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.[5][6][7] Beginning in 1979, 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: Voiced by Seth MacFarlane

  • In the episode "Death Has a Shadow", he bursts through a wall in a courtroom and shouts, "Oh yeah!" after several people say "Oh no!" in succession. Upon seeing he created a scene and no one in the room speaks, he slowly backs out of the large hole he has made in the wall.
  • In the episode "Peterotica", he is shown sitting in his living room when a man crashes through his wall, causing him to realize how it feels to be the target. Later in the episode, after Peter falls off a train and rolls into the same wall again, the Kool-Aid Man moans in disbelief.
  • In "Prick Up Your Ears", after Stewie panics about the existence of the Tooth Fairy, Brian, Chris and Quagmire fail to calm Stewie down. The Kool-Aid Man is then seen in a pair of boxing gloves at the back of the line behind Cleveland, Mayor West, Herbert, The Evil Monkey, Kilobot and Dr. Hartman, all of whom are armed with weapons ready to "console" Stewie one-by-one. This is a reference to a scene in the 1980 movie Airplane!.
  • In "Stewie Kills Lois", once Peter is found guilty for first-degree murder, some people shout "Oh no!" and the Kool-Aid Man once again bursts through the wall screaming "Oh Yeah!". The judge then complains, considering it has happened twice prior.
  • In "The Hand That Rocks the Wheelchair", Evil Stewie lures him out by pretending to impersonate other people going "Oh No!". When he bursts through the wall and shouts "Oh Yeah!", Evil Stewie kills him by beating him to death with a baseball bat and then licking the spilt Kool-Aid off the ground.
  • In "Back to the Pilot", we see the Kool-Aid Man waiting to break through the courthouse like in "Death Has a Shadow". This time, though, he misses his cue after being distracted by Stewie and Brian, and he bursts through the wall too late, interrupting Lois. He slowly backs out of the hole he made and trips, causing him to fall and his "body" to shatter on the ground and the Kool-Aid to spill everywhere. He begins yelling at Stewie and Brian, claiming they were responsible for this incident.
  • In Yo Mamma Jokes! Volume 3, he made an appearance and bursts through the wall, instead of "Oh Yeah!", he shouts "Oh No!" and then explodes. He is voiced by uncredited Dee Bradley Baker.

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?"[19]

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. 
  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. ^ Carbone, Nick (August 24, 2011). "Top 10 Creepiest Product Mascots". Time. Retrieved 11 March 2012. 

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