From Charlie the Tuna to Frito Bandito, the ten worst food mascots ever

From Charlie the Tuna to Frito Bandito, the ten worst food mascots ever

The pop-culture landscape is littered with the bleached bones of advertising mascots long passed: For every Kool-Aid Man that survives to break down new walls with his rotund fruit-drink excitement, there's a Hawaiian Punch dude who's drunk in the corner and a Spuds McKenzie buried out back.

Some make it, some don't -- and some get messed with along the way. The Pillsbury Dough Boy is a legend, but failed to lend his name to Ghostbusters for a shot to let his inner Godzilla loose. And it's hard to trust the Gorton's fisherman now that he knows what you did last summer. But some icons of advertising -- especially food advertising -- were just flawed from the start.

10. The Helping Hand

From Charlie the Tuna to Frito Bandito, the ten worst food mascots ever

Sure, he's been loitering on kitchen counters for decades now -- but that doesn't mean he makes much sense. What does a four-fingered glove have to do with cooking a quick dinner? I guess it's supposed to reference the fairly-thin idea that working moms need a "helping hand" once in a while ... which I believe was also the original marketing concept for both Valium and Hitachi Magic Wands.

9. Duke the Dog Bush's Baked Beans has two mascots, both equally annoying. Jay is an actual Bush family member (what in the world is wrong with the rest of the Bush family if Jay is their most telegenic guy?), and his dog Duke has a conniving voiceover that makes a person marvel at how much this ad campaign is willing to push the natural goodwill Americans have for golden retrievers. Together, their tired shtick doesn't make me hungry for beans so much as it makes me want to violate PETA standards for pet ownership on Jay's behalf.

8. Jovny the Vlasic Stork The once-popular myth that pregnant women have cravings for pickles is no reason for a stork to be selling pickles for nearly three decades. Especially when the stork is made to be inexplicably reminiscent of Groucho Marx, right down to using the pickle as a cigar. Someone needs to tell Jovny (seriously ... Jovny?) that sometimes a pickle is just a pickle.

7. Little Sprout Was it really necessary to Scrappy-Doo the Jolly Green Giant? Seriously, was there no character in the 1980s that was safe from being joined by some arrogant, diminutive, shithead version of itself? You have to believe that somehow this can all be blamed on Gary Coleman.

6. Twinkie the Kid/Fruit Pie the Magician This wasn't so much a bad idea as no idea whatsoever. Twinkie the Cowboy at least had a name -- unlike Fruit Pie the Magician, a character with no internal logic whatsoever. Still, they're crazy delicious, despite the cynical, hollow characters, the crappy animation with no storyline to speak of, and the general fog of indifference surrounding the whole thing. They knew kids were going to want this stuff no matter how bad the ads were. Oh Hostess ... I wish I knew how to quit you.



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