5 Creepy Corporate Mascots
Surely kicking themselves—hard—for ever phasing out the original McDonald’s gang, the fast food juggernaut unveiled its newest mascot, Happy the anthropomorphic Happy Meal, last week to a negative reception. Despised by the Internet, McDonald’s big-mouthed monstrosity has been called “creepy" and “scary,” among other colorful names. This is nothing new, though. Companies like Mickey D’s have been churning out frightening mascots for decades—and here are 5 of the scariest!
1) Wenlock and Mandeville (2012 Summer Olympics)
Olympic mascots, generally speaking, have always been iconic, appealing characters embodying not only the host nation’s culture, but also the spirit of the games. Canada called Amik the beaver its own, American patriotism soared high with Sam the bald eagle, and Britain welcomed the duo Wenlock and Mandeville—creepy liquid metal alien things born from the last girder used to build the Olympic Stadium. If it wasn't for their backstory giving people a clue, they’d have no idea Wenlock and Mandeville had any connection with Britain. Was it really that hard to base a mascot off of the country's globally recognized iconography?
2) The King (Burger King)
Aping McDonald’s whole "McDonaldland" angle of the ‘70s, Burger King attempted to one-up its golden-arched rival with their own cast of zany characters, all centered around a medieval theme with the titular monarch as ringleader. For over 20 years they all but disappeared until 2003 when a third party ad firm resurrected the Burger King... albeit as a silent masked stalker known simply as “The King” (or alternatively, and appropriately, the “Creepy King.”). Sneaking up on the unsuspecting masses—food item in hand—with all the stealth of a midnight slasher, the nightmarish monarch was retired in 2011. For obvious reasons.
3) Wilkins (Wilkins Coffee)
Long before unifying his random assortment of puppets under the moniker “Muppets,” a young Jim Henson was hustling, performing for local broadcast television stations and commercials. Contracted by Wilkins Coffee sometime during the late ‘50s, Henson created nearly 180 ads featuring one sadistic puppet that even today puts Child’s Play’s Chucky to shame: Wilkins. Paired with his surly compatriot, Wontkins—averse to the brand being advertised—Wilkins the proto-Kermit employed lethal measures to sway his friend’s opinion, not limited to shooting him pointblank in the face, branding him with a hot iron, and tossing him into what could only be called a torture machine. Eventually other coffee companies wanted a slice of Henson's morbid vision, seeing as how puppet homicide is what drove sales.
4) Crave (Honeycomb Cereal)
Probably running with the expression equating a nagging problem to having a monkey on one’s back, Honeycomb cereal commercials from the mid ‘90s to early 2000s featured a terrifying critter resembling a werewolf that was all head and no body called “Crave”—an embodiment of the insatiable desire for a bowl of the honey-flavored sweet stuff. Whether the kids in the ad were that oblivious or willingly chose not to acknowledge its presence (we don’t blame them), Crave was virtually invisible to human perception until later spots, when normal people hankering for Honeycomb lost all inhibition and actually turned into a Crave themselves. And we’re talking An American Werewolf in London-style transformation for a breakfast cereal that tastes vaguely of cardboard.
5) Mr. Yuk (Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh)
The mascot may still be around, but this old school PSA from forty years ago starring the green-faced Mr. Yuk traumatized an entire generation growing up in the ‘70s. And we can definitely see why. Aside from imagery of cartoon kids doubled over in anguish after polishing off a jug of Drano Max, Mr. Yuk ends his macabre little song with a Satanic laugh. So, what’s the situation here, is he good or evil? Mixed signals...
Which mascot do you think is the creepiest?