The Keebler Elves? Eaten for lunch. Joe Isuzu? DQ’d for lying on his resume. Lucky the Leprechaun? Not so lucky. For it is Round 2 of EW’s Big Shill bracket game, and the field has been halved. Gone are the one-note wonders whose confident charm once commanded our wallets open — I’m looking at you, Captain Morgan. From here on in, it will take more than just being a beloved icon. You’ve got to have class. You’ve got to have verve. You’ve got to have a corporate entity that can mobilize a web-based community in your support. … You know what? Class and verve actually aren’t all that essential. Grimace — you still got a shot!
For a look at the entire bracket, click here. And if you missed yesterday’s post, be sure to vote for the Noid or the Pillsbury Dough Boy before those polls close. Today’s spotlight match-up features the ultimate man (the Old Spice Guy) versus the ultimate meatball (Chef Boyardee), and there are three other compelling pairings.
Toucan Sam vs. Snuggle the Fabric Softener Bear
Mrs. Butterworth vs. Verizon Wireless “Can You Hear Me Know?” Guy
Tony the Tiger vs. Grimace
Chef Boyardee vs. Old Spice Guy
Check out our contender bios and TV commercial clips, then vote in the polls below.
Product: Fruit Loops
Debut year: 1963
Catchphrase: “Follow my nose! It always knows!”
Claim to fame: Dignified, well-educated avian spokesperson for cereal that ironically contains no actual fruit.
Strengths: Spoke some Pig Latin in original commercials and later developed a British accent
Weakness: Again: British. Accent. What’s not to like?
SNUGGLE THE FABRIC SOFTENER BEAR
Product: Snuggle fabric softener
Debut year: 1983
Claim to fame: Laundry-loving bear hawking fabric softener that rubs himself all over your clean clothes
Strength: Intimidating red eyes
Weakness: He’s naked.
Product: Mrs. Butterworth’s syrups and pancake mixes
Debut year: 1961
Catchphrase: “Mrs. Butterworth’s is twice as thick as the other syrups.”
Claim to fame: Mrs. Butterworth (first name: Joy) is just like your sweet old grandmother — that is, if granny was a talking syrup bottle that you kept locked in the cupboard and only spoke to when you ate pancakes.
Strength: When Mrs. Butterworth tells you that her syrup is thicker and richer, you believe her. She’s so Betty-White convincing that she could just as easily sell car insurance, which she did.
Weakness: She seems a little insecure for an old lady. Why does she always have to compare her syrup to other peoples’? Thick and rich is good enough, Mrs. B.
VERIZON WIRELESS ‘CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?’ GUY
Product: Verizon Wireless
Debut year: 2002
Catchphrase: Need you ask?
Claim to fame: Delivered the phrase most people now use ironically when you can’t hear them. And he looks like Rivers Cuomo.
Strength: Clear cell reception and horn-rimmed glasses.
Weakness: Probably a very large phone bill
TONY THE TIGER
Product: Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes
Debut year: 1951
Catchphrase: “They’re Grrrreat!”
Claim to fame: He brings out the tiger in you. He beat out three other potential mascots for the long-term gig: Katy the Kangaroo, Newt the Gnu, and Elmo the Elephant.
Strength: He’s got a great voice. He knows the value of a good breakfast — and patience. He would only let the children with him accept physical challenges after they ate the cereal. (Watch Tony and Jerry O’Connell bobsled.)
Weakness: Adults may have grown to love the taste, but Tony seems to take a backseat when they’re the target demo.
Debut year: 1971, with a revamp in 1974
Claim to fame: Before there was Shrek, America’s favorite giggle ogre-ish biological anomaly was the fuzzy purple Grimace. Hamburglar might have all the guts, but Grimace gets all the glory.
Strength: Can anyone even remember the name of the chicken girl thing? No. But who doesn’t love Grimace? And shakes?
Weakness: He started out as “Evil” and had to be rebranded.
Product: Various Chef Boyardee canned pasta products
Debut year: 1946
Catchphrase: The original namesake of the brand (whose real name was Ettore “Hector” Boiardi) appeared in some commercials decades ago, but later commercials adopted the memorable tune: “Thank Goodness for Chef Boyardee.”
Claim to fame: His pasta is so simple, even a child could make it! And children are our future. Horrible children.
Strength: The real-life Boiardi catered President Woodrow Wilson’s wedding, so he has the League of Nations on his side!
Weakness: The League of Nations makes the United Nations look like the United Federation of Planets.
THE OLD SPICE GUY
Product: Old Spice body wash
Debut year: 2010
Catchphrase: “Swan dive!”
Claim to fame: The virile renaissance man (played by Isaiah Mustafa) is everything you or your man is not, but at least there is a chance of smelling as great as he does.
Strength: Where do we begin? He can bake a gourmet cake in the dream kitchen he built for you with his own two hands. Plus, he’s on a horse.
Weakness: Does he even know what a swan dive is? Because that’s not a swan dive.