It’s almost the Super Bowl, PopWatchers, (R.I.P. Jets) and shill is in the air. As such, we continue to whittle down the number of contenders in our Big Shill bracket game with two match-ups that are likely to put much strain on the heart of your inner commercial-watching child. Can you take the heat? I certainly hope you can, because you have no choice. Well, technically you do. And here they are:
Toucan Sam vs. the Pillsbury Dough Boy
Mikey from Life Cereal vs. Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef” Lady
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?
PILLSBURY DOUGH BOY
Product: A vast array of Pillsbury products, from biscuits to icing.
Debut year: 1965
Catchphrase: “Nothing says loving like [insert product name here]. Tee-hee!”
Claim to fame: That high-pitched giggle at the end of every ad is easily one of the most instantly recognizable sounds in advertising.
Strength: So adorable, people do not ever seem to mind he’s wandering around their kitchens, randomly interfering with their baking.
Weakness: Those same people simply will not stop touching his tummy.
Product: Life cereal
Debut Year: 1972
Catchphrase: He didn’t have one, but his older brothers sure did. (“He likes it! Hey, Mikey!”)
Claim to fame: He hates everything, but he surprises his older brothers by devouring Life cereal. The original ad, named one of TV Guide‘s greatest 50 commercials of all time, was so popular, it ran for more than a decade.
Strength: Apparently, a very discernible palette.
Weakness: He didn’t actually speak. Some people still probably think the actor that played him, John Gilchrist, exploded after chasing Pop Rocks with Coke.
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.