Old TV mascots creepy


Karl Terry

Since the latter part of the 19th century brand mascots have been a staple in advertising for companies large and small. Sometimes there use has verged on the creepy and things don’t

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always go the company way.

For instance, Taco Bell is well past its Chihuahua spokesperson and has co-opted brand mascot leader Ronald McDonald of McDonald’s into service to debut its new breakfast.

Well, they couldn’t quite use the actual image or character Ronald McDonald so they found a bunch of guys actually named Ronald McDonald to eat Taco Bell’s breakfast items and tell the audience that Ronald McDonald quiero waffle breakfast tacos or whatever they are planning to serve.

Many people are creeped out by friendly face of Ronald McDonald, but if they think he’s weird now they should have seen the original Ronald portrayed by weatherman Willard Scott. The advertising guy that put that outfit together was on one heck of a bender when that idea popped up.

For me the creepiest pitch character has to belong to Burger King. When I see the King I immediately think pedophile.

The Green Giant was also pretty darn scary. I know he was only watching over the veggies in the Green Valley, but with him breathing down my collar every time I turned on the TV I darn sure ate all my vegetables.

I always thought the Quaker Oats guy was pretty cool staring out at me from that cardboard canister. His smile and cherubic cheeks made you wonder what he was smiling at kinda like the Mona Lisa. Obesity worries recently have put Quaker guy on a diet and his thinner face just doesn’t seem as friendly.

The Michelin Man is probably the most well known automotive mascot characters but he looks so strange that people totally miss the point that he was created from stacks of tires for arms, legs and body. The mascot these days is white and muscular looking and appears like he might have mutated from the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (a creepy dude on his own).

Mr. Clean and the Pillsbury Dough Boy; neither one would be on my short list if I was hiring a pitch man. I never could get past that darned earring of Mr. Clean’s and the idea that somebody has to poke the mascot in the belly each commercial to hear his silly laugh is weird and gets old quick.

A cigarette smoking cartoon camel called Joe Camel and a dog called Spuds Mackenzie did what they were supposed to do — build the brand — but both were charged with building it on the backs of children when they quickly became very recognizable to youngsters. Cartoon camels and really cute dogs apparently sell cigarettes and beer.

If you wish to get in touch with me to tell me about your creepiest brand mascots you’ll find me on the cereal aisle talking to Tony the Tiger.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

[email protected]


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