Remembering Frank Gifford: Athlete And Pitchman

Football Great Endorsed Many Brands Over His Lifetime -- Including Cigarettes

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Frank Gifford, who passed away at 84, will be most remembered for his life on the gridiron and in the sportscasting booth. But he also appeared in many noteworthy ads over the length of his career.

The NFL legend played for the New York Giants from 1952 to 1964, and later became known as a sports commentator, first for CBS. He also co-hosted "Monday Night Football" from 1971 to 1985. But Mr. Gifford also spent a lot of time as a pitchman for a host of products including Planter's Peanuts, Dutch Boy paints, Florida Orange Juice and Slim-Fast.

His most interesting endorsement, however, may have been Lucky Strike cigarettes, for which he did several campaigns in the early 1960s. Ad Age chronicled a couple, including a print ad headlined "Remember how great cigarettes used to taste? Luckies still do," via Batten Barton Durstine & Osborn.

In 1963, he filmed a series of Luckies ads that Ad Age said took 10 days and showed him shooting the Colorado Rapids in a rubber raft and riding bucking broncos. The copyline was "It's quite an experience. And here's another experience I'll bet you enjoy. Smoking Lucky Strike." The spots ran on shows like "Combat" and "The Real McCoys."

Frank Gifford filming the Lucky Strike commercial
Frank Gifford filming the Lucky Strike commercial

In the 1970s, he moved onto other brands including sports equipment -- "I've been wearing Riddell since I was a kid," he said in a $200,000 campaign in 1976 via Mitchel Suttner and McPhilliamy, Chicago.

He also worked for Westinghouse, as seen in the spot below.

He also appeared in his share of packaged-goods ads, including Fleischmann's margarine and this one for Planter's.

In the 1980s, Mr. Gifford did a $1.5 million camapign for Dutch Boy, Ad Age reported, with W.B. Doner, in which he touted the "elasticity of exterior super latex paint."

But our favorite may be this spot with wife Kathie Lee Gifford for Slim-Fast.

Contributing: Michelle Dopp

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