Never underestimate the power of advertising. All it takes is a cute cat, an eccentric character, or, heck, a nebulous blob suffering a severe identity crisis, to encourage us to head over to our local grocery store/convenience store/bar, etc., to pick up corporate America’s latest offering. That’s why this month, we’re bringing you EW’s Big Shill bracket game, which celebrates the country’s finest advertising icons — and pits them head-to-head in a battle for supremacy. In our first round, Six Flags’ Mr. Six dances off against Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef” lady in the Human Category, alongside Dos Equis’ The Most Interesting Man in the World and Isuzu’s Joe Isuzu. In our Creatures Category, the Taco Bell Chihuahua fights 9Lives Cat Food’s Morris the Cat for household pet bragging rights, while Domino’s The Noid tries to out-annoy Mucinex’s Mr. Mucus. Who will be left standing? Only one way to find out: Vote for which advertising icons reign supreme after the jump. (And read the competitors’ stats below to help you make your decision.) It’s up to you, PopWatchers: Whose shilling gets top billing? You can check out the entire bracket here, because you know you’re already looking forward to a potential Sweet 16 match-up between the Energizer Bunny and the Vlasic pickles stork?
Product: Six Flags theme parks
Debut year: 2004
Catchphrase: “More flags, more fun.”
Claim to fame: Though a wrinkly old man, Six cannot contain his enthusiasm for Six Flags and simply must cut a rug to the Vengaboys “We Like to Party.”
Strength: Apparently impervious to the effects of aging, Mr. Six dances like a much younger man wearing a bald cap and prosthetic chin.
Weakness: Easily distracted by cheesy Eurodance.
The “Where’s the Beef” Lady
Product: Wendy’s restaurants
Debut year: 1984
Catchphrase: “Where’s the beef?!”
Claim to fame: Not satisfied with the skimpy hamburger patty served to her far more demure friend at the “Big Bun” chain, an incensed woman (played by Clara Peller) erupted in a series of “Where’s the beef?!” demands. Though no one was listening at the restaurant, America heard her loud and clear, and her catchphrase was repeated ad nauseum throughout the second half of the 1980s.
Strength: The persistent and selfless Peller was on a mission, and followed up her protest in the first commercial with “Where’s the beef?!” demands at a Big Bun drive-thru, as well as a phone call to the Big Bun fat-cat CEO.
Weakness: Her fixation with beef bordered on obsession, making her kind of a drag at parties.
THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD
Product: Dos Equis beer
Debut year: 2006
Catchphrase: “Stay thirsty, my friends.”
Claim to fame: Rugged, yet distinguished, manly, yet sensitive, the Most Interesting Man in the World lives the sexy, adventurous life you don’t have the guts to even think about. And when he drinks beer, he drinks Dos Equis.
Strength: “Bulls flat out refuse to fight him.” So who the hell are you?
Weakness: We’re too afraid to say.
Product: Isuzu cars and trucks
Debut year: 1986
Catchphrase: “You have my word on it.”
Claim to fame: Joe Isuzu (David Leisure) would tell you anything to get you into a new Isuzu. (“It has more seats than the Astrodome!”)
Strength: His creativity with the truth bordered on genius. Plus, he loved his mom.
Weakness: Boy who cried wolf, anybody?
TACO BELL CHIHUAHUA
Product: Taco Bell
Debut year: 1994
Catchphrase: “Yo quiero Taco Bell” and “Drop the chalupa”
Claim to fame: The TBC loved his 39-cent Taco Bell tacos, and he wasn’t shy about telling you. In Spanish, of course. Because Taco Bell is “Mexican” food.
Strength: This bilingual dog probably speaks one more language than you do and looks better wearing a sombrero
Weakness: Would likely suffer life-threatening injuries if a seven-layer burrito were to fall on him.
Product: 9Lives cat food
Debut year: 1969
Catchphrase: “Mmmm, hmm, nommm”
Claim to fame: The finnicky ol’ house cat couldn’t resist 9Lives’ unique recipes
Strength: A master at aloof wordplay: “The Morris-scope says check that out,” and “Savory Stew — stew-pendous!”
Weakness: Kind of a jerk.
Product: Domino’s pizza
Debut year: 1986
Catchphrase: He never spoke, though he inspired the ad campaign’s phrase “Avoid the Noid”
Claim to fame: Psychotic little claymation guy in a red jumpsuit with rabbit ears whose sole purpose in life was to ruin your delivery pizza before it reached your door
Strength: Wields an impressive array of pint-sized weapons, like the spring-loaded pogo-anvil pizza crusher and the subzero ice blower that instantly turns objects into brittle frozen matter
Weakness: Domino’s, man. Like Noid Kryptonite.
Debut year: 2004
Catchphrase: He never really owned a phrase, but the campaign’s is “Mucinex in, Mucus out”
Claim to fame: The blue-collar ball of phlegm is getting comfortable in your lungs, and no amount of hacking is gonna spew him out — unless, of course, you take Mucinex!
Strength: The uncanny ability to make something disgusting somewhat less disgusting
Weakness: You think you’re tough, eh Mucus? Ya ain’t so tough once Mucinex generates those earthquake-sized coughs, knocks you into a black hole and spats you out, though, are ya?