Archive for November, 2007

Classic Advertising Characters Part III

Posted in advertising, pop culture, TV with tags , , on November 30, 2007 by Paxton

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:

Part I
Part II

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.

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Pomegranate 7-Up in my BELLY!!!

Posted in reviews, soda with tags , , on November 27, 2007 by Paxton


BOO-YA!!!!!!! I found it.

Pomegranate 7-up

It finally showed up at my local supermarket. To say I was as excited as a 9 year old girl about her new Hanna Montana notebook would be an understatement.

It’s good. Try it, you will not be disappointed. And I love the Christmas-y colors and designs on the label.


Classic Advertising Characters Part II

Posted in advertising, pop culture, TV with tags , , on November 21, 2007 by Paxton

Hello kids, and Happy Thanksgiving Week to all of you. I have another set of classic advertising icons for your perusal. Remember, these are characters that have since been retired, so you won’t see the Brawny lumberjack, Jolly Green Giant or Mr. Clean. I’m trying to focus on characters you really don’t see anymore. Since, by the title of this article, you see Part II at the end, there must have been a Part I, correct? Well, my friend, you would be correct. If you missed it, click here for Part I. Otherwise, continue below for 5 more classic advertising characters.

Cookie Jarvis – Many people may not remember Cookie Jarvis, or maybe you didn’t realize he had a name. But the wizard mascot who adorned boxes of Cookie Crisp in the ’70s – ’80s will always have a place in my nostalgic memories. I remember him so fondly because Cookie Crisp was one of my favorite cereals when I was a kid. It makes me think of early morning breakfasts with my brother and dad before school. Our favorite flavor was the Vanilla Cookie Crisp (see pic on left). Unfortunately this flavor was retired many years ago, along with Mr. Jarvis. He also had some cool commercials where he’d perform magic using his magic wand topped with a chocolate chip cookie. Pretty awesome if you ask me. To see Cookie Jarvis in action…click here.

The Noid – Who doesn’t remember being told to “Avoid the Noid” in the ’80s? He was a very popular character for Domino’s throughout the ’80s. This menacing little imp was the homicidal scourge of pizzas everywhere. He would try to ruin any pizza he came across, yet when he came upon a Domino’s pizza, he’s was thwarted, mostly by his own pizza destroying inventions. Yes, the Noid was Wile E Coyote to Domino’s Pizza’s Road Runner. I enjoyed the little character, however he was getting a little old by the time they phased him out. He had shown up on t-shirts, tv shows, toy shelves and two different video games. As a matter of fact, even today, the Simpsons and Family Guy love to use the image of the Noid in various on screen jokes. Click here to see one of the Noid’s commercials. Did you know, in 1989, a guy named Kenneth Lamar Noid thought the commercials were a direct personal attack on him, so he held several employees hostage in an Atlanta Domino’s Pizza place for over five hours? He eventually surrendered to the police and was ruled insane at his trial (he was crazy? Really?).

Louie the Lightning Bug – This one toes the line of being an advertising character. He was actually the star of several PSAs that were sponsored by local power companies. But you could say he “advertised” safety around electricity (yeah, I’m stretching, I know). Developed by the same people who did School House Rock, Louie was also voiced by the same guy who did a lot of the School House Rock characters, including “I’m Just a Bill”. The songs Louie performed in his commercials were catchy and I really enjoyed it when they came on. The pervailing theme in all of his songs was, “You Gotta Play it Safe Around Electricity”. I still can sing some of the songs. Click here to see my favorite Louie the Lightning Bug commercial.

Burger Kingdom – Did you know in the mid-’70s that Burger King created a group of characters to represent their menu items a la the McDonaldLand characters? Members of the Burger Kingdom included three allies for The King. Sir Shakes-A-Lot was addicted to milkshakes and had body armor made from BK cups. Burger Thing was a huge hamburger in what looked like a 3-D picture frame that loved to sing (Wha-?!). The third friend of The King was the Wizard of Fries who was a robot powered by french fries who can “multi-fry”, or clone french fries into more fries. Other than these three friends, Burger King had one arch nemesis named Duke of Doubt. He was a non-believer in the magic of the Burger King. Strange and unusual, and not as well developed as the McDonaldLand characters, they were not-surprisingly phased out by the mid-’80s. Click here to see a commercial with Sir Shakes-A-Lot.

Toothpaste Kid and the Cavity Creeps – It’s hard to believe that this came out in the mid-’70s. Crest’s superhero kids battling rock-like villains was wildly popular. Check out this uber-cool commercial here. The Marvel-esque style of the animation and the Hulk-like Cavity Creeps make for a very compelling commercial. Not surprisingly, the visuals were developed by a former Marvel Comics artist. Also not surprisingly, this campaign included a comic book. It was so popular it continued to air into the ’80s. Most of us remember mainly the Cavity Creeps yelling “WE PUT HOLES IN TEETH!” and then the Toothpaste Kid and crew would hose them down with a blue glowing substance we have to assume is toothpaste and not anti-freeze. And how about that fortress in the shape of teeth? So awesome. Very well developed commercial that still resonates with people who were kids when it aired.

So, there’s Group 2. What do you guys think? Well, I thought of at least a few more of these guys, so a Group 3 is in the works as I write this.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

UPDATE! – Click here for Part III of this article.

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Classic Advertising Characters Part I

Posted in advertising, pop culture, TV with tags , , on November 15, 2007 by Paxton

Oh, what companies won’t do to get us to spend a buck. Hot chicks, funny characters, crazy catch phrases; it all adds up to brainwashing us into buying the latest product from whatever company is shilling to us at the time. How many of you haven’t answered a telephone “WAAAASAAAAAAP?!” or told the person next to you, “I love you, man”? Commercials are ingrained into our pop culture. As a consequence, some of the crazy characters that star in these commercials are also ingrained into our consciousness. We laugh at them, we quote them, we eventually make fun of them, then find a new favorite and start the cycle all over again.

I was thinking of a few commercials the other day that I loved when I was a kid and this article was born from that train of thought. I initially came up with about eight advertising characters I loved (and then a few more while writing this) and decided to split this article into two parts. You’ll get the first group today, and maybe the rest next week. Seeing as next week is Turkey Week, it’s a crap shoot whether I get it finished.

So without further ado, here are some of my favorite forgotten advertising characters. I’m focusing mostly on retired characters, so you won’t see Jolly Green Giant, Mr. Clean or the Brawny lumberjack on here because they are still in active use. If I’ve not mentioned one of your favorites, let me have it in the comments!

Swedish Bikini Team (SBT) – In 1991 Old Milwaukee invented the idea of a team of “Swedish” beauties whose primary talent was wearing bikinis. Suprisingly, the Nobel committee ignored this achievement (probably too visionary an idea). Not quite suprisingly, all of the team members were actually American models wearing platinum blond wigs. The idea was funny and the commercials were clever and ran for a year or two. The SBT even started making appearances outside of their commercials in tv shows, videos and an issue of Playboy magazine. I thought that this team was defunct because they are no longer in any commercials, however they still have an official website and make appearances, but I don’t think they are still affiliated with Old Milwaukee. You can see one of their commercials here. Even today, the idea of a team of bikini wearing models set to improve the lives of men by delivering cold beer brings a tear to my eye.

Frito Bandito – From 1967 to 1971 the Frito Bandito, a wonderful kaleidescope of generic Mexican stereotypes, was the animated spokesman for Frito Corn Chips. Interestingly, he was animated by none other than Tex Avery (One of the original Warner Bros animators) and voiced by the great Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck). The character was very similar to another Blanc creation, Speedy Gonzales. The Bandito became popular enough that it would eventually lead to lawsuits by the National Mexican-American Defamation League which, in turn, led to his final retirement. You can see an early Frito Bandito commercial here. He was later followed by the talking Corn Chip Chimichanga (just kidding).

Fruit Brute/Yummy Mummy – I mentioned these cereals in my last Halloween article. Fruit Brute the werewolf was introduced in 1975 and discontinued in 1983. Yummy Mummy was introduced in 1988 and then discontinued in 1993. You can still see these characters pop up in merchandise including bobble head dolls and resin kits.

Ernest P. Worrell – The character of Ernest P. Worrell (as portrayed by Jim Varney) was created by the ad agency Carden & Cherry and first used in a commercial in 1980 for an amusement park called Beech Bend Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Ernest was a country-bumpkin type charater supposedly modeled after Andy Griffith’s Ernest T. Bass. Ernest would show up in local commercials over the next several years before landing a national sponser with Sprite in the ’90s. Ernest also starred in his own series of movies to mixed critical acclaim (Ernest Saves Christmas is easily the funniest one). In 2000, Jim Varney died of lung cancer while in post-production on the movie Ernest the Pirate (which has remained unreleased). Check out one of Ernest’s Sprite commercials here.

Jacko – Jacko was an Australian football player who, after retirement, became a singing sensation (wha-?) in his native Australia. Despite being completely unknown to American audiences, Energizer hired him as a spokesman. The commercials became extremely popular as they showed an animated Jacko yelling “NEW ENTERGIZER, IT’LL SURPRISE YA!!” then punctuating it with a loud “OY!” which became his catchphrase. I personally liked these commercials and couldn’t get his Australian accent yelling his dialogue at the people next to him out of my head. I still can’t. Check out one of his commercials and see if you can get it out…short of putting a bullet in your brain.

Well, there you have the first group of classic advertising characters. You should remember most of those, and you may have been reminded of a favorite long forgotten. I have a second group of these guys set to go as soon as I can compile the information. Look for that early next week, I hope.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Update: Click here for Part II of this list

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After Halloween Retail Roundup

Posted in Christmas, food, holiday, Pepsi, soda with tags , , on November 9, 2007 by Paxton

Well, it’s Friday. I thought I’d do a quick round up of stuff I’ve been seeing in the stores on my more recent trips to the local grocer (you know I always find cool stuff).

Man, I have been finding Xmas stuff all over the stores which is weird because Halloween has only been over for a week and Thanksgiving is 2 weeks away. As a matter of fact, I found some of the below Christmas branded holiday items one or even two days before Halloween last week. Shows just how little the big retail chains really care about Thanksgiving. Here are some of the early holiday offerings you can find as of last week.

FruitcakesHoliday fruitcake. Yes, it’s that time once again for supermarkets to foist this holiday abomination on an American public that never really wants it in the first place. Seriously, who eats this crap? As far as I know, it’s only given away as gifts to other people. Then re-gifted again to more people. If no one wants it or eats it, why are people apparently buying it? Stores keep selling it, so people must be buying it, right?. And why is it called fruitcake? It’s not cake. It’s not fruit. It’s like eating silly putty mixed with colored pieces of plastic. Who is buying this stuff to warrant stores putting it out every year? It’s like the Bermuda Triangle or Sasquatch. We may never know the real answer.

GrappleThis isn’t a Christmas item per se, and I may be behind the times, but I found these for the first time this week. Grapples. I know you want to say Grapple with a short a, but it’s pronounced Grape-L, with a long a, as in Grapes. The idea is that it’s an apple that tastes like a grape. Interesting idea, but my thoughts are that if I wanted grapes, I would have bought grapes. I can’t remember ever thinking, “Man, I really want grapes, but they are way too small to eat, dude. I want one giant grape the size of an apple.” I’ve never said that, even when I was high. Oh, and they are EXPENSIVE. Seriously. So, don’t waste your money. They don’t taste like grapes. Oh, they’ll try to lure you in with a siren song of grape smelling goodness, but it’s an empty promise that leads to nothing but disappointment and despair as they taste like apples. You’re essentially eating an apple bathed in grape flavored deodorant. But I’m not bitter about it or anything.

Sierra Mist CranberryCanada Dry CranberryHey, it’s the holidays, it’s time for soda companies to start mixing cranberries into all of their sodas to give them that Santa-red color that leaves you feeling tingly and safe inside like an old blanket. Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash shows up again this year after debuting at Christmas time last year. And he’s brought his brother, Sierra Mist Free. I don’t believe Sierra Mist Free recevied the Cranberry baptism last year, but I’m glad I found it this year. It’s REALLY good. I wish this was available all year. I still have half of a 12 pack of regular Sierra Mist Cranberry from last year. I’ve been savoring it in case they didn’t bring it back this year. Canada Dry also released their Cranberry Ginger Ale again. This can be found year-round in some places, but only in limited quantities. This is another good soda that really tastes good as a mixer. Seriously, try mixing in some Vodka or Hanger 1 Mandarin Blossom with these, especially the Sierra Mist. It will make your bells jingle and your Kris……kringle (haha, that was awesome).

7-Up PomegranateOMG, I found out about this a week or two ago. I have been trying to find it ever since. Pomegranate infused 7-Up. How heavenly does that sound? And look how Christmas-y the logo is! Oh man, I’ll be stalking my local supermarkets waiting for this to show up. Me want Pomegranate 7-Up.

Pop Rocks Candy CaneCandy Cane Pop Rocks, my friends. Not bad, not great, but not bad. it’s really just crunched up candy cane dust with some of the trademark pop rock crackle. I was slightly disappointed. Maybe I’ll save a pouch of this and dump it in a warm can of 7-Up Pomegranate and chug it. Then we’ll have a party……

Rudolph dollsYes, it’s that time of year for companies to whore out the license for the old-school stop motion puppet movie, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Check out the elf that wanted to be a dentist, Yukon Cornelius, and the giant snow monster. You see these every year, kinda makes me sad how my childhood memories are bought and sold to the sweaty masses for peanuts. PEANUTS, PEOPLE!!!!

This is some of the stuff that’s showing up early in stores for the Christmas season, despite the fact that Thanksgiving is 2 weeks away. Other things I’m anticipating include Christmas Crunch by Cap’n Crunch, Peppermint Stick ice cream by Edy’s and the apple spice cupcakes that Hostess sells every holiday season.

Supermarket shopping during the holiday season is so much fun, man!

Bon Apetit!

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