Image Credit: Budweiser Clydesdales: Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagAfter four rounds of Big Shill madness, the wheat has risen. The cream has been separated from the chaff. Three old-school advertising icons have reached the Final Four, joined by one young upstart who’s rallied an army and stuck a stake through the hearts of the competition. Flo the Progressive Insurance Lady isn’t just an enthusiastic ambassador for her product, she’s a warrior. Just ask the debonair Old Spice Guy, who was rudely sent home on the horse he rode in on. Flo is ruthless, but now she faces her biggest challenge yet: the Budweiser Clydesdales, who’ve trampled everyone in their path so far. Can a relatively new insurance gal tame the most iconic American symbol for the most American of beverages — beer? And what about the other semifinal matchup, which many pundits are affectionately calling the Griddle Bowl. We’ll see if the Pillsbury Doughboy is still chuckling after the sweet but savvy Mrs. Butterworth buries a dozen haymakers in his gut. Because this is it. Two of these champions are going home, and the other two will survive to face each other in the most-buzzed-about advertising mascot rumble since Jacko and Max Headroom threw down in Arsenio’s green room back in 1989. Immortality awaits.
The Budweiser Clydesdales vs. Flo the Progressive Insurance Lady
The Pillsbury Doughboy vs. Mrs. Butterworth
Debut year: 1933
Catchphrase: “Clip-clop, clip-clop, clippety-clop”
Claim to fame: These majestic equines have been delivering beer for Anheuser-Busch since the end of prohibition, and their heart-warming commercials are must-sees during the winter holidays and the Super Bowl.
Strength: If the clydesdales weren’t already an American treasure, their post 9/11 ad put them on a sacred pedestal right next to apple pie and baseball.
Weakness: These blue-bloods can make Santa’s reindeer seem inclusive.
FLO, THE PROGRESSIVE LADY (Stephanie Courtney)
Product: Progressive Insurance
Debut year: 2008
Claim to fame: Flo doles out chipper insurance advice to clueless consumers in the world’s cleanest-ever insurance store.
Strength: Never-ending enthusiasm. Also: Bumpit.
Weakness: Did we mention the enthusiasm never ends? Also: Bumpit.
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.