I watch way too much television. I can’t help it. I was an infant when television was in its infancy, and we grew up together. The shows have changed. Howdy Doody and Kukla, Fran and Ollie are gone, but we now have Sesame Street. The Lone Ranger and Westerns were replaced by Space Westerns, and the guns can now be set to stun, at least on TV. One thing has remained unchanged throughout the years, though. There have always been way too many commercials, even after we tossed the rabbit ears and paid extra for cable hoping to avoid the commercials completely.
As long as there have been commercials, there have been company spokespersons, both living and cartoon. No matter how much we hate commercials, we fondly remember Speedy Alka Seltzer, the lonely Maytag repairman, the Charmin squeezing Mr Wipple, the e-Trade baby, and the Time-to-make-the-Dunkin Donuts guy.
Some of the spokespeople are annoying, though. In my opinion, the Burger King King is a royal pain in the butt. The most annoying spokespeople, however, are all the mudslingers in the barrage of political ads that appear in the month before any election.
The General in the General Insurance commercials is over the hill, but Mr. Peanut keeps reinventing himself to stay fresh. Snap, Crackle, and Pop are no longer popular with me, now that they are sounds that come more frequently from my body than from my cereal bowl.
The Geico Caveman was always good for a laugh. Captain Picard’s Strongbow Cider commercials are all funny, too. Captain Obvious can sometimes be amusing. As Captains go, he’s at least funnier than Capt’n Crunch.
Animals make good spokespeople. Buzz the Bee for Honey Oat Cereal is cute. The Energizer Bunny and Tony the Tiger are G-r-r-r-e-a-t. LOL
The Aflac Duck, the Trix Rabbit, the Geiko Gecko, Spuds MacKenzie, and Charlie Tuna are all-star animal spokespersons.
It’s much safer with cartoon characters. You don’t have to worry about your spokesperson getting arrested or involved in a scandal. I don’t think the recently arrested Jared will be doing any more Subway commercials.
Michael Phelps lost sponsors when the Olympic swimmer was caught smoking pot. Tiger Woods was caught in a sex scandal that cost him sponsors, and OJ Simpson turned out to be an embarrassment for Hertz. Kobe Bryant was another sponsor’s nightmare. Marilyn Chambers turned out to be the wrong spokesperson for Ivory Snow detergent. Michael Jackson’s child molestation accusations didn’t help him with Pepsi. There’s always room for Jello, but I doubt if Jello still has room for Bill Cosby.
Lance Armstrong even had cancer, but that wasn’t enough to keep his Cancer spokesperson job, after he got caught in a doping scandal. Barry Bonds lost endorsements when he became the face of Steroids. Martha Stewart and her business, however, managed to survive despite jail time. Go Martha.
Even if they don’t break the law, human spokespeople can be risky. James Garner, the spokesperson for the beef industry, had to have quadruple bypass surgery for his clogged arteries. Billy Jean King came out of the closet and lost sponsors. Magic Johnson lost sponsors when word came out that he had AIDS. Steve Jobs was more than just the spokesperson for Apple. He was Apple, and he still got rebooted as their spokesperson. The Marlboro Man lost his job when he died of lung cancer.
That is why I am surprised to see the return of human spokespeople to commercials. Most companies who are using human spokespeople are trying to play it safe, though. Instead of celebrities and athletes with ego and drug problems, they have cute and perky young women, like Jan the Toyota spokesperson (Laurel Coppock), Lily, the AT&T spokesperson (Milana Vaynetrub), and Progressive’s ubiquitous Flo (Stephanie Courtney).
The most annoying company spokesperson doesn’t wear a nametag, so I’ll just call him DICK. I’m sure that it must be his name. He’s the Chevy guy who tosses raw eggs at people in a focus group and he also pretends to run their smart phones through a wood chipper. He makes other people take a math test before he reveals the Chevy that is smarter than them and can figure out how long it will take a car going 52 mph heading north to crash head-on with a car going 55 mph heading south. He’s a dick, my least favorite product spokesperson.
My favorite spokesperson, that’s easy. He’s the Dos Equis most interesting man in the world, Jonathan Goldsmith – Stay thirsty my friends.
Peace & Love and all of the above,
2 thoughts on “And Now a Word from our Sponsor’s Spokesperson”
Oh my goodness Earl! You just took me on a TV history ride. All I did was laugh and say to myself, because speaking out loud to myself can be considered in some circles (JD’s) abnormal…”Hey, I remember that!” And “Oh yeah, that too!” You’re a terrific writer who has a way of sucking a person right into the story…thank you! Xox, Patrice
Earl, where have you been hiding this guy?????????????