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This story first appeared in the July 27, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
They grin and bare it; we blush and buy it. Ever since jockey International Inc. pioneered the use of athletes in ads in the 1930s with Babe Ruth sporting Jockey Longs, stars in their skivvies have been advertising gold. Iconic images throughout the decades include Major Leaguers Jim Palmer and Pete Rose posing in their Jockeys in the Seventies. Since the Nineties, Calvin Klein Underwear has been turning heads with provocative ads featuring supermodels Christy Turlington and Kate Moss, along with Hollywood hotties Mark Wahlberg, Djimon Hounsou and the sultry Eva Mendes. Megabrand Hanes recruited Michael Jordan in 2000 and has since featured Marisa Tomei, Charlie Sheen and Jackie Chan, among others. And Emporio Armani is wowing underwear fans this year with glamorous husband-and-wife team David and Victoria Beckham.