Sexy vs Pure, the dueling underwear brands of sports icons David Beckham and Tim Tebow

Sports figures have been appearing scantily-clad in underwear ads for decades.

Baseball legends Jim Palmer (seen above), Mike Riordan, Jamaal Wilkes, Pete Rose, and Steve Carlton all dropped trow for Jockey in the 1970's. And of course there is Michael Jordan's lengthy relationship with Hanes.

But you can't just put any sports star in a pair of underwear and expect he'll sell product.

Brands choose celebrity spokespeople who reflect the brand reputation they are trying to build--and base selctions on the brand chartacter of the spokesperson.

Take two recent campaigns.

David Beckham was the spokesperson for Emporio Armani. Armani is known for its sexy, European bent, and high-fashion. As is Beckham. The ads featured Beckam stripped down to the smallest of bikini underwear--showing more skin than cloth. The campaign was so popular, Beckham is now considering starting his own line of underwear.

 Then take Tim Tebow. He's known as a devote Christian, famous for his pro-life beliefs, his charity and missionary work, and for being "pure." He's recently signed with Jockey, but don't expect to see him in the same type of ads as Beckham. The first campaign has him covered up in a classic tee, and we expect he'd extoll the virtures of boxers over briefs. Apparently no tighty-whities for fans of Tebow this holiday season. But, like Beckham, Tebow has his fans, with one blogger reporting that:

The big Jockey ads featuring Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow were creating quite a sensation at Macy's yesterday. Some girls were making their boyfriends take pictures of them "with" the sous circumcisionist. Naturally, the Jesus freak doesn't even strip down to his tighty-whities -- let alone any Jim Palmer action -- which officially makes Tebow the most overpaid underwear model in history.

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