By  on August 18, 2014

Jockey is mining its history for its newest ad campaign.

The underwear brand, which was founded in 1876, has counted some famous people as its customers over the years. And it has turned to three of them — Babe Ruth, Buzz Aldrin and General George Patton — to feature in a national television and print campaign that starts Monday.

“We’re showcasing our legacy and the great men who have worn Jockey in their careers,” said Dustin Cohn, chief marketing officer. Ruth, in fact, actually appeared in an ad campaign for the brand in 1947, he said. “He was one of the very first celebrity endorsers for underwear.”

The campaign’s tag line — “Supporting Greatness” — is a triple-entendre, Cohn said, with literal, emotional and functional meanings.

“The magic of a good tag line is that you don’t have to explain it,” he said. “And this hits them right between the eyes.”

Each ad employs a vintage image of the men — rights were purchased from their estates or the agencies that own the photos — at the top of the page and a contemporary model dressed in Jockey underwear at the bottom. There are tongue-in-cheek sentences on each — for example, Aldrin’s reads: “To make history, Buzz Aldrin needed durable underwear. That, and some really good space pants” — along with quality attributes of the product.

Jockey worked with the New York-based Droga5 agency on the campaign. The television commercials will air on ESPN, FX, Comedy Central, Monday Night Football and CBSsports.com, he said. The print ads will run in ESPN The Magazine, Sports Illustrated, GQ, Men’s Health, Esquire and others.

The commercials will also be used on YouTube and other social-media platforms.

Going forward, Cohn said Jockey will use other customers — past and present — in the campaign. “There are many more to come,” he said. “There’s an enormous pipeline of well-known Americans through history who have worn our product. And we’ll also tap into today’s events and celebrities as well as the everyday guy.”

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