and men's novelty boxer champ Joe Boxer recently launched an
advertising campaign announcing a partnership that brings an
exclusive assortment of clothes and home furnishings to the
What people really want to know
is: Who is that guy in the TV commercial? No man in tightie whities -
with the six-pack of D'Angelo - has looked as goofy and sexy boogying
to bossa nova.
Well, his name is Vaughn Lowery
and he made up the um, moves, himself.
"He just pulled down his
pants and started dancing," said Dave Karraker, director of
marketing and communications at Kmart's San Francisco office.
Thing is, nobody at the Los
Angeles audition told him to take off his pants and dance. They
didn't have to. Nearly three years of runway work in the U.S. and
South Africa has made stripping down to his skivvies in front of a
crowd easy. "Vaughn exhibited personality right out the
gate," Karraker said of the 22-year-old professional model and
actor from Kmart's hometown of Detroit. "Everyone was shocked
Then they got over it, quit their
laughing and rolled tape to capture the dance now known as the
"Boxer Boogie." It's part kangaroo boxing, part jumping
rope, part Rocky fists-in-the-air victory dance. Lowery pairs the jaw-dropping
combination of quirky choreography with crazy facial expressions
most would perform only at home. Alone.
The performance, inspired by the
urge to dance in front of a mirror to snappy music while clad in
underwear, has left viewers hysterical and company reps scrambling to
keep up with the demand for a guy more sought after than the Dell
dude. "It feels so surreal," said the Cornell University
grad, who has a degree in industrial and labor relations, via
telephone from his Los Angeles apartment last week. "I never
thought everybody would embrace it like they did." Especially,
he said, when his first thought after doing the dance was, "What
did I just do?"
The commercial is actually one of
five produced by the New York City-based TBWA/Chiat Day firm. But
since Lowery's 15- and 30-second versions started running July 28, he
has made several TV appearances including CBS' "The Early
Show" and NBC's "The Tonight Show." He even stopped by
the Big Apple's famed Apollo Theater, home of TV's "Showtime at
the Apollo," to do his dance during a pre-show.
"Boxer Boogie" fever
also hit cyberspace, where Kmart created a special site
ftp://ftp2.bluelight.com/ with a free download of the commercial.
More than 3,000 have downloaded as of last week.
When they're not downloading the
spot, TV-commercial lovers are voting it to the Top 10 list on http://ads.com/.
Others have flooded the inboxes
of Kmart at http://www.kmart.com/, Joe Boxer at
http://www.joeboxer.com/ and Lowery's Web site at
http://www.aboutvaughn.com/ with hundreds of fan e-mails. The
authors, whom Lowery writes back, are a mix of age groups and genders
but not all want his number. Many simply say he made their day.
"Being a male model, we tend to be a little too serious"
and focus on being sexy, said Lowery, who opted to do the opposite
during his audition. "I figured, 'OK. Let's just have fun.'"
Fun is a staple for Joe Boxer,
whose CUO is known as the Chief Underpants Officer and its signature
item is a pair of smiley-faced licky boxer shorts. Still, it's the
company's line of white boxers and briefs that are its "bread
and butter." That's why, in the commercial, Lowery is wearing
tightie whities with the Joe Boxer logo on the waistband, not the
trademark boxers, said Colette Sipperly, vice president of PR and
marketing for Windsong Allegiance Group, Joe Boxer's parent company
Fun is also something that's been
in short supply at Kmart since it recently filed for bankruptcy. Reps
from both companies said their partnership was struck last year, long
before the financial problems came to light. Sipperly, however, said
the Chapter 11 filing has "not made a blip" of difference
because Kmart is still holding up its end of the deal. Sales haven't
been hurt either. More than 1 million Joe Boxer products, packing
about a $20 million punch, have sold each week. Karraker said the
commercial, which some company reps found too racy, is "one of
the very few 'feel-goods' it has right now"
For Lowery, a man with at least
four other national commercials to his credit, the
"feel-goods" from this one are many. The TV and movie
offers are rolling in and there's talk of him becoming a VJ.
Together, they make for an ongoing out-of-body experience the
youngest of five keeps in perspective with the help of loved ones.
"If I have their affirmation, that's all that counts," he said.
And what did his mother say?
"'You're so crazy!'"