Some commercials featuring athletes are remembered or recognized decades after they were made; think Mean Joe Greene tossing his jersey to a kid in that Coke commercial, or all those Miller Lite ads with retired athletes. Long after his playing days ended, Joe DiMaggio still starred as a pitchman for Mr. Coffee. But for every award-winning and popular ad campaign, hundreds more are made and soon forgotten. Here are a few of those featuring vintage sports stars.
10. Joe Namath and Reggie Jackson Talk Women (1977)
Two of the most celebrated ladies’ men in sports in the 1970s talk about women — and Brut aftershave.
9. Dick Butkus Talks Defense and Antifreeze (1970)
If the fearsome Dick Butkus told you to use Prestone antifreeze … you would probably use Prestone antifreeze. Prestone Products Corp. posted this 40-plus-year-old ad on its YouTube account in 2013. The hit Butkus puts on No. 88 of the Lions around the 25-second mark is absolutely brutal.
8. O.J. Simpson Takes On Chevrolet Nova (1970)
Many people remember, or have at least seen, those 1970s Hertz commercials with O.J. Simpson running through the airport. Here’s a real rarity, a 23-ish O.J. Simpson facing off against a 1970 Chevrolet Nova. And the menacing look on his face at the end probably makes you think of the situation that made national headlines a quarter-century later.
7. Fred Lynn Sings in Aftershave Commercial (1976)
Fred Lynn was the toast of Boston and the baseball world after his incredible rookie season helped lead the Red Sox to the 1975 World Series. Here he is a year later awkwardly singing with two attractive young women in an Aqua Velva commercial.
6. Willis Reed Touts Joys of Stamp Collecting (1979)
Once upon a time, stamp collecting was a popular hobby. Here, Knicks great Willis Reed stars in a commercial for the U.S. Post Office promoting stamp collecting.
5. Mickey Mantle Loves Post Alpha Bits (1961)
It’s hard to imagine how much endorsement money Mickey Mantle would earn if he played today for the Yankees.
4. Wilt Chamberlain Drives a Compact Car (1979)
Wilt Chamberlain, all 7-1 of him, seems to have plenty of headroom driving a new Volkswagen Rabbit.
3. Tom Seaver, Earl Monroe, Bob Griese Act Puzzled (1970s)
What an incredible collection of multi-sport talent from the 1970s. But those imitation “uniform” jerseys look bizarre.
2. Dr. J Makes the Leap With Crest Toothpaste (1983)
We’re thinking Julius Erving would have been the perfect spokesperson for Trident — “Four out of five dentists recommend Trident … and the Doctor says it’s good, too.”
1. Paul Hornung Enjoys a Marlboro (Early 1960s)
The Green Bay Packers legendary halfback fires up a Marlboro at Wrigley Field as game highlights show him setting an NFL scoring record. Announcer: “Guess you felt pretty good about that score, Paul.” Hornung: “Sure did. And I feel pretty good about this cigarette, too.”