Kool-Aid Man

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Kool-Aid Man
Kool-Aid advertisements character
Kool Aid Man.jpeg
First appearance 1954
Created by Marvin Plotts
Species Giant Pitcher
Gender Male

Kool-Aid Man is the mascot for Kool-Aid, a brand of flavored drink mix. The character has appeared on television and print advertising as a fun-loving and avuncular gigantic pitcher, filled with red Kool-Aid and marked with a smiley face. He is typically featured answering the call of children by smashing through walls and furnishings, holding a pitcher filled with Kool-Aid.

History[edit]

The precursor to Kool-Aid Man, the Pitcher Man, was created in 1954 by Marvin Potts, an art director for a New York advertising agency hired by General Foods to create an image that would accompany the slogan "A 5-cent package makes two quarts." Inspired by watching his young son draw smiley faces on a frosted window, Potts created the Pitcher Man, a glass pitcher with a wide smile emblazoned on its side and filled with Kool-Aid. It was one of several designs Potts created but the only one that stuck, and General Foods began to use the Pitcher Man in all of its advertisements.[1][2]

Kool-Aid Man making his trademark entrance in a 1978 Kool-Aid commercial.

Beginning in the mid-1970s, Kool-Aid Man was introduced as a walking/talking 6-foot-tall pitcher of cherry Kool-Aid, reportedly voiced by Grey Advertising composer, Richard Berg.[3][4] Children, parched from playing, or other various activities, would typically exchange a few words referring to their thirst, then put a hand to the side of their mouths and call forth their "friend" by shouting "Hey, Kool-Aid!", whereupon, the Kool-Aid Man would make his grand entrance, breaking through walls, fences, ceilings or other furnishings, uttering the famous words "Oh yeah!", then pour the dehydrated youngsters a glass of Kool-Aid from his own supply.[5][6][7] Beginning in 1979, in what was seen as a major advance in children's advertising, the character's mouth was animated to "move" in synchronization with the voice actor's singing and/or dialogue.[8][9][10]

By the 1980s, the Kool-Aid Man had attained pop culture icon status. In 1983, he was the subject of two Kool-Aid Man video games for the Atari 2600 and the Intellivision systems. He was also given his own short-lived comic book series, The Adventures of Kool-Aid Man. This ran for three issues under Marvel Comics from 1984-'85 and continued with issues #4-7 under Archie Comics, with art by Dan DeCarlo, from 1988-'89.[11]

In 1994, the live-action character was retired. From that point until 2008, the character became entirely computer-generated; however, other characters, such as the children, remained live-action. In the 2000s, singer and voice-over artist, Frank Simms began voicing the character.[12][13][14] In 2008, the live-action character was reintroduced riding down a ramp with his skateboard and falling, whereupon the children revive him with sugar-free Kool-Aid. More recent Kool-Aid commercials have featured a new and different live-action Kool-Aid Man playing street basketball and battling "Cola" to stay balanced on a log.

From at least 1979 to 1981, the character was known in Canada as Captain Kool-Aid.[15][16][17]

In popular culture[edit]

American artist David Hammons used Kool-Aid and incorporated a stamp of the Kool-Aid Man for a piece that hung in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.[18] The Kool-Aid Man has made several appearances on the television series Family Guy, including as a playable character in Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff.[19]

Reception[edit]

Time magazine included the Kool-Aid Man on a list of the "Top 10 Creepiest Product Mascots", saying, "Our biggest gripe with Kool-Aid Man: Why did he have to cause such a mess every time he entered the scene?"[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Foster, Nancy (11 August 2005). "The Life and Times of an American Icon". Hastings Tribune. Retrieved 11 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "1950s Kool-Aid "5¢ Package" Commercial". General Foods. ©1950s.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ "Original Kool-Aid Man: Bring Him Back, Kraft". Youtube.com - Nalts. January 11, 2008. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  4. ^ "All Kinds of People". AT&T Tech Channel. January 4, 2012. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  5. ^ "1976 Kool-Aid "Roller Rink" Commercial". General Foods. 1976. 
  6. ^ "1977 Kool-Aid "Skateboarding" Commercial". General Foods. 1977. 
  7. ^ "1978 Kool-Aid "Bank Robbers" Commercial". General Foods. 1978. 
  8. ^ "1979 Kool-Aid "School Dance" Commercial". General Foods. 1979. 
  9. ^ "1980 Kool-Aid "Bumper Cars" Commercial". General Foods. 1980. 
  10. ^ "1980 Kool-Aid "Apple flavor" Commercial". General Foods. 1980. 
  11. ^ Adventures of Kool-Aid Man Comic Vine. Retrieved on 8-12-11.
  12. ^ "A Famous Voice Lends His Talent to Worthy Cause". Darien News-Review. March 3, 2006. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  13. ^ "America: Live in Ridgefield". The News-Times. June 5, 2008. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Meet the Voice of the Kool-Aid Man". Adweek. August 29, 2012. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  15. ^ ""You can meet me, Captain Kool-Aid, at Centreville." ad". The Toronto Star. 26 May 1979. p. J3. 
  16. ^ "Watch afternoon air show from waterfront at CNE". The Toronto Star. 5 September 1981. p. A14. 
  17. ^ "Bent Wind Interview Marty Roth". It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine. 13 October 2011. Shortly after, we received a call from ‘General Foods Ltd’ who were interested in doing an east coast tour with us and ‘Captain Kool-Aid’ and they asked me to write the new Kool-Aid jingle, which I did. Unfortunately, after we released the Kool-Aid song as a free giveaway during the tour, General Foods concluded that the song belonged to them and there would be no payment at all for my writing the song. 
  18. ^ Russeth, Andrew. "The Man Behind the Curtain: At MoMA, a David Hammons Hidden Behind Silk". Gallerist NY. Observer Media Group. Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  19. ^ http://familyguyaddicts.com/2014/09/26/quest-for-stuff-quick-walkthrough-kool-aids-endless-summer/
  20. ^ Carbone, Nick (August 24, 2011). "Top 10 Creepiest Product Mascots". Time. Retrieved 11 March 2012. 

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