Car Culture

Poor white bear slips and slides in viral outtakes for car ad

Icy that! In Minnesota, even bears should know how to handle themselves on a hockey rink. Emphasis on the "should."

From age 9 on, I grew up in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, population 23,000, a suburb of St. Paul. It's best known for its namesake lake, and for the fact that F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald were kicked out of its yacht club (no one I knew owned a yacht -- we were more pontoon people). Also, a prostitute briefly mentions the town in the movie "Fargo." Go Bears.

But it's also known for a seemingly endless stretch of car dealerships on Highway 61, the road Bob Dylan made famous, one with an enormous white-bear statue that gets painted-on swim trunks in the summer, and a scarf in the winter.

Now a commercial for one of those dealerships, White Bear Mitsubishi, has gone viral, and it's the town's namesake white bear that's done it.

The idea was for someone in the white bear suit to stroll out on the ice at Mariucci Arena, home of the Minnesota Golden Gopher hockey team, with Gopher mascot Goldy Gopher.

But Goldy is wearing shoes that grip, and at one point, hockey skates, so he's good. The poor white bear, who has no such shoe support, is trying to walk on freshly Zambonied (slick and unscuffed) ice, and keeping his balance proves to be tougher than staying warm in Minnesota in January.

"The bottom of his feet are kind of like sandals, so you can imagine walking on ice with sandals would be difficult," dealership general manager Richard Herod told local CBS affiliate WCCO. "The irony of the situation is that bears in their natural habitat are meant to walk on ice."

The ad's outtakes were released in late December and as of Friday, more than 1.3 million people have watched the video. Stay tuned till the end, when a friendly pat on the back sends the bear slamming to the ice as if he just got cross-checked. Hometown pride!