Martha the “Mop Lady” is coming back

  • 11/10/2010 2:25 pm in

Rejoice, everyone. The following release just popped into the ITH inbox:

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (November 10, 2010) – It’s often been said that history repeats itself. For fans of Hoosiers’ basketball and “Martha” that is a very good thing as Indiana Athletics and Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance announced today that after a 20-plus year hiatus, the original commercial spot featuring the beloved mop lady who sings the IU fight song while cleaning Assembly Hall makes a comeback this hoops season.

The irreplaceable, iconic spot will debut on Nov. 16 for the IU-Mississippi Valley State game, to be shown after the National Anthem and right before tip off – spiriting fans as it did in the 1970s through the late 80s.

IU Athletics’ new partner Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance took a tremendous interest in “Martha’s” return and decided to spearhead the effort with IU Athletics’ multimedia rights partner, Indiana University Sports Properties (IUSP).

“ ‘Martha,’ is one of the most iconic advertisements in the 76-year history of Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance,” said Thomas J. Faulconer, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance. “Not a day goes by we don’t hear questions about the spot and interestingly, people think we still use it. The nostalgic connection with the ad goes far beyond company branding and into the hearts of Hoosiers we serve. We’re eager to bring “Martha” back as our gift to Indiana University.”

“We were all just as thrilled to hear the vintage Martha spot was returning and appreciate Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance for recognizing what a special, unique affiliation she had to our Hoosier fans all those years,” said IU Director of Athletics Fred Glass. “Martha’s obvious passion for IU Basketball was infectious and led to a following that was like none other. No doubt our fans will be excited to know she’s coming back.”

In 1971 Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance became the sole sponsor of the Indiana University and Purdue University basketball games on WTTV-4. During the mid-1970s, the Indiana Legends ads, including the iconic “Martha” campaign was introduced and ran during the basketball games until it eventually was shown only on local networks during newscasts.

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  • Sirbri

    Will this help Zeller make his decision?

  • They’re re-instituting the bison, Martha’s coming back, we could get a highly-touted, well-educated, Indiana boy to come play basketball for us…

    When did Doc Brown take the Hoosiers back to 1985?

  • Does this mean we’ll be pining for a Ro*Tel renaissance in 30 years?

  • Old Sports Dude

    Martha is back and IU is too baby! She ought to be good for at least a couple more NCAA championships!

  • Anonymous

    Way to go Farm Bureau!!!!!!!!

  • BFowler

    I still go to you tube and watch the ad on game days. This singular ad said “game time” to me as a kid falling in love with the Hoosiers. Just after she got done Chuck Marlow would let you know how many people in Assembly Hall were watching Indiana get ready to take the floor. It gives me goosebumps and makes me feel like I did growing up with the Hoosiers games on my old 13″ Black and White TV. While it may seem old school and past its prime, it means tradition to me.

  • Sometimes to get back to where you once were, you literally have to go back to the way things once were. Fred Glass and CTC deserve a ton of credit for bringing back what makes Indiana Basketball, well, Indiana Basketball.

  • Druid

    Very happy to see Martha back. For those of us who have been watching IU basketball for 40+ years, this is great news. I concur with BFowler, it means tradition and it brings those goose bumps that have been missing for many years.

  • Glawton12

    They’re going forward with the bison thing? Could you put up a link for where you read that? I think it’s about time they went through with it already.

  • Anonymous


  • Mariner

    I wonder if modern day fans will get it. Sure you can tell its “old”, but are these sort of “Hoosier Values” spots meaningless to those born after ’87? I’ll sure be one happy old fart to see her sing “Indiana our Indiana “again.

  • Outoftheloop

    No Way- the cans are still good for 50 years. No need to get new ones!

  • marcusgresham

    I found the Martha video on Youtube last year just before the basketball season and shared it on my Facebook page. I was stunned how many of my friends watched it and commented.
    I feel like I’m nine years old again every time I see it.

    If only they could create a new version to play on the big screen of the Hall of the follow up to it when she ran into Coach Knight’s shoe and he said “Martha, you’re back,” at which time she’d said “So are you, Coach,” as he came strolling out onto the floor unannounced, the roof would come off the building!

  • millzy32

    This brings me back. Anyone remember this one?

    “Oscar where you been?” “Outside shootin’ baskets” “With that rusty old tin can?” “I got a surprise for ya” “A Basketball?!!!!”

    Love that old stuff.

  • I’m pretty sure this one was on the VHS of the movie Hoosiers:

  • Anonymous

    They may not get it at first, but by reincorporating it now, it will become a new tradition for a whole new generation (myself included!)

  • Anonymous

    I’m so glad that it appears they will be reairing the original spots instead of some updated version. I always got goosebumps when Martha finished singing.

  • Casey B.

    Last-ditch effort to land Cody? I heard when he was younger, he wanted to be a cleaning lady.

    This could be the determinant!!!

  • mrjonessodaandme

    I did not grow up on IU basketball (but in fact, hating everything Hoosier) but I was swayed quite easily to the tradition. And this was yet another thing that the first time I saw it, it kinda spoke of the old IU tradtion that I had spent time learning about and catching up on. So bring it on.

    The Hoosier tradtion is alive and well, and it sure as hell is the best tradtion around!

  • oldred1976

    AH the good old days,Martha, by the way the first one to call her that was Coach Knight before that she was just “the cleaning lady” there were historical spots from Farm Bureau like a young Oscar Robertson as Millzy32 pointed out. I found out the first train robbery took place in Indiana thru FB.One of my favorites was “Old Dan Patch” a trotter race horse that was said to have never lost a race! They also did one on Wes Montgomery a jazz guitarist form Indy back in the day.
    There were many, too bad someone didn’t save them all

  • oldred1976

    AH the good old days,Martha, by the way the first one to call her that was Coach Knight before that she was just “the cleaning lady” there were historical spots from Farm Bureau like a young Oscar Robertson as Millzy32 pointed out. I found out the first train robbery took place in Indiana thru FB.One of my favorites was “Old Dan Patch” a trotter race horse that was said to have never lost a race! They also did one on Wes Montgomery a jazz guitarist form Indy back in the day.
    There were many, too bad someone didn’t save them all

  • Idk where there would be a link to it, but there’s bison on our Crimson Guard shirts and they used the bison in the football intro video.

  • N71

    It’s a cold February night in 1981 and I’m a little boy sitting down infront of the TV with my day, a bowl of popcorn, and a fire in the fireplace. He and I don’t get along very well but when Martha comes on and the promise of another great Indiana game sets in we’re a close as can be for the next couple hours. This is one of the most important memories I have in my life. Thank you for bringing it back and I hope to share the tradition with my son.

  • CutterInChicago

    Reminds me of watching the IU games with my mother and grandfather (both were rabid Hoosier fans) and that is a fine, fine memory.
    Go Hoosiers.

  • Anonymous

    We need Huey Lewis and the News at one of the games this year to perform “Back in Time” (theme song from Back to the Future). For you younin’s out there, Back to the Future was a movie in the 80’s about a…well…nevermind.

  • Onceafink

    This is exciting news! What a great way to start the 10-11 season. Hope the reruns put some new shine on our team.

  • Joshuahaltom

    If we have the mop lady, seriously, do we still need Zeller…I think not

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s a gradual phase-in. The football intro and the Crimson Guard t-shirts being the first part of that.

  • UncleKerfuffle


    I think it says even more than that. A institution like IFBI sees what CTC is doing as a positive and wants to be part of it. I think it may well be a vote of confidence for the program.

    Maybe I am reading too much into it. Martha is iconic in the history of IU basketball and the resurgence of the program and the commercial are likely to bring back the warm fuzzy feelings that many of us had on cold winter nights when we snuggled up in front of the television and sang along with her as we got ready to hear Diamond Chuck and rooted for our beloved Hoosiers. IFBI is no dummy they are banking on that good feeling being transferred to them–smart business decision.

  • “It’s coming back”, we know now that Crean’s it was. 😛

  • Anonymous

    Will the clip be played at the game on the big screen or on the TV before the game?

  • oldmanfan

    And I feel like I’m 40 again. B- )

  • At the games.

  • HoosierDavey

    Oh yeah, I had the 13″ b & w in my room with IU games on, too. I miss when the bass player in the IU band would play “Another One Bites the Dust” at the end of the game, too. Good times, good times!

  • Valpo82


  • MikeinNC


  • Man this brings back memories. I remember watching it with my dad and lil bro. Being able to share this with my son now is great news.I missed this!

  • Jack in Seattle

    I remember that one well! Loved those old ads. You could tell the game was on by the commercials.

  • Anonymous

    I smell Tom Crean’s hands all over this behind the scenes.

    Martha, still yet another big time recruit get for him. I think we can all rest assured that top talent will be in free flow in the coming years and maybe more important than that is that Crean, ” gets it “.

  • Anonymous

    I believe the tagline was, “Oscar Robertson–an Indiana legend”

  • Anonymous

    Not sure if anyone else remembers the story behind Martha, but she was a vocal student in the IU School of Music, but since she was older she looked the part.

  • RJG

    My step-dad, who is as much a father to me as my biological father, introduced me to Hoosier Basketball when I was probably six or seven. He is a pretty serious guy who doesn’t listen to music and would never sing along if he did, but I can still remember him humming along and singing with Martha at the start of the IU ball games. One of my proudest moments was a couple of years ago when I got to take him, along with my two sons, to see the Hoosiers play in Assembly Hall. For me, Hoosier Basketball has always been more about bonding with my Dad, and now my boys, than anything else and this old tradition is a huge part of that.

  • Melissa M.

    Hi – I’m advertising manager for Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance. The clip will be played in Assembly Hall on the big screen between the National Anthem and tip off.

  • Hestcm01

    Yes! Hoosier Legends brought to you by Farm Bureau insurance.

  • Hestcm01

    Can “Indiana Legends brought to you by Farm Bureau Insurance” be far behind? Every time some knucklehead in my neck of the woods lands on the news, I crack to my wife: “Another Indiana Legend…” It’s my favorite joke that no one gets anymore.

    Rejected “Indiana Legends:” Axl Rose, Michael Jackson, Rev. Jim Jones, Charlie Manson…

  • Pandora

    Martha wasn’t an IU student – she is an actress/singer from Chicago.

  • Hoosierinky

    I know she was a legendary opera singer but help me recall her name, please.

  • Tom

    does anyone have a link to that AMEX coal spot of the kid shooting hoops outside when dark comes and dad turns on the outside light? that one was a classic too.