If ever a sports personality was perfect for selling stuff on TV commercials, it was Broadway Joe. Men loved him because he was a pretty darned great athlete, one who put the AFL on even ground with the NFL by beating the Colts in Super Bowl III. And the ladies loved him because he was a good-looking bad boy.
Joe’s commercials included some sexy spots with unknown model Farrah Fawcett selling Noxzema shaving cream. Obviously, Joe’s sports hero appeal to guys was greatly overshadowed by that provided by the lovely future Mrs. Majors.
But if he was hawking Right Guard deodorant, it was Joe the quarterback who was selling to America’s guys.
In 1974, he filmed a commercial for Beautymist pantyhose. The camera started at a shapely pair of feet attached to a reclined pair of legs. It slowly, seductively panned upward over the calves, knees, then thighs. Finally, it showed the owner of said gams: JOE NAMATH!
His men fans were flustered. The women? Well, Beautymist sold a whole bunch of pantyhose that year.
Joe was quoted in the commercial (it’s on YouTube) as saying “Now I DON’T wear pantyhose.” Okay, Joe, I don’t either, but we have photographic evidence that you did, at least once!
But it was a very effective ad. Joe’s knees were famous for their multiple surgeries at that point. And the ladies were certainly impressed at the way they made those poor, scarred joints look. Sales went up: the bottom line of advertising.
His reputation took a hit among his male fans. But it was just a blip on the screen, really, and it wasn’t long before they were laughing about it.
So I guess the historical impact of Broadway Joe’s pantyhose-clad legs was that it caused a general lightening-up amongst the masses.
And there’s no doubt that that is a good thing.