Hello and welcome aboard the Train! On this special episode of Out of Order, we’ll be looking back at something a little more obscure then normal. On the average post, I go over and review movies and Tv primarily. But today is an unique endeavor where I talk about commercials. Now, I love watching retro commercials, and during the ad breaks on my posts I often show a bumper as a bookend. But how about mascots; yes, those cartoonish representatives that are created to draw appeal and memorability to a brand. But tonight, we’re remembering those strange mascots that we’ve buried in the deepest corners of our minds. So, without any more jabber, let’s get this show on the road!
Cool Spot (7Up©, 1990s)
In 1987, this soda company hatched an idea for new mascot: to anthropomorphize the red circle sandwiched in between the ‘7’ and the ‘Up’ in the logo. Slap on some limbs and some shades and you’ve got Cool Spot. While there wasn’t anything wrong about the ad campaign career of this little guy, he still managed to land himself as the main protagonist of a video game series. Yeah, this red circle with shades got a video game. Huh. Today, Cool Spot appears here and there but has been mostly forgotten, from what I can gather. What about you guys; do you remember him? Perhaps, one day, our paths with Cool Spot shall meet again and will be reunited. But for now, Adios, senor shades.
Michelin Man (Michelin Tires©, early 1900s)
Maybe you notice this mascot for the Michelin Tire Company, as even today it’s still an iconic staple of the mascot lineup. Way back in the late 19th century, co-founder Edouard Michelin saw a stack of tires and got the inspiration to create a mascot for his industry from this idea. And then the Michelin man was born, but definitely not as many would know him as of modern times. He was a hulky, cigar-smoking, alcoholic brute with hardly much a facial expression. This was one of the more truly unnerving mascots featured on the list, so much so that poster shown above was the most appealing. If you guys want to dive in further, go right ahead, my dude! Thankfully overtime the figure would hear a more friendly and soft on the eyes.
King Vitamin (Quaker Oats©, 1968-2019)
There are many an odd cereal mascot, believe me. But since I wanted some variety, I funneled it down into my favorite of the bunch: King Vitamin! Or is it Vitiman? Yeah, what’s really boggling is that on occasions he’s called King Vitaman, but others simply Vitamin. Oh well. The first commercials for this guy were animated by Jay Ward Productions, the crew who were most notable for doing Rocky and Bullwinkle. That’s pretty neat. In addition, the cereal wasn’t as successful as other morning cereals such as Cap’n Crunch or Lucky Charms because of the word ‘Vitamin’ (Vitaman?) being in the title. Whoops. The line was recently just discontinued, sealing the sad fate that I’ll never get to taste a spoonful of King Vitaman. Vitamin, whatever it is. Rest in peace, your majesty.
Wilkins and Wontkins (Various Brands (notably Wilkins Coffee), 1957-1961)
Ah, I return to these commercials yet again. Jim Henson, who would go on to create the immensely popular Muppet characters, started out producing these bite-sized ads for Wilkins Coffee. It starred a Kermit lookalike, Wilkins, and a gruffy one named Wontkins. Wilkins would offer his accomplice a cup of the coffee, and threatens him when he refuses. Henson said, “Till then, advertising agencies believed that the hard sell was the only way to get their message over on television. We took a very different approach. We tried to sell things by making people laugh.” Or threatening to commit murder, perhaps? Let’s just hope that Wilkins isn’t lurking there in the shadows, waiting, watching, plotting his revenge.
We’ll return with more bizarre brand mascots after these messages…
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Spongemonkies (Quiznos Subs©, 2007)
Oh my goodness. For some context, if I may, these “spongemonkies” were a meme all the way back in the 2000s. A meme is usually a image, video, or text that is edited with different humorous variations and spread by internet users. Well, who in their right mind would use an internet meme, let alone the “spongemonkies”, and use them for their marketing. Oh. I see. So, um, apparently Quiznos, a sub sandwich eatery chain, did just that to terrifying results. I’m genuinely confused; how is this a suitable, effective as campaign? I mean, it is effective in being traumatizing beyond belief. One passenger I know of is a fan of Quiznos, so do you remember these ads? For now, it is known by its reputation of not being able to recall if it was an actual commercial or just some sort of fever dream.
Mr. Clean (Procter & Gamble©, 1957)
Case File “Suds” : There are reports of multiple murders across the county, 4 folks, 3 unidentified. The fourth was young girl Noreen Speltman, daughter of Mr. Clifford Speltman. According to sources, Mr. Speltman had goes with a hitman organization down in Philly called simply “Knives” . We suspect that the killer is contract killer Aloysius Vest, a member of Knives. This recording suggests that Vest is in disguise as Mr. Samuel Clean, the spokesman for the Mr. Clean cleaner brand. The crime scenes of the four genocides are all linked together by a strong freshening odor, and no blood whatsoever. We are currently under search for Clean/Vest, and so far we have found his apartment abandoned and limited in any evidence.
The Noid (Dominos Pizza©, 1980s)
Our last mascot for today is the Noid, a mascot for Dominos Pizza. It was a guy in a red rabbit suit who was positively bonkers. And it most loved to destroy pizza, can’t forget about that! It was supposedly the embodiment of all the trouble it takes to have a pizza delivered in under 30 minutes, oddly enough. In 1989 a paranoid man named Kenneth Noid believed that the mascot’s creators were poking fun at him and held up one of the Dominos restaurants, holding two employees hostage. After he was shortly afterword went to a mental institution, the Noid was retired. Some speculate it was because of the incident, but Dominoes continues to deny these claims even today.
Well, that’s all. Did I miss a mascot? What are some of your thoughts? Later!
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