The Quick 10: 10 Defunct Advertising Characters

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We all know that Mickey Mouse is the figurehead for the Disney company and Ronald McDonald is the recognized face of his namesake fast food chain. But it wasn't always that way! Check out these 10 mascots that represented their companies before being replaced by the latest and greatest.

alice_wild_west1. Alice, The Walt Disney Company. Before the rodent ran rampant, Alice was queen. Not the precocious blonde girl in the blue frock from the cartoon, but a live-action Alice that starred in a bunch of comedic shorts. Alice was played by Virginia Davis.

2. Speedee, McDonald's. Before Ray Kroc took over McDonald's, it was owned by a pair of brothers named Dick and Mac McDonald, and they used a man with a hamburger-shaped head named Speedee as a mascot. He was supposed to represent their "Speedee Service System." Speedee was ousted for Ronald in 1963.

3. Milton the Toaster, Pop-Tarts. In the "˜70s, Kellogg figured there was no better way to sell breakfast pastries to kids than by using a talking appliance. Thus, Milton the toaster chatted up children and told bad jokes. You can witness such jokes here. Milton hasn't been around for quite some time now "“ it's rumored that Kellogg got a flood of complaints after they featured a commercial with a little girl giving Milton the Toaster a hug. It seems that responsible parents didn't want their kids getting quite that intimate with a hot electrical appliance. Go figure.

4. Mr. ZIP, the United States Postal Service. Some of us probably can't remember a day before ZIP codes were the norm, but back when they were a newfangled thing, Mr. ZIP was around to convince us that using those five little numbers would help the mail get around much faster. He was unveiled in 1962 and was mostly phased out before the "˜80s, but he could still be found on the selvage of a block of stamps until about 1986.

PETE5. Pizza Hut Pete, Pizza Hut. Pete was really the first mascot for Pizza Hut. He helped build the brand throughout the 70s but was more or less wiped out during the 80s in favor of celebrity endorsement deals. Some also think the Italian stereotype probably wasn't doing Pete any favors as we evolved into a more politically-correct society.

6. Frito Bandito, Fritos. Speaking of stereotypes, Frito Bandito was a rather offensive character used from 1967-1971. If he sounds suspiciously like Speedy Gonzales, it's because Mel Blanc did both of their voices. Frito Lay cleaned up the Bandito's image after the National Mexican-American Anti-Defamation Committee complained, but the character was finally laid to rest altogether in 1971 when national attention was brought to the situation via a House subcommittee hearing.

fidodido7. Fido Dido, 7up. Here's one that's making a comeback. Fido Dido was the mascot for 7up in the late "˜80s and early "˜90s, but I can only remember Cool Spot, Fido Dido's replacement. Just this year, Fido Dido was brought back to be PepsiCo's mascot for Slice outside of the U.S. Maybe we'll start seeing more of him if the campaign proves to be popular?

8. Cheetos Mouse. I'll be honest "“ I've always found Chester Cheetah mildly irritating and slightly sleazy. Like, if he was a real person as opposed to an anthropomorphic cat, he would probably wear way too much cologne and hope that you're the type of girl who is easily impressed by sports cars and his knock-off Ray Bans. That's why I would have welcomed the Cheetos Mouse, who debuted in 1971 and said much cuter things such as, "Hail Chee-sar!" You can see him in action here. He was retired in the late "˜70s or so, and Chester made his debut in the mid "˜80s.

9. Duracell Bunny. I know "“ you're thinking, "No, it's the Energizer Bunny." There were actually both. The Energizer Bunny was created to spoof the Duracell Bunny, and Energizer was smart enough to trademark the idea of a battery bunny before Duracell could stake their claim on the original idea. Duracell knew when they had been beaten at their own game and conceded the use of the bunny in the United States. However, you'll still see the Duracell Bunny in Europe and Australia, where Energizer prefers to use a human-like battery with big muscles as its mascot.

10. Gillette "“ Sharpie the Parrot. Not a very creative name, when you consider that his M.O. was to chirp, "How are you fixed for blades?" over the Gillette jingle of "Look sharp! Feel sharp! Be sharp!" This repetitive little guy made his debut during the first-ever televised World Series in 1952. I'm going to admit, I kind of love this commercial:

Do you remember any other mascots that once ruled the advertising roost for their brand?

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December 14, 2009 - 11:18am
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