No, in the new ads for Hanes underwear, Charlie Sheen and Michael Jordan won't jump over a pool of snakes wearing only briefs (see popular online video of Kobe Bryant leaping over a pool of snakes). Rather, Sheen is playing an exaggerated--and somewhat reptilian--version of himself in a new campaign for Hanes Lay Flat Collar undershirts and Hanes No Ride Up Boxer Briefs.
The effort, via Richmond, Va.-based The Martin Agency, extends Hanes' three-year-old "Look Who" advertising campaign. A pair of new ads has Sheen playing an obsequious Jordan-worshipping version of himself, and Jordan playing Jordan.
The first spot has Sheen leaving a hotel and tipping the bellboy. When he sees Jordan pulling out in a Maserati Spyder, he strolls over to Jordan's car. "Hey, M.J. The Hanes man himself!" says Sheen, as Jordan tries to be affable while fending off Sheen's handshake. "Speaking of which," continues Sheen, "my agent turned me on to these shirts. The collar doesn't stretch out. You should look into it!"
When Jordan tells him he has to leave, Sheen pulls out his cell phone. "We should do dinner," he says. "You like Korean barbeque?" "Um," responds Jordan, "no." When Jordan pulls away, Sheen throws his cell phone into the back seat of Jordan's car. "Number's in there!"
In the second ad, Jordan is strolling home from a day at the links. When Sheen drives by and notices Jordan, he puts his car in reverse and tries to engage him in conversation as he continues to drive in reverse. He tells Jordan he's wearing the new Hanes No Ride Up Boxer Briefs and moves to show off the pair he's wearing while still driving. Jordan tries to tell him he's about to run into the valet stand, but it's too late. Crash.
The effort also comprises online, and video game promotes the brand's new Comfort Fit Promise, in which Hanes offers consumers their money back if they have any fit or comfort issues with the underwear.
The ads bow Monday during the NHL Finals on NBC and will air later in the week during the NBA Finals on ESPN and Nascar on ESPN. The 15- and 30-second spots follow Sheen as he plays himself, but with an elevated obsequious hormone that makes him horribly fawning whenever he sees Jordan. In this case, his sycophantic devices involve the fact that both he and Jordan wear Hanes Lay Flat Collar and No Ride Up Boxers.
The online vector, beginning July 14, has ad banners and the Fantasy Baseball Hanes Comfort Zone on ESPN.com. Hanes will also have ads in select XboxLive.com games, including Nascar 2008, NHL 2008 and MLB's "The Bigs." Hanes will launch a microsite at its consumer Web site that shows the ads, outtakes and other content targeted to men.
Hanes' "Look Who" campaign, which launched in 2005, has featured Matthew Perry, Marisa Tomei, Damon Wayans, Christina Applegate, Kevin Bacon, and most recently Jennifer Love Hewitt. Jordan showed up last year in Hanes ads, in spots in which he played opposite actor Cuba Gooding Jr.
David McBride, director of Hanes Brand Marketing, says each installment of the "Look Who" campaign is intended to be unique. "Both because of the personality we team up with and the products we promote. Charlie [Sheen's] work on classic 'guy' films like 'Platoon,' 'Major League' and his current sitcom, as well as his charisma and dry sense of humor, make him a great fit for the campaign in targeting and engaging male consumers alongside Michael Jordan."
He says the Hanes Comfort Fit Promise was unveiled in 2007 and that the Hanes Comfort Fit Promise blue seal is on select men's boxer briefs and undershirts, women's bras and underwear and on Shape to Fit Socks. "It is our first money-back guarantee," he says, adding that the message will be at the end of the TV spots, via voiceover, and is highly visible on the product packaging.