Well, here’s Part III of my list of classic advertising characters. Did you miss the first two parts? Well never fear, here they are:
I came up with a few more characters I could possibly add to this list but I will leave this article at an odd three parts for right now.
Let’s begin, shall we?
Herb – I remember Herb, or “Herb the Nerd”, being all over the place in the mid-’80s. Herb was created as a gimmick for Burger King in 1985. He was supposed to be a guy who had never eaten a Whopper. An actor portrayed him and would show up at random Burger Kings throughout the country. If someone recognized him, they would get a prize. The contest was called “Where’s Herb” and they ran the commercials incessantly in 1985. I thought it was a pretty popular ad, but looking up info on the interweb, I see that it is widely considered one of the biggest advertising flops of all time. He was subsequently retired in 1986. Click here for one of the Herb commercials.
Hostess Cake Characters – I love Hostess’ products. The Twinkie, Cup Cakes, Fruit Pies, Ding Dongs, etc, etc. They are delicious little treats I’ve enjoyed since I was a kid. For the longest time, Hostess had mascots for every single one of it’s products. Like McDonald’s characters, each mascot represented one of their pastries or cakes. Does it get any better than anthropomorphic pastries that can walk and talk? I didn’t think so. The ring leader of these sugary characters was Twinkie the Kid. Second from the left in the picture above, Twinkie the Kid was a regular twinkie dressed as a cowboy. Click here for an animated Twinkie the Kid commercial. The other characters you can see in the pic above are (left to right); Captain Cupcake, Twinkie the Kid, Happy Ho Ho and Fruit Pie the Magician. There are three other mascots not shown in the pic above. The first two are King Dong (Ding-Dongs) and Chauncey Choco-dile (Choco-diles). The final and least known is called Soul Bro and he was the chocolate version of Twinkie the Kid (yes, I’m serious). Click here to see a commercial for Ding-Dongs with King Dong. Click here for a commercial with Fruit Pie the Magician. Other than the picture in the link above, I could not find any commercials or other pictures of Soul Bro. I found the Hostess mascots fun, and I think my favorite was Fruit Pie the Magician because I have a soft spot for pastries that do illusions. I wonder why more companies don’t assign mascots for every product they release? Billy Budlight, anyone?
Mr. Whipple – Old school. One of the original gangstas of product endorsement. That’s pretty much all you can say about Mr. Whipple here. Oh, and maybe sick old man. He was an old guy who worked in a grocery store following ladies around telling them to stop “squeezing the Charmin”. The Whipple commercials started in 1964 and didn’t stop until 1984. Mr. Whipple did return in 1999 for a throwback commercial. That’s a lot of toilet paper commercials. Charmin lived off these commercials as they were very popular. In a 1970s survey, Mr. Whipple here bested then president Jimmy Carter as the most recognizable man in America. Click here for one of Mr. Whipple’s commercials.
Justin Wilson – I actually thought Mr. Wilson here was created by Ruffles to sell their Cajun Spice flavored chips (now retired). However, he is actually a famous TV chef. He has numerous cajun cooking books and a tv show. His signature made-up cajun word was “Wonder-mous!”. He also liked to say things were “Gooo-oooo-ooood!” I enjoyed his commercials, and I swear that Ruffles used him for a few of their other flavors after his Cajun Spice spots became popular, but I could be wrong. Click here for one of Justin’s Cajun Spice commercials.
Well, that concludes this trilogy of classic commercial characters. Hope you enjoyed the list. Like I said earlier, I have a few more I could possibly add, but I’ll save that for another time. Hope this was a pleasant trip down memory lane for some of you. I had fun doing the research.
Keep watching your TV as you may be watching tomorrow’s classic advertising characters today.