Section One

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Milk/What a Surprise!
Pete Sampras
Annie Leibovitz, 1995

Tennis star Pete Sampras, the number-one-ranked world champion from 1993 to 1998—and eventual seven-time Wimbledon winner—was a fan of the milk mustache ads and volunteered to be a celebrity subject. The famous campaign was launched in 1995 to boost sales by advertising the health benefits of adults drinking milk.

From the beginning, the advertising agency used humor to convey its educational message. The photographs by Annie Leibovitz combined sexy bodies with silly faces and conflated notions of childhood (sloppy milk drinking), adulthood (facial hair), and old age (white muscache). The goofy pictures of popular culture stars proved an instant hit, generating publicity, awards, and parodies.

The Sampras poster emphasized his superb physique and quirky habit of tossing a towel over his head between sets. But it says more about 1990s celebrity and its commercial potential than about Sampras’s actual prowess on the courts.