Only You Can Prevent Branding

21 Nov

Smokey the Bear is seventy years old. This US Forest Ranger mascot has been telling people to stop forest fires since 1950–obviously we stopped listening to him, since the number of fires seems to have increased since then. At what point do we let the corporate brand go?

Now Smokey is a government employee, and unlike corporate sponsors, he doesn’t actually have to show progress towards his goals. That’s why he’s still working past retirement age. I should go into a scree about public service announcements (PSAs) and how bad they are, but let’s keep on topic.

Take Mr. Peanut, this dapper man was born in 1916, and back when you actually wore monocles to correct vision in one eye or a drooping eyelid, this was very useful. I saw this guy for decades on the side of a grain elevator / factory / something in Clinton, Iowa, five stories high right near Beaver Island and the corn processing plant. Planters even decided they needed a hipper, happenin’ mascot for their nut sales, so they killed him last year. (blink) You don’t remember that, do you? That’s because, phoenix-like, he emerged from the ashes as a Baby Peanut / Peanut, Jr. So… good leap of faith there, Planters!

Oh, boy – Aunt Jemina is the grandmama of them all. Born in 1889, she’s had several face-lifts over the years, the pancake brand has been around for over a century. And this year, enough rocktivists decided she was the source of all the African-American’s pain, and she had to go. This ticked off the family of the actress who’s face graced the box, since she was an Oscar-award winning actress who pitched the heck out of that product back in the 50’s.

BTW, what did she win the Oscar for? She played Mamie in Gone with the Wind, the sassy house slave who didn’t put up with Scarlett’s crap. However, that’s also the symbol of the kept black woman, so someone decided that film was the equivalent of Birth of a Nation and had to go. BTW, Birth of the Nation is shown in EVERY film school in America. Because despite the fact that it lauds the Ku Klux Klan as heroes, it’s the also the first feature-length film.

So Flo? You’re passing ten years on the Progressive stage. Better watch out! Actually, if you watch, you’ll notice how much Stephanie Courtney has changed the character to go from the It Girl to the goofy omnipresent woman whom even her goofier sidekick / younger replacement hasn’t been able to overcome.

What’s your favorite / most hated mascot? Do they need to change with the times or is there something comforting in the familiar? Let me know in the comments below?

2 Responses to “Only You Can Prevent Branding”

  1. spwilcen November 21, 2020 at 12:46 pm #

    Only ones come to mind right now are the fat boys, Michelin and Pillsbury. Unless you want to go back to Tighe the Buster Brown bulldog, but that’s long gone – or the Alka Seltzer kid. More but won’t occur to me until I’m being dragged around the yard behind the mower. Interesting read. Makes me reflect how stupid our society has become. Do “stupid” members have a flag?

  2. iFlyMSP November 28, 2020 at 9:16 am #

    Good to see that Aunt Jemina is going away, along with several other Black stereotypes along with Uncle Ben’s. But Mr. Peanut is forever! And the GEICO gecko.

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