A good mascot can promote a brand unlike anything else. With the right jingle and the proper amount of exposure a mascot can give life to a product in ways that simply can’t be bought. But there is a downside of having a mascot, and that is typically that they are off-putting in some way, ridiculous in others, and of course, capable of scaring away small children and adults alike. Some mascots, despite how positive and fun they’re supposed to be, can come off as downright frightening. A mascot can make people want to buy a product, but in some cases they’re more of a detractor than a smart promotional gimmick. With that said, here are the top ten most disturbing product mascots ever conceived.
Table of Page Contents
- 10. Lips- Dairy Queen
- 9. Michelin Man- Michelin Tires
- 8. Ronald McDonalds- McDonald’s
- 7. Count Chocula- Count Chocula Cereal
- 6. The Kool-Aid Man- Kool-Aid
- 5. The Noid- Dominos
- 4. The Hamburglar- McDonald’s
- 3. Jack- Jack in The Box
- 2. Spongmonkey’s- Quiznos
- 1. The King- Burger King
Here are the Top 10 Most Disturbing Product Mascots
10. Lips- Dairy Queen
It seemed almost like a new and enticing intro to the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”, but once the voice kicked in any viewer could have told it wasn’t the case. While a disembodied pair of ruby-red lips might appear quite harmless in a simple fast food ad, it can be very disturbing to younger viewers that have no idea of the gimmick being used. Needless to say, this was a no-go that actually took some time to get off the air.
9. Michelin Man- Michelin Tires
This mascot is actually one of the least disturbing of the bunch, not that it says anything about his status. In truth the Michelin Man is probably one of the most helpful mascots around. But there is still something a bit disturbing about a humanoid figure that is made up entirely of whitewall tires, especially considering that he tends to fling tires at cars that miraculously attach and fasten themselves. All in all he’s only a bit creepy, but more than enough to make the list.
8. Ronald McDonalds- McDonald’s
The most current incarnation of this famous clown is disturbing enough with his red smile and blazing red locks, but if you ever got a chance to see the original Ronald you might have been wondering what kind of attention McDonald’s was really trying to go for. With a meal tray for a hat, a drink cup for a nose, and a belt that magically produced hamburgers, it’s fair to say that asking “where’s the beef” would be a very bad idea. There is just something inherently off-putting about clowns in general, but with this guy, the effect is more than a little magnified.
7. Count Chocula- Count Chocula Cereal
Where to start? From his eccentric hairstyle to the long, tapering fingers, and the single incisor that juts from his upper jaw, this guy is just flat out creepy. This is not to mention that he is a caricature taken from a far more gruesome and violent figure in literature that is well-known for his less than pleasant characteristics. The cereal that this cartoon figure promotes was more than enough to get kids on board with this character, but the single fact remains that he is just absolutely creep when taken in any other context.
6. The Kool-Aid Man- Kool-Aid
So let’s put aside the fact that the drink this figure is promoting is little more than colored sugar meant to make kids crazy. The other thing that makes him so disturbing is that no matter where he’s called he will break through whatever surface is in his way to announce his famous catchphrase of “Oooh yeah!” Think about it, if you’re in the mood for “juice” and you say it aloud do you really want a big, walking, talking pitcher of red fluid bursting through your wall to serve you up whatever’s sloshing around his insides?
5. The Noid- Dominos
This seemed to be a silly gimmick that really had nothing to do with the product. The Noid hated pizza, or Dominoes pizza in general. It was a gimmick that surprisingly took off for a while, at least until people started to grow tired of the Noid and his many different antics when it came to denying people their hot and steaming pizza. As of now the Noid is considered to be a bit of nostalgia that Dominoes keeps around to release back into the public now and again. Overall however, his strange presence wasn’t missed much once he was taken off the air.
4. The Hamburglar- McDonald’s
While this character was not really all the disturbing he seemed to send a message that parents and others didn’t care for kids to emulate. His whole gimmick after all was theft, even if it was limited to cheeseburgers. The idea of a masked character robbing everyone of their favorite snack seemed to be a little too much for some people, and the Hamburglar has not been seen for quite some time now.
3. Jack- Jack in The Box
Usually when you heard the term Jack in the Box you thought of the old toy box that you would wind until a crazily painted clown came bursting out on a spring. The popular chain of fast food restaurants was doing okay without their mascot, but despite the inherent wrongness of his image, Jack has actually managed to turn more people on to the trend that Jack in The Box has set. While he’s not the creepiest mascot on the list, he definitely seems to exude something that just doesn’t sit right.
2. Spongmonkey’s- Quiznos
The crazy-looking things called sponge monkeys got people talking about Quiznos, but perhaps more in the manner of “why did they do this?” rather than “I’ve heard their subs are good” manner. To start with the short-lived mascots look like talking sponges with eyes and teeth, and aren’t made to seem any more enjoyable when their eyes bug out while describing how good Quiznos is. This attempt at a cute and cuddly mascot is more akin to the result of too many late nights mixed with an overdose of caffeine.
1. The King- Burger King
It’s hard to understand why Burger King, one of the most popular franchises in history, ever thought this was a good idea. While the King might have made headway under normal circumstances, the commercials that he was put in were far too edgy for a fast food franchise. Imagine waking up to see a person in a plastic facemask lurking in your bedroom, or encountering them on a dark street. These were gimmicks that the company actually ran with, and needless to say they made people even less likely to support Burger King.
A great many mascots have come and gone throughout modern history, either because they were so inherently creepy or because, as marketing gimmicks, they just did not work. What executives, designers, and anyone else who has a hand in making such decisions doesn’t seem to understand that if the product is good enough it tends to sell itself. If, as an executive, you don’t want your product to make money, then you might as well line up a parade of disturbing mascots to promote what you’re selling.