Best Provocative Ad (1999)
Don Bailey Carpets Sign
Roughly a quarter-century ago, Burt Reynolds posed nude in Cosmopolitan magazine, and driving the streets of South Florida has never been the same. Don Bailey, an obscure carpet-store owner at the time, was impressed by the fact that Burt's bare bod caused the magazine to sell out in record time. So in an effort to drum up business, Bailey got in his skivvies, laid down on one of his carpets, put on a suggestive smile, and posed while his brother painted. The end product has been immortalized on signs throughout South Florida, most visibly on Broward Boulevard. Bailey, who is now 65 years old but was just 40 when he struck his pose, tells us that the sign immediately had people "swarming" into his stores. It's certainly eye-catching. The gut reaction is confusion, as in, "What the hell is that?" Don's frank sexuality is unsettling to some. And the fact that his painted image slightly resembles a pasty version of Hugh Beaumont from Leave It to Beaver makes it no less, well, creepy. But let's face it: If that were a woman lying there, nobody'd think twice. Like Burt's centerfold, Don has broken into uncharted sexual territory, and it's just as strange today as it was 25 years ago.