CHATTER: Yoshi Juice – Mascots

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Sex sells! It’s a fact of life, and one easily confirmed just by turning on a TV. Of course, not every sexual situation makes sense when it’s being used to sell. Like if you’re selling pickles, or orange juice.

Tony Packo’s Pickles

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Full disclaimer: I don’t know what this Tony Packo guy’s deal is. A cursory Google search tells me that he was a Hungarian-American living in Toledo, Ohio who started a sandwich shop. This seems very culturally significant and I’m sure that it’s touched the lives of many a person, but what I want to know is why in the name of God are these pickled vegetables so heterosexual?

Jars of Tony Packo’s Pickles & Peppers are plastered with imagery of the titular pickles and peppers in domestic situations, with the most noteworthy depicting them “in bed together”, as it were. The metaphor seems to carry that when you purchase a jar, it is filled to the brim with veggies in the throes of holy matrimony.

I’m definitely thinking too hard about this.

Superdawg

The Superdawg Drive-In is an apparently-popular Chicago hot dog stand, born in the 50s and to this day generally regarded as some of the best ‘dogs in the area. Slathered in mustard, relish, onions, pickles, tomato, and pretty much anything you can put on a hot dog that isn’t ketchup – it’s a recipe for something, something I’ve never particularly strived to taste but I’m sure must be important to some people. Sure, the dogs are probably good – but I’m not here to talk about the hot dogs you eat. I’m here for these hot dogs.

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These “dawgs” are Maurie and Flaurie, the official mascots of the Superdawg stand. They’re the cartoon representation of (and share their name with) the Bermans, the husband and wife team behind the drive-in. Hot dogs with human arms, legs, and faces are bizarre enough already, but there’s something about that extreme dimorphism that bears mentioning: Maurie Superdawg is an uber-macho caveman, arms flexed in triumph; Flaurie is demure, hands clasped together and looking modestly downwards.

I can’t fault the Bermans for wanting to represent themselves in the disgusting form of sausages with defined musculature – really. (“At least Flaurie doesn’t have tits,” I whisper to myself every night.) And sure, there’s something kitsch about it that appeals to a lot of people. But I do take issue with one thing:

The decision to give Maurie Superdawg glowing red eyes.

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The Green M&M

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Some time in the 1970s (so says Snopes), a rumor started circulating that the green M&Ms were some sort of sex pill that either gave your bone-bone superpowers a la the once-mythical Viagra or made you In The Mood For Food. (‘Food’ is an euphemism here, of course. For sex.)

Hell if I know why green M&Ms were chosen over other colors for having magic sexual properties, but the influence of this urban legend is directly responsible for Ms. Green. In 1995, the now-ubiquitous M&M “spokescandies” were created with Ms. Green as the sole woman representative of the M&M brand. Designed to be cool, seductive, and sexual, she’s depicted as a quintessential femme fatale, filled with feminine mystique and charged with, uh, sex energy. God damn it.

Not to be outdone with the green M&M, Mars introduced another female M&M in 2012 (it only took 17 years to add another woman!). Ms. Brown is the brains to Ms. Green’s beauty, a no-nonsense intellectual who focuses on business matters first and foremost. Of course, an intelligent hard worker like her wouldn’t get overtly sexualized, right?

Right?

Orangina

Orangina is a brand of carbonated orange drink originating from France. It has a sharp, bubbly citrus flavor and is served in distinctive pear-shaped glass bottles. What’s so sexual about that, you may ask? Well in 2008, they advertised Orangina with this:

There’s a lot to take in, here. For one, there’s an array of female peacock dancers. Peacock – I feel the need to point out that a ‘female peacock’ is called a peahen and they are not nearly as colorful. You could make an argument that they’re a bunch of lovely trans cock ladies, but this is the world of food commercials, and Occam’s razor says to me that the artists just didn’t think too hard about it.

And what about the octopus, squeezing oranges in front of their breasts with their tentacles? A tiny flower-headed woman dancing with an equally small chameleon man? Zebra dancers straddling enormous bottles of Orangina, the contents erupting outwards? The ad is enormously and overtly sexual and immediately drew complaints, but the fire was already lit.

Orangina continued the “Naturally Pulpy” line of advertisements with numerous sequels, all starring anthropomorphic animal characters in other overtly sexual situations. Somewhere down the line, they succumbed to the need for an honest-to-good gay advertisement. Yes, us gay boys in the audience can now too enjoy the wondrous world of muscular cat titties.

Except, uh, they banned that ad for being too controversial, immediately after it was aired. Yup – two years later, that’s what they take offense with.

Hamburglar

When I say ‘Hamburglar’, what do you think of? The little kid from the 80s, right? But, I mean, we’re in the 2010s, so now what? I think you know where this is going.

Back in May of 2015, the folks at Old McDonald’s made the completely baffling move of redesigning the Hamburglar to be newer. Edgier. Sexier?

Seems like they realized this was a bad idea, because the advertisements only lasted for a month. In the meantime, women on Twitter buzzed about how sexy their new Daddy Hamburglar is, and I’m hoping I’ll never have to write this sentence again, but it’s there and there’s nothing I can do about it.

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Chester Cheetah

What might be the most inane start for 2016 in terms of -gate dramas is #TonyTigerGate, an incident spurred by “Tony the Tiger” (a corporate account advertising Frosted Flakes) manually block-chaining furries.

I think there’s something to be said about the fact that furries are offended by a beloved mascot not wanting to interact with them, when they are still the ones actively sexually harassing complete strangers. But, well, you know.

Anyway, “Chester Cheetah” (another corporate entity representing Cheetos brand snacks) took this all in stride. A little too well, actually:

Hey there, buddy.

Hey there, buddy.

This wouldn’t be on this list if he wasn’t responding in sincerity to someone who was wondering if they could call him Daddy.

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