Our Big Shill bracket game has moved into its quarterfinals, PopWatchers, and today’s two matchups have the potential to be historic duels. First, you have Snap, Crackle, and Pop triple-teaming the Pillsbury Dough Boy, evoking memories of the Ghostbusters taking on the giant Stay Puft marshmallow man. And then, in a contrast of styles, prim Mrs. Butterworth rolls up her sleeves to slug it out with the Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef” lady. This is why they train. This is why Mrs. B. gets up at five in the morning and eats that extra pancake. This is why the WtB Lady spends thousands of hours in front of the mirror, practicing the same hilarious line. Two dames enter; one dame leave.
Snap, Crackle, and Pop vs. the Pillsbury Dough Boy
Mrs. Butterworth vs. The “Where’s the Beef” Lady
SNAP, CRACKLE, AND POP
Product: Rice Krispies
Debut year: 1928
Catchphrase: Their names ARE their catchphrase. Would that we all could say the same.
Claim to fame: More than 80 years after their introduction, the elves still appear young (and perpetually in the midst of an incredible sugar high.) And in all that time, they’ve barely changed their fashion.
Strength: International men of mystery, the elves hold several foreign passports with different names. (In Finland, they’re called Riks, Raks, and Poks. In Germany, they’re called Knisper, Knasper, and Knusper.) That could come in handy if espionage is required.
Weakness: Weak link Crackle is known to fold under pressure.
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: 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.
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.