New York Jets: Top 10 Old School Joe Namath Commercials

Rocco Constantino@@br_jets_reportContributor INovember 8, 2012

New York Jets: Top 10 Old School Joe Namath Commercials

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    Whether you agree with his outspoken ways or not, there's no denying the greatness of New York Jets Hall of Famer Joe Namath after watching these commercials.

    Broadway Joe was a transcending figure both on and off the field and was simply ahead of his time.

    For better or worse, the flamboyant Namath surely made the most of his fame, working as a pitchman for everything from popcorn makers to pantyhose.

    Much of the discussion around the Jets at this point in the season is focused on the negatives.  

    After their Week 8 debacle at home against the Dolphins and with perhaps their toughest road game of the season looming just a few days away, the feeling among fans is bordering on despair.

    However, before focusing on what could be impending doom at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks, it would serve Jets fans to take a step back and enjoy some levity.

    This article idea comes via my suggestion box from loyal B/R reader Will, a Jets and Bears fan.  It provides the perfect opportunity for fans to take a step back from thinking about Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan and Tim Tebow for a minute and appreciate Namath in all his greatest 1970s glory.   

Honorable Mention

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    Hamilton Beach Double Mac

    Joe Namath's commercial starts at the 2:30 mark of this video and is for a combination griddle and sandwich maker.  It certainly is apparent that Namath doesn't say no to many products when it comes to making a buck as a corporate shill. 


    Olivetti Typewriter

    This phenomenal commercial has Namath speak just two words ("Yes, ma'am!") and become the victim of workplace sexual misconduct.  Only Namath could turn a typewriter commercial into a display of how easy it was for him to get girls in the 1970s.  The commercial starts at the 1:30 mark.


    Flex-all 454

    Namath did a series of ads for Flex-all 454 in the 1990s.  While hawking typewriters may not have been the most ideal fit for Namath, being the spokesman for pain relief certainly fit him well.  The commercial is straight-forward and informative, really nothing special at all.  However, at the end, Namath gets in one classic zinger to leave folks with a smile.


    Nike Zoom Air, Part II

    This was the second of what should have been a long running, successful campaign for Nike Air Zoom.  The commercial has viewers laughing off the bat with some great editing.  Namath gripes that his wife was skeptical about his comeback because of "something about his knees."  The clip then cuts quickly to his real-life wife, Deborah Mays, who proclaims, "you have artificial knees."   

    Of course then Namath is able to convince his wife that with the help of the Nike Air Zoom, his comeback at the age of 54 is plausible. 

    Elite Design and Remodeling

    This commercial follows the same formula as the Flex-all 454 ad.  Namath simply lists the benefits of using Elite Design and Remodeling without much fanfare.  He then ends the commercial by guaranteeing you'd be happy with Elite Remodeling...and we all know what a Namath guarantee is worth.  


10. Nobody Beats the Wiz

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    The top 10 starts off with a simple commercial from Broadway Joe, who was a pitchman for The Wiz two decades ago.  

    There are a number of commercials starring Namath for The Wiz online, and most of them are pretty bland.

    In this Christmas ad, Namath is sporting a Bill Cosby sweater and Joe Theismann haircut as he reaches out specifically to people who live in Morris County, New Jersey.

    After showering his pseudo-family with gifts and planting a well-timed kiss on the only age-appropriate girl in the room, Namath settles in for his pitch.

    "If you're having a hard time finding that special Christmas gift and you live in Succasunna, New Jersey, giving will be a lot easier this year," assures the Hall of Famer.

9. Nike Zoom Air

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    This phenomenal idea for a commercial for the Nike Zoom Air sneaker fell short on delivering what should have been an outstanding campaign.

    The idea was that even at the age of 54, Joe Namath could make a comeback wearing the sneaker.

    Namath feigns a dropback while exclaiming that he feels "low to the ground and speedy."

    In this commercial though, Namath plays the straight man to the wisecracking Nike salesman.

    After making a felicitous remark about the Jets being "good," Namath proclaims "we beat the Colts!"

    When the commercial aired in 1997, the pre-Peyton Manning Colts were in the midst of a 3-13 campaign.  The Nike salesman clearly didn't get the reference Namath was making.

    The potential for this commercial series was never realized, as the commercials just didn't take off.  Like Namath's passing ability, this commercial was ahead of its time and would have played better in today's internet and social media era.

8. Ovaltine

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    This commercial is a departure from the typical Joe Namath clip.

    Namath ditches the comedy and sexuality and flat out tries to hypnotize kids into drinking Ovaltine.

    Creepy 1970s children lifelessly repeat "my old pal Ovaltine" five times in the first 25 seconds while Namath repeats "any friend of Ovaltine, is a friend of mine" three times.  They are the only two phrases uttered in the first 25 seconds of the 30-second commercial.

    Even though Namath doesn't crack a smile, there is a ton of comedy here.

    First of all why is everybody friends with a beverage?  Is that even possible? Some of the kids in the shoot actually look like they might take the Ovaltine home and talk to it.

    Also, why do all the kids get to meet Namath at the end of the commercial except the young boy with the glasses who looks like he may be somehow related to Oliver Hardy?

    Finally, why is the U.S. government telling people how many vitamins they need every day and why does "nothing else come close" to giving you those vitamins except Ovaltine?

    Sounds like a fishy claim to me. 

7. Hamilton Beach Popcorn Maker

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    I don't know that I believe Broadway Joe when he starts this commercial by saying "there's nothing I enjoy more than hot buttered popcorn."

    This is Namath circa 1971 and if the stories are correct, there are a number of things that would probably be near the top of Joe's list instead of hot buttered popcorn.

    Either way, this commercial gives a good glimpse as to just how valuable Namath was as a pitchman.

    All marketers had to do was put a product in front of Namath and have him read a mindless script, and that was good enough to convince everyone to use the product.  

    The inspiration and creativity was at an all-time low in this ad.

    The commercial does end on a nice twist though.  Namath not only guarantees that you will get the "greatest hot buttered popcorn you have ever tasted," but also says that you could somehow get an autographed Joe Namath football as well.

    Sounds like a terrific deal! 

6. Brut Cologne

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    Somehow, the writers of this commercial have linked Joe Namath's knee injury to his preference for Brut cologne.

    The commercial is made to look like an interview in which Namath is discussing his knee injury and then casually decides to segue into telling people why he uses Brut.

    This is also another commercial style that is ahead of its time.  It's very reminiscent of the forced product-placement ads play-by-play men throw into the middle of a sporting event to combat the use of the DVR to skip commercials.

    It just seems like a normal sports conversation is happening and then you are hit with a sneak attack ad for car insurance or something.

    While the writers couldn't possibly be any clumsier mixing his knee injury with Brut cologne, they do get credit for Namath's tag line at the end:

    "If you're not gonna go all the way man, I mean why go at all?"


5. St. Mary's Playmaker Bed and Bath Collection

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    This commercial appears to be some kind of dream people might have, where they are standing around in a tuxedo while half-naked women float by in beds.

    For Joe Namath, that was probably a typical Tuesday night in the 1970s.

    The trippy ad is for bedding from St. Mary's Playmaker Bed and Bath Collection, and Namath is the perfect pitchman.

    Unlike his declaration that popcorn is the greatest thing in the world, Namath's opening line here is more suited for his persona.

    While standing on what appears to be a cloud, Namath declares "it's paradise seeing beautiful girls surrounded by beautiful things."

    Who could argue with that?

4. Dingo Shoes

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    What a fantastic song to go with this commercial!

    "He's a Dingo man, in his Dingo boots, and he knows what it's all about!"

    Pure gold, and that's just the start of it.

    The lyrical masterpiece continues as Namath walks about town wearing various styles of Dingo boots, stopping to eat hot dogs and collect flowers from women along the way.

    If Namath had actual theme music played as he walked around through life in the 1970s, this would be it.

    The sultry woman rowing a lazy Namath around in a boat at the end of the commercial pushes this commercial clearly into the top five.

3. Noxema (with Kathy Speirs)

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    The top of this list contains Namath's three most iconic ads over a 40-year career of making commercials.  

    This ad features little-known model Kathy Speirs giving a simple, yet extremely risque pitch to "let Noxema cream your face."

    It's nearly identical to the more famous ad featuring Farrah Fawcett, except in this commercial, the jingle is belted out in a style that beckons Ethel Merman.

    Fawcett's sultry whisper plays a lot better, which brings us to No 2... 

2. Noxema (with Farrah Fawcett)

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    Take out Kathy Speirs and the Ethel Merman soundtrack and replace them with Farrah Fawcett and seductive whisper-singing and now you have a shaving cream ad!

    This is basically an Axe Body Spray ad 35 years before someone thought of trying to claim you could spray something to make women throw themselves at you.

    Namath looks genuinely excited to get "creamed" as the ad starts, and really, who wouldn't be.  

    The ad features Fawcett a full three years before she broke out in Charlie's Angels and was one of the early advertisements to use the Super Bowl to make a huge debut splash.

1. Beauty Mist Pantyhose

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    Joe Namath's Beauty Mist Pantyhose is the Super Bowl III of his career as a pitchman.  

    The 1973 ad was an ingenious idea and works perfectly.

    To be honest, Namath's famously beaten legs really do look pretty good in those pantyhose.

    Namath has three lines in the entire ad, which shows how perfectly designed it was.  This was a visual ad and Namath really didn't have to say a single word to get the point across.

    Throw in the obligatory kiss from the young girl at the end, and you have pure commercial genius.