Over the years, Denver has generated a wide variety of memorable television commercials. But until recent years, spots tended to live on only in memory -- like the Tree Farm jingle ("Take I-25 to exit 235, and five miles west to the Tree Farm") that was impossible to forget no matter how hard viewers may have tried.
Now, however, YouTube is a treasure trove of old and new Denver ads.
Look below to see our ten favorites.
Number 10: Law Tigers
Nothing like an attorneys office with its own mascot. While most lawyers take the easy route and brand their firms with people's last names, the Law Tigers have successfully given a face to motorcycle injury specialists. Contrary to the popular belief that "bikers" are a rough and tumble sort, the Law Tigers portray them as no different from you and me. Needless to say, these Colorado injury lawyers ride -- and they have your back.
Number 9: Frank Azar, The Strong Arm
Azar's nickname is the sort of thing usually reserved for WWE Wrestlers, not lawyers. This 2012 commercial stresses that Azar isn't the sort of guy who'll let "the big insurance companies push him around" and encourages anyone in trouble to "call in the attorney with the bat." Don't let his intimidating appearance fool you. Think of him as a big teddy bear attorney with a pencil-thin mustache that says "I get people what they deserve -- but I also like to party."
Number 8: John Elway Dealerships
After John Elway won two Broncos Super Bowls, and before he became part of team management, he focused on what most retired football stars do -- selling new and used cars. No one can forget theGhostbusters
-inspired chant, "Who you gonna call?!? JOHN ELWAY!" While watching these ads, most people weren't wondering about whether Elway would come out of retirement or his conservative political views. Instead, they were thinking, "If John Elway drives a 2002 Chevy Silverado, I want to drive a 2002 Chevy Silverado." That's winning the hearts and minds of Denverites one used or pre-owned vehicle at a time.
Continue to see more memorable Denver commercials. Number 7: Freedom Pipe and Tobacco
The "Dos Equis The Most Interesting Man in the World" commercials enjoy the privilege (?) of inspiring this spin-off by Freedom Pipe and Tobacco. However, the middle-aged man in the Freedom ad wears a cheap gray wig and suit, and his impact on others is more modest: "His charm is so contagious, woman buy him glass" and "Police often question him because they think he is interesting," for example. Our man of mystery has a very random collection of accents that ranges from Italian to Latino, and while he doesn't always buy pipes or tobacco, he goes to Freedom when he does. He adds, "Stay smoking, my friends."
Number 6: American Furniture Warehouse
Jake Jabs's persona is so kindhearted and warm that he seems like the kind of man who would save a spider from being run over while crossing the road. He has the ability to melt the coldest person. When I was younger, I begged my parents to take me to American Furniture Warehouse, so I could see the tigers and meet Jake. He must have had the same effect on Trey Parker and Matt Stone, since these onetime Coloradans have featured him in aSouth Park
Number 5: Mattress King
These ads have been on Denver TV for so long that plenty of kids have grown up with the Mattress King's spokes-boy turned spokes-teen. Despite his lack of acting ability, he has an intense manner of speaking in front of looping green-screen backgrounds that still produces smiles. Still, his best move is when he moves his arm from the back of his hips, spinning upward to his head before stopping it at a 90-degree angle and extending his index finger as he declares, "Nobody beats the king. NOBODY!"
Continue to see more memorable Denver commercials. Number 4: 9News promos
Local TV stations have the challenging task of reporting the news as it happens, and teasing the public into watching its newscast -- and 9News does it better than anyone. Denver viewers have grown to expect Adele Arakawa to pop up on their screen during breaks in network programming to say things like, "It's the largest threat you and your family will ever face, and it is probably in your house right now waiting to kill you -- tonight at 10."
Number 3: Dealin' Doug
Dealin' Doug may get more face-time on Denver television than any other single person. And even though he pays for the privilege (and has been doing so since 1980), he carries himself with a certain charm, set off by perfectly manicured hair. In his opinion, the customer is always right, and he shares this message whether he's dressed as George Washington, Abe Lincoln or the tights-flashing "Super D Man." Talk about a local hero.
Number 2: Natural Grocers By Vitamin Cottage
If you're a fan of fake, forced emotions, you'll love Vitamin Cottage commercials. The main spokeswoman has grin that stretches from ear to ear, but her eyes say, "Help me!" She often dances around, presumably to seem more laid back or hip, but she seems more in desperate need of a bathroom break. And the younger people in the commercials come across as even more uncomfortable, as if appearing on-camera is punishment. Last year, the company released the "Health Crusader" ad, depicting two superheroes who vow to bring patrons affordable prices, great customer service and no artificial additives. But they probably won't be much help if you're being robbed.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Number 1: Lodge Casino
There's no weekend getaway like driving up to beautiful Black Hawk and watching elderly people blow their retirement money on slot machines. Not that Lodge Casino commercials focus on that. They tend to feature people holding large amounts of cash, all to encourage viewers to wonder what they'll spend all of it on. Maybe the excitement of winning will distract from them from realizing that, well, they're spending their weekend in Black Hawk. It's your first choice for fun, after every other choice has been used up.