Joe Namath signed with the NY Jets in 1965 for $400,000 and took on New York City.
Dubbed ‘Broadway Joe,’ he was then a flamboyant, high-profile playboy who loved the nightlife. Namath enjoyed a lot of attention even in the age of rotary phones. Namath was wildly popular and much-talked-about. Besides being a record-setting quarterback studied on Sundays during the football season, it was newspaper and magazine society and gossip pages where his face was most often seen save for TV ads he appeared in, from bedding to Ovaltine, it was about making that money off the field doing commercial endorsements. Namath’s ads, especially the ‘sexy’ ones made him a TV star on the other six days of the week.
This reporter is of a certain age from New York, so grew up watching Namath and his commercials.
‘I’m So Excited. I’m Going to Get Creamed’
In one with superstar actress and model Farrah Fawcett, known for her hair and sex appeal, a much-used phrase back in the day, she swears Noxema shave cream all over his face. Tame today, but provocative in 1973.
And Fawcett smears cream on the baller’s face as she softly and seductively sings to him. “You’ve got a great pair of hands,” Namath says at the end as she caresses his face.
The ad was at once criticized and celebrated. Regardless of its impact then, it’s survived the test of time.
In a commercial for bedding, Namath says it’s “paradise being surrounded by beautiful girls” as scantily clad young women float by in beds. Again, likely seen as tame today, in the early 1970s, it was seen as naughty.
The Pantyhose Commercial
But Namath’s ad for Hanes’ Beautymist pantyhose was risqué and controversial for 1973. It’s been noted that it may be one of the earliest TV ads that depict cross-dressing. But Namath gets kissed by a young woman as the conclusion, perhaps a message that Namath was ‘all man,’ who knows.
The 30-second ad opens with a voiceover: “This commercial will prove to the women of America that Beautymist pantyhose can make any leg look like a million dollars.”
In the ad, the camera slowly creeps up Namath’s legs; he’s laying down, legs crossed. Shiny and silky-looking, the camera continues its climb to green satin shorts. Namath, we know because of the number 12 jersey.
“Now I don’t wear pantyhose but if Beautymist can make my legs look good, imagine what they’ll do for yours.”
Namath Was Wholesome, Too. His Ovaline Commerical Was a Hit
‘My old pal, Ovaltine.’