An open letter addressed "Dear 677..." and signed by the entire England cricket team has been described as "the most cringeworthy thing ever" after being posted on social media.
The letter, plotted in free verse, is meant to be taken as a message to the next Test cricketer to represent England – but is actually being taken as an "embarrassing" effort to market the team's new kit by manufacturer New Balance.
"One things (sic) for sure... greatness isn't given," the composition aptly concludes.
England's newest recruit – selected on merit, fans will hope – is earlier told: "Forget what you've done before. None of it matters.
"We've taken wickets. Scored runs. Held catches." Proud boasts, all.
England team signed letter to number 677 (the next Eng Test player) pic.twitter.com/mB4QoOF0zk
— Nick Hoult (@NHoultCricket) May 2, 2017
The Freudian slip that is line seven is a particular highlight: "You're on the first step of a never ending flight of stairs to success."
Someone, somewhere in this operation sagely edited "flight of stairs" to be read as "staircase" in the video advertisement that carries the poem in its entirety – though the implication that England will never reach success was, happily, allowed to remain.
— Stephen Davies (@RushianLFC) May 2, 2017
— Peter Bainbridge (@BainoPeter) May 2, 2017
Admittedly, the effect of it all is slightly improved in an audiovisual medium – the words propelled by northern bass and set against an intense musical accompaniment quite unbefitting the form of cricket where a game can last five days.
New Balance are replacing Adidas as the official England and Wales Cricket Board sponsor, and far be it from us to dissent on so momentous an occasion as Tuesday's unveiling of the new kit.
The ad is part of the company's 'My Future Self' global campaign – so it would be best to warn loved ones that similar treatment could be coming soon to a sports team they love.
Fan mail to the BMB marketing agency.
— Rob Hunter (@hunts9) May 3, 2017