Dow Chemical is hardly the first corporation to use a non-human entity as its "spokesman." This is a well-established tradition dating far back to the dawn of modern advertising.
His Master's Voice - Barraud
One of the earliest spokescritters was Nipper, the dog, who started shilling first for The Gramaphone Company in Britain in 1900 and later for RCA back in 1929. His original image "His Master's Voice" was created by artist Francis Barraud. It was originally and uncreatively titled "Dog looking at and listening to a phonograph". The painting features a black-and-white terrier staring into a gramophone horn. Barraud tried to hawk the image to various companies, including The Edison Bell Company, leading manufacturer of the cylinder phonograph. The company supposedly told him, "Dogs don't listen to phonographs." Oops! How literal can you be? Gramaphone and RCA Victor were obviously thinking outside of the box, however, and the rest is musical history!
Another long-standing spokescritter is Borden's Elsie the Cow, a bovine who's been promoting dairy products since 1939. She made a number of live appearances throughout the years in the form of a Jersey cow whose real name was "You'll Do Lobelia." Her first major event was the 1939 World's Fair, which was quickly followed by a featured role as "Buttercup" in the movie "Little Men."
Several little known facts about Elsie: she has four children, Beulah, Beauregard, and the twins Larabee and Lobelia. Her husband, Elmer, divorced her to live the high life as the spokescritter for glue. Elsie's most famous quote: "If it's Borden, it's got to be good!"
Poppin' Fresh: Hoo Hoo
One of the most famous of all spokescritters has got to be The Pillsbury Doughboy, who actually does have a name: Poppin' Fresh. He sprang fresh from the mind of a creative director at ad agency giant Leo Burnett in 1965. Rudy Perz was hanging out in the kitchen when he imagined a plump, dough figure that popping out of a tube of refrigerated rolls. Since then, Pillsbury has used the plumper, whiter cousin of the Gingerbread Boy in more than 600 commercials for more than 50 of its products. The Doughboy was an instant success with his signature belly poke and giggle. Poppin's most famous quote: "Nothin' says lovin' like somethin' from the oven."
Then there's Energizer the Bunny, who's been drumming up business for Eveready Batteries since 1989. He (She?) was even named one of the Top 10 Advertising Icons of the 20th Century by Advertising Age magazine. The bunny was initially featured in an ad poking fun at advertisements placed by archrival Duracell, which featured battery-powered toys. But then the bunny took off. A little known fact about Energizer is that he had to sue Coors Beers for copyright infringement when Coors stuck Leslie Nielsen in a bunny suit for a commercial parody. However, he lost in court. The judge pointedout that there's no competition between the sale of batteries (or their uses) and the sale of beer. In comparing the Energizer Bunny and a man in a pink rabbit suit, the judge also pointed out that "Mr. Nielsen is not a toy..., does not run on batteries, is not 15 inches tall... [and] is not predominantly pink." Energizer's most memorable quote is, of course: "Keeps on going and going and going..."
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