|"Mommy, I want the cereal with the ... thing on it!"|
10. Bigg Mixx - Kellogg's Bigg Mixx cereal
In 1990, Kellogg's introduced Bigg Mixx cereal, a motley mixture of other Kellogg's brands all tossed together in one box, saving the world the incredible difficulty of mixing dry cereals together at home. Surprisingly enough, the insides of the box were not quite as poorly thought-out as the oustide, which featured a cartoon character by the same name. According to the cryptozoologists at Kellogg's, Bigg Mixx was a 'chicken-wolf-moose-pig' from the Yakima Valley. Printed on the box was the background legend of Bigg Mixx, which included the story of the first reported sighting in 1978. While eyewitness accounts of Bigg Mixx tended to vary slightly in their description of this mythical beast, everyone agreed that he "eats like a pig." Bigg Mixx was retired when Kellogg's halted production of Bigg Mixx cereal and the chicken-wolf-moose-pig disappeared back into the misty forests of Washington, though some people say that if you stand outside Kurt Cobain's house during a new moon, you might hear a plaintive cluck-snort-howl way off in the distance...
9. Disembodied Mouth--Dairy Queen
Yes, Dairy Queen, you are technically correct. People do use their mouths to consume your products. However, most of those mouths are connected to faces and bodies and other hallmarks of personhood. On the bright side, this mouth without a stomach can eat all the Blizzards it wants while only worrying about plumper lips. By the way, are we the only ones who have an unexplainable urge to listen to Exile on Main St. whenever the DQ lips appear?
8. (tie) Country Crock Hands--Country Crock Margarine / Annoying Yuppies--Sonic Drive-In
Both of these "mascots" can be tedious and unpleasant. The Country Crock Hands have been around for the better part of the last 20 years and are still ridiculous. One set of Hands is voiced by a male and the other set is voiced by a female. When the campaign began, the Hands bantered flirtatiously while spreading oleo on ears of corn or muffins. As the campaign wore on, the two eventually got married and had kids. This turn was important enough to garner attention from news outlets at the time. Of course, eagle-eyed Hot Dish readers may have noticed: At no point, in any of their myriad number of appearances, do the Hands actually eat any Country Crock.
Just as bad as the forced playfulness of the Hands are the insipid and inane exchanges by the suburban yuppies hawking Sonic Drive-In. What's that you say? "How are they mascots?" Well, they are very much like puppets... Possibly the worst example is this couple, who have been featured in a number of ads. However, the male actor of this pair (Brian Huskey) just may have redeemed himself: He is now playing the recurring character of Chet, the paramedic, on Adult Swim's terrific Children's Hospital.
7. Mac Tonight--McDonald's
McDonald's has taken a lot of flack over the years for its mascots. Some equate Ronald McDonald with some sort of Orwellian plot to indoctrinate impressionable young children into the Cult of Mac as early as possible. Some simply point to Grimace and ... well, grimace. What does "robble, robble" mean, anyway, Hamburglar? And whatever happened to Birdie? But the worst McDonald's mascot has to be Mac Tonight, a.k.a. Moon Man. Played by actor Doug Jones, (best known for his dual role as the Faun and the Pale Man in Pan's Labyrinth and as Abe Sapien in the Hellboy series), this terrifying, massively benoggined behemoth was featured in commercials that touted McDonald's late-night drive-thru. We're guessing the crescent moon shape was chosen so that the viewer would conclude that if the Moon Man would simply eat a Big Mac, he'll be a "full moon." The worst part of this campaign, however, has to be the criminal bastardization of Bobby Darin's classic chart-topper, Mack the Knife.
6. Boo Berry--General Mills' Boo Berry Cereal
Boo Berry is a ghost that for some reason is imbued with the essence of blueberries. It's never been clear whether he is the ghost of a blueberry or simply the ghost of a human who really liked blueberries. Boo Berry, along with his monster mates, Frankenberry and Count Chocula, had disappeared from the cereal aisle for a while. But General Mills has started to release them for a short period around Halloween each year. The real problem with Boo Berry is that his heavy, blue-tinged eyelids and bluish skin lend the impression that he just may be overdosing on heroin. The porkpie hat draws further comparisons to Pete Doherty, which merely reinforces the idea that Boo Berry likes to ride the white horse.
5. Chockle the Blob--Quaker Oats Choco Crunch Cereal
Quaker Oats may have provided one of the better food mascots when it created Cap'n Crunch, but this bespotted, amorphous blob was a train wreck. Firstly, what does it say when your mascot is indistinguishable from cartoon depictions of germs? What does a big blob have to do with chocolate? Or cereal, for that matter? And why does a sharply dressed, highly decorated Navy officer want to hang out with a blob named Chockle? There are so many things wrong with Chockle that it's probably for the best that he has been lost at sea, along with the cloying cereal he represented.
4. Tropic-Ana--Tropicana Juice
At one time, Tropicana brand orange juice believed that the best way to drum up interest in its cartons of squeezed citrus would be to feature pictures of half-naked young girls on the package. Similar to the iconic Coppertone girl ads, it's very easy to make an argument that anyone seeing anything more than an innocent, playful image must just have a mind perennially dwelling in the gutter. But there's no debating the fact that Tropic-Ana is a minor wearing nothing more than a magically well-placed necklace and a grass skirt. If she were to be found hanging out with Chiquita Banana, one would not be blamed for mistakenly assuming they had stumbled on some sort of fruit-themed, hedonistic island bordello. Mmm, wholesome!
3. Guy Fieri--T.G.I. Friday's
Oh, dear god... Where to begin with Guy Fieri? Diners, Drive-ins and Dives may be popular, but this man is to food what Cheez-Whiz is to cheese. There's just so much to hate about him it's hard to know what to pick out. Is it his god-awful bleach blonde spikes? His grating, two-pack-a-day voice? His horrid taste in clothing? His penchant for ridiculous eyewear? For Pete's sake, we've never seen his bare arms (thank GOD!) but we have to believe he's got a tribal tattoo on his bicep too, because this is required to join the upper echelons of the Grand Order of the Douches. In the world of food porn, Guy Fieri is the equivalent of Ron Jeremy--no one knows how he became famous, but some people are rooting for him ... ironically.
2. So-Hi and the Krinkles Clown--Post Sugar Krinkles
Post cereals have long been considered an also-ran to powerhouses Kellogg's and General Mills. But one thing Post has on both of those companies is these two mascots, which both represented the same cereal and both represented the same tone-deaf marketing sensibilities. First, Post decided to focus on a little Asian boy with stereotypically slanted eyes, bowl-cut hairdo, and the nonsensical name of So-Hi. Looking at the picture of So-Hi now, one is not to be blamed for expecting him to excitedly spout "Doctor Jones! Doctor Jones!".
1. Uncle Tom--Uncle Tom Health Food
What food mascots would you put on this list? Leave your nominations in the comment section below!