JOE BOXER: NICK GRAHAM

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Nick Graham wanted to be a rock star, so in an attempt to avoid having to work, 13 years ago he started an underwear company and called it Joe Boxer Corp.

Instead of getting time off, Mr. Graham, 40, a vocalist by trade, has been singing the lead in the marketing of his over-the-edge clothing company. Last year, it posted record sales of $100 million, up 26% from the previous year, thanks in part to its first major, somewhat traditional, advertising campaign.

The magazine and outdoor effort, tagged "Change daily," shows a fireman wearing only red undershorts "rescuing" a boy's pair of underwear from a tree. Other executions, from agency Odiorne Wilde Narraway & Partners, San Francisco, feature a barber wearing undershorts with smiley-faces as he trims the beard of a woodsman wearing checkered shorts with suspenders.

But that wasn't all. Mr. Graham, in the typical Joe Boxer style of blending marketing, merchandising and humor, invented the first underwear vending machine called the Undo-Vendo. For a fashion touch, he brought out the first pair of underwear with two fly openings, called the double dipper.

The marketing push was rounded out by a promotional effort using numerous comedians.

While few comedy stars enjoy sponsorships the way athletes do, the move is somewhat traditional compared with Mr. Graham's past promotional activities, such as the world's first interactive electronic board on Times Square or the launch of a unmanned underwear rocket.

"The philosophy of this company is the brand is the amusement park, and the product is a souvenir," says Mr. Graham, whose company now includes men's, women's and children's items, a line in Warner Bros. stores and a-soon-to-be announced home furnishings collection. "The brand is the soul of the crazy

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