Throw It Back!

catfishing (2)

tuesday tvAdvertising geniuses have been turning to mascots to pitch products ever since the Greek philosopher Testicles invented the concept of creepy in 500 BC.  It is important to remember that a mascot is essentially a fictional living embodiment of the brand it is trying to persuade the public to buy.  In that vein, mascots are generally anthropomorphic alter egos of the businesses and/or products they are shilling for.

Michelin’s main consumer product is tires, so they constructed a man made entirely out of rubbers tires to be their corporate mascot.

Don't cross the streams.... oh wait, wrong mascot!

Don’t cross the streams…. oh wait, wrong mascot!

Green Giant sells vegetables, so working off its brand name, it came up with a jolly green giant wearing a leafy caveman era one-piece to hawk the healthy part of our supper.

The toga just barely covers up Sprout.... if you know what I mean.

That eco-toga just barely covers up Sprout…. if you know what I mean.

Mucinex would like you to know it will clear all the shit out of your lungs, and what better way to demonstrate this than with a mascot who’s a giant glob of snot?

Props to Mucinex... the only commercials on TV where it's totally OK to kill the shit out of a snotty kid.

Props to Mucinex… the only commercials on TV that have created a world where it’s totally acceptable to kill children.

Long John Silver’s is one of America’s top seafood eateries in the fast food sector.  So of course, their mascot would be a giant fish.  What could possibly be wrong with that…?

Oh dear.

This would be just fine... if Long John Silvers was shooting a Star Wars movie.

This would be just fine… if Long John Silvers was shooting a Star Wars movie.

Long John Silvers is one of the rare fast food joints that has not relied on a cartoonish mascot to get kids to drag their parents in to their restaurants.  In February 1995, they showed America exactly why they should just stick to generic ads to peddle their fish nuggets.  Norman Bigfish, the fictional finned CEO of LJS, was created for a new campaign that kicked off with that ad above.  Apparently, Long John Silvers’ admen test marketed this commercial to a school of clownfish down at the local aquarium, because there is no way a focus group of people without visual impairments could have possibly given Mr. Biglips Bigfish positive reviews.

I loved Mr. Bigfish!  And I'm the second most intelligent species in the world!

I loved Mr. Bigfish! And I’m the second most intelligent species in the world!

If you thought Norman Bigfish would be cleaned and cooked before he could star in another ad, you would be totally wrong.  He would appear in a second commercial themed around him joining in a pickup game of basketball (my favorite for the “how about a hook?” line, and the one I really wanted to use in this post, but DAMMIT, nobody preserved it for posterity!)…. and that was it.  Before he could film a third travesty to common decency, Long John Silvers decided to kill off Mr. Bigfish.

No, really.  They actually killed him off in a press release!

Gee, I wonder what happened to Mr. Bigfish? (burp)

Gee, I wonder what happened to Mr. Bigfish? (burp)

Customers complained in droves about how turned off they were by having to see Bigfish’s ugly piscean face on their TV screens, and it’s no surprise they also lost their appetites for Long John’s.  When the franchisees made noise to corporate about the lost sales, Bigfish was sent out into the deep sea on a trawler without an oar, never to return, satisfying the people’s cries for his death.  How enormous of a fail does a mascot have to be to be publicly offed by the same entity that brought it to life?

And how in the world did this same fate not get bestowed upon Burger King's creepshow?

And how in the world did this same fate not get bestowed upon Burger King’s creepshow?

Let this be a lesson for all of you future advertising gurus out there.  A mascot needs to do more than just tie into the brand and business its selling for, it also needs to keep the audience you are trying to persuade from running for the eye bleach.  And so for this week’s Retro TV Ad Tuesday, the Nest reels in a 1/2 nightcrawler salute for the late Norman Bigfish.  Sure Mr. Bigfish was a hideous mess that looked more like a freak from a Japanese horror movie that needed to be terminated with extreme tartar sauce, but we see him as a martyr for the cause of mascot design awareness.  And despite this scaly affront to the retina, we at The Nest will continue to eat at the restaurant Mr. Bigfish gave his unworthy life to be the spokescod for… because where else can me and my good friend Penfold get the tastiest free deal in the fast food industry?

Hey.... I think Long John's may have just found a new mascot!

Hey…. I think Long John’s may have just found a new mascot!

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About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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28 Responses to Throw It Back!

  1. Twindaddy says:

    Yeah, that fish is TOTALLEH creepeh.

  2. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Danger Mouse?

    How about the animated toenail fungus that was to help cure toenail fungus? That was particularly classy and understated.

    (I thought the Burger King-King was OK, in a “Donnie Darko selling fast food” kind of way)

    • The Penfold reference was to the tray of crumbs you can get for free at LJS… it’s the best part of eating there. I was looking for another classic Nick reference for this post, but it seems Turkey TV is the lost, forgotten stepchild of the 80’s Nick era….

      I must have missed the animated toe fungus… but that’s an even cooler idea than the living mucus!

  3. 1jaded1 says:

    Yeah, cuz that’s exactly how I want to picture my fish as I’m eating it….I miss LJS.

    Burger King is creepy. Have you seen the drive-by bit with him and Ronald McDonald?

  4. Mental Mama says:

    Few things are worse than having to be on the inside of one of those rotten ass costumes when the restaurant is doing a promo. Just take my word for it.

    • LOL, I won’t ask. Nowadays, it seems like the only business that still partakes in that embarrassing ritual is Liberty Tax Service. Always a pleasure to see Miss Liberty out there freezing her ass off on a 10 degree February day…

  5. markbialczak says:

    I mean, you’re starting your franchise behind the ball in the first place by making them sell fish instead of burgers, and then you give them Norman? Creepy on any scale.

  6. The Cutter says:

    Note: Mr. Bigfish died on the way back to his home planet.

  7. merbear74 says:

    Fear is the king of flatulence making me eat a Whopper.

  8. I used Mucinex until the televised glob’o’snot appeared in my living room. Yucko. Never bought the product since.

    And the Burger King is truly about as creepy as they come. And ugly, too. What were they thinking?

    • Hmmm, maybe we can conduct some sort of TV ad mascot exchange program. Creepy King can live inside someone’s lungs, and Mr. Mucus can wake people up offering them a Croissan’wich…. it would still make those ads nasty and creepy, but it would be funnier.

  9. PigLove says:

    Oh dear piggy heavens. That Burger King guy – shivers to mergatroid. He scared me more than Hottss Pocketss being in the kitchen. The King guy was AWFUL! Mom and dad said they were in Savannah, Georgia several years ago and saw him on a commercial for Krystal’s. The commercial was for Krystal’s and the king was rolling around on the little boxes in front of the fireplace. Shivers – what has been seen can not be unseen my friend. XOXO – Bacon

  10. draliman says:

    Those Burger King ads creep me out big time. Testicles has a lot to answer for.

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