The Incredible Hulk ran on CBS from 1978 to 1982, during that time the titular green goliath struggled to find his way in a world that misunderstood and feared him. Bill Bixby played Dr. David Banner, a brilliant scientist whose exposure to Gamma Rays made him transform into his destructive alter ego (played with fantastic Hulk Smashness by Lou Ferrigno). An early multi-media success for Marvel Comics, the series helped lay the groundwork for the superhero-driven pop culture landscape we currently enjoy today.
Still, a nagging question from the show remains: What pants could possibly fit both Banner and the Hulk? This commercial for Brazil’s Santista Jeanswear from 1982 that features both Bixby and Ferrigno reprising their most iconic roles presents a deliriously goofy answer to that question. It also illustrates that while U.S. audiences may have cooled on The Incredible Hulk in the early ’80s, the show was still huge in foreign markets. So much so that a print ad campaign ran in conjunction with the airing of this commercial. Take a look:
As for Santista, it is worth mentioning that they had previously run a campaign based on the Popeye movie, and a few years later they would again attempt to use a sci-fi spokesperson in their infamous Robocop Jeans commercial, which we have previously featured on MovieFanFare. It seems they never met a pop culture character they couldn’t attempt to use to pitch their products. And I for one am eternally grateful for this.
I’m not sure how effective the above ad was, but I know this: It sure makes me want to do some damage to my credit card and get some new denims.
This article originally ran last year and is being reprinted as part of our tenth anniversary celebrations.