After news of Chuck E. Cheese's mascot changing from a shredding skateboarder cartoon mouse to a slim rocking rodent, I found Time Magazine's recap of the Creepiest Advertising Mascots Ever particularly appropriate.
As previously mentioned within , mascots and advertising icons are a superb way to embody a brand without relying on an unreliable celebrity to act up or cause a PR nightmere. But when the initial or subsequently revitalized mascot is a terrible representation of the brand -- there's got to be a quick way to get rid of the evidence. Removal may be a result of consumer persecution but at least there is no risk of criminal prosecution. A few of my selects from the Time.com list center around (no surprise) fast food giants:
Burger King's King -- also not a cartoon version but the jumbo plastic headed king that made his way into a number of live action commercials in the early 2000's. That's when Burger King was looking for breakthrough ads from Crispin Porter & Bogusky and the crazier, the better.
The Domino's Noid -- red, bunny-eared but far from cute, this cartoon and indistinguishable as a character (What is it? A nerd? A void? ) was to be "avoided" when you wanted Domino's pizza. He's acknowledged for being the star in a video game developed for Commodore 64 and IBM PC (who's feeling old now?) but I honestly thought it not only had its own commercials but a 30-minute Saturday morning cartoon show. I must be mistaking it for some other indistinguishable character hawking fast food.
Speaking of fast food: Jack of Jack-In-The-Box, the first Ronald McDonald and the cartoon McD's Hamburglar. On the scary scale Jack's kind of strange, Mickey D was in trouble the minute they fit Ronald into a paper cup nose and paper tray hat and the Hamburglar was no more odd than Grimace and the little burgers on the path.
And as for the big white puffy guys: Michelin Man, Pillsbury Dough Boy and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from 1984's Ghostbusters --it's hard to be too creeped out at any icon that seems to be sincerely smiling and somewhat tame
below all that soft exterior.