The CGI version of the Kool-Aid Man, as he appears as of 2008 with clothes
|First appearance||July 10, 1954|
|Created by||Marvin Potts|
|Voiced by||Richard Berg (1975–?)
Frank Simms (2000–2016)
Pat Duke (2009 only)
Brock Powell (2016–present)
|Species||Pitcher of cherry Kool-Aid|
|Occupation||Mascot of Kool-Aid|
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, gigantic pitcher, filled with cherry 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 while yelling his catch-phrase "Oh, yeah!".
The precursor to Kool-Aid Man, the Pitcher Man, was created on July 10, 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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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. In 2009, the live-action character was reintroduced, playing street basketball and battling "Cola" to stay balanced on a log, were he was voice by Pat Duke.
In popular culture
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. The Kool-Aid Man has made several appearances on the television series The Simpsons and Family Guy, including as a playable character in Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff.
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?"
- Foster, Nancy (11 August 2005). "The Life and Times of an American Icon". Hastings Tribune. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
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- "1978 Kool-Aid "Bank Robbers" Commercial". General Foods. 1978.
- "1979 Kool-Aid "School Dance" Commercial". General Foods. 1979.
- "1980 Kool-Aid "Bumper Cars" Commercial". General Foods. 1980.
- "1980 Kool-Aid "Apple flavor" Commercial". General Foods. 1980.
- Adventures of Kool-Aid Man Comic Vine. Retrieved on 8-12-11.
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- ""You can meet me, Captain Kool-Aid, at Centreville." ad". The Toronto Star. 26 May 1979. p. J3.
- "Watch afternoon air show from waterfront at CNE". The Toronto Star. 5 September 1981. p. A14.
- "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.
- Russeth, Andrew. "The Man Behind the Curtain: At MoMA, a David Hammons Hidden Behind Silk". Gallerist NY. Observer Media Group. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
- Suttell, Scott (May 12, 2016). "Hey Kool-Aid! Have you met Flo?". Crain's Cleveland Business. Crain Communications, Inc. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- Carbone, Nick (August 24, 2011). "Top 10 Creepiest Product Mascots". Time. Retrieved 11 March 2012.