seriously, a vow of celibacy is close enough to potential truth that he might just be crazy enough to do it.
So, if a vow of celibacy is believable, what are Benson’s more far-fetched ads? Well, there’s the Lawrence Taylor-joined effort in which the former teammates call some men “light in the loafers.” Another clip said his salesman took steroids like they were Flintstone vitamins, which didn’t please Hanna-Barbera. And then there’s the most awkward case of all, when Benson crossed paths with Plaxico Burress just days after the wide receiver shot himself in the leg in a club.
Aside from confirmation that he’s offending people, the results have been pretty impressive, with Benson’s monthly sales sextupling since he started the dealership and the ads six years ago. Those results are hard to argue with. Then again, the claims of offense at Benson’s ads have sextupled, too.
There’s really no one to be upset at the most recent ad except his wife who, we bet, has already bought a Hyundai. Good to hear she’s doing her part.