When corporations trot out a mascot to help sell their product, they usually aim for light, fluffy, and friendly. That way nobody gets upset, nobody writes angry mails, and everybody keeps paying out the nose.
Some companies want to look cool and badass though, in the hopes of attracting those who want only the edgiest, most hardcore auto insurance out there. 99% of the time, they completely miss the mark, which is to be expected. They’re corporations; they don’t know any better. It’s like when Grandma tries to rap, only more pathetic and less self-aware, somehow.
10. The New Chuck E. Cheese
You already know Chuck. But perhaps you missed his extreme makeover early this year, when he transformed from chubby goofball with giant buckteeth, to awesome-sauce Rodent God. He lost weight, ditched the lame-o baseball cap, clipped his ears, got himself a decent dental plan, and picked up the guitar. Also, he wears jeans now, cuz only rebels rock the denim! Well, them and everyone else on the planet, but rebels especially.
Talk about pointless. We’re pretty sure toddlers won’t bug their parents for tokens any more or less, simply because the mouse looks like any “rocker” dude from a Disney Channel Original Movie. You know. The ones who act cool, but ultimately play nothing but goopy ballads. Them.
And the company knows this. They advertise with the new mouse, but the old one is still all over the place. When they stick some poor schlep in the costume, it’s the classic chubby mouse with the stupid green shorts. Clearly, they’re using the new Chuck to lure in young parents desperate to stay hip, only to then slap them in the face with buckteeth and Dumbo ears. Serves them right, by the way. Enjoy your ball pit!
9. The Pacific Wines Boxing Rooster
How does a company, specializing in squished grapes, decide a boxing rooster is the embodiment of everything in their Mission Statement? Are we supposed to believe you’ll get knocked out by their bold wine flavor? It’s wine, not exactly strongman alcohol. You can go to church and get free wine. That should automatically disqualify you from boasting that the consumer will suffer the same fate as Manny Pacquiao if they dare down the stuff.
All would be forgiven though, if the rooster actually looked like he could knock your lights out. But he doesn’t. Look at those eyes; it’s impossible to look more like a derp without drooling all over the place. He looks like he just got knocked loopy himself, and is desperately trying not to succumb to his brand-new concussion. Drink up, broski!
8. Bureau of Land Management’s Seymour Antelope
Well, he seems pissed! We get it though; somebody just cut down all the surrounding trees. So perhaps the BLM, frustrated that their educational messages are going nowhere, wants to scare people into becoming Planeteers. A cranky mascot that can easily make children cry is a good first step. Scar ‘em early, and make them eternally think twice about tossing that soda can into that river.
But his anger is completely offset by those damn shorts. For one thing, they’re not necessary. No normally-naked animal looks good when stuck in pointless clothing. They have fur to cover up their naughty bits, so why shorts all of a sudden? Adding to that, his name really is Seymour Antelope. When you wear little boy pants, and are named after a lame version of a Bart Simpson prank call, you forfeit all right to call yourself a badass. Even if your horns could gore any of us into a bloody pile of intestines.
7. Shirts Our Business’s Slugo
First off: Shirts Our Business? We honestly thought there was a typo on the website. What happened? Did the “are” call in sick on Logo Branding Day? Bad ‘80s videogame Engrish didn’t come out that bad. Most of the time, anyway.
But onto Slugo. His name’s not a pun; it’s actually worse than one. It’s a getit, as in “get it? Eh? Eh? He’s SLUGo, cuz he’s gonna slug ya. A-thank ya, you’re a beautiful audience, remember to tip your waitress.”
And what’s he planning to fight us over? Not buying enough T-shirts? That doesn’t seem like something to get worked up over but, alas, here we are. A balding man with a gigantic head is rolling up his sleeves, and wants to beat you senseless. It’s kind of a crude sales pitch, but effective in the right hands.
Slugo does not possess those hands, by the way. His rampage is hindered by taking Popeye’s body, and saddling it with a head the size of Mr. Met’s. He’s ridiculously top-heavy, which is a recipe for an instant date with the ground. Not a quickie coffee date either. Thanks to that squash of his, he’s spending the night. Try not to snore; it’s rude.
6. Bad Ass Coffee’s Winky The Donkey
A floppy donkey doesn’t seem very macho, right? He comes across instead as Eeyore’s huggable, yet even more depressed cousin. Birthday parties must be a blast in that family.
But here’s the thing: when you just up and call your company “badass,” you damn well better back it up. Unfortunately for poor Winky here, being badass is almost impossible to do if you sell coffee, unless it’s mixed with ghost chili flakes, and drowned in habanero sauce instead of boring-ass light cream.
As you might have guessed, Bad Ass Coffee does not do that. It’s a regular ol’ coffee shop. With a donkey mascot conveniently there to dispel anybody who questions its name. “No no, we’re not saying WE’RE badass. We’re talking about a donkey, an ass. There’s a whole Hawaiian legend about the Bad Ass Donkey that we totally didn’t make up for the shock value! Now buy our beans!”
If Winky can get out of his contract, and take a job at the local petting zoo, then he won’t come across as so dumb. Unless, of course, it’s a BADASS PETTING ZOO. With attitude, grrrrrrrrrrr! Then he deserves all that’s coming to him.
5. Carlton Bitter Beer
Guys in beer suits are nothing new, though it’s always disturbing. “Hey everybody! Drink me! My blood is delicious!” Beer companies know this, so 99% of their beer mascots are goofy, with silly expressions and happy demeanors. It’s a good way to pander to the sensitive drinker, while swiftly dancing around the part where they sell us tasty poison.
Carlton, however, will have none of that. Their beer mascot is IN. YOUR. FACE. He’s big, he’s strong, and he’s dead sexy for a bunch of metal. So naturally, he hangs around sports stadiums, where mascots are required by law to look badass, even if they’re something stupid like an acorn or a geoduck.
Of course, if they really wanted a badass beer can, they need to hire better help. Does this guy have any muscles whatsoever? Those baggy sleeves make him look like he has severe underarm flap, and that he might well be somebody’s 90-year-old grandfather in disguise. And those legs? The chicken earlier in this article doesn’t have chicken legs this bad. They should’ve just hired a female Australian rugby player to play the part. She got legs, and knows how to violently, painfully use them.
4. General Insurance’s General Assurance
The designers mucked this guy up hardcore, by trying to have it both ways: a huggable, lovable, teddy bear, crossbred with a grizzled old soldier who bitches out new recruits for not running ten miles, despite only having 50 pounds of gear strapped to their back. That is, if he can even see the recruits from behind those gigantic eyebrows of his. The company needs to pick a side and stick with it or, better yet, just have his penguin buddy do all the commercials. He seems cool.
Besides, everyone may love soldiers, but making one the face of your insurance company won’t make your insurance any more desirable. It’s still insurance, after all. The sentence “I usually despise paying for protection from stuff that probably won’t ever happen, but these guys support the troops, so it’s OK,” has been uttered exactly once: here. And it will never be uttered again.
3. Daruma’s Angry Daijin
Osaka’s Daruma restaurant features a statue that scowls at you the entire meal, and occasionally shouts DON’T DOUBLE DIP, like a stern parent making sure their child doesn’t dunk their macaroni and cheese into their grape juice. Again.
Granted, this is Japan, and everybody shares the same bowl of sauce in japan, so who knows how many cooties could be spread if double-dipping were allowed. But a shouting statue is still annoying. We can’t say “intimidating,” because he’s certainly not. For one thing, he’s a statue, so he won’t suddenly grab you and curb-stomp you if you disobey his orders. And even if he were real, his weapons of choice are two sticks of meat. Unless he shoves them down your throat, and keeps them there until you choke to death, he probably wouldn’t harm you at all.
Crap, we just gave him an idea, didn’t we? Guess we can’t go THERE if we’re in Japan and hungry. He looks like the kind of statue who never forgets.
2. Taco Boy
This guy is the ultimate in cool-ass attitude. He’s so cool, in fact, he doesn’t even need a full costume! Bulky hands would just get in the way of his tubular nature.
And yes, we looked. This is not a one-off shot of a guy in the middle of putting on his costume. It’s literally just a head and a sombrero every time, because stereotypes kick ass. Speaking of stereotypes, Taco Boy embodies that whole “lazy Mexican” thing, since he just sticks on a head, points to random crap, and expects you to give his company money.
Also, are we the only ones who would refuse to buy food from someone with only two teeth? Crunchy taco shells are one thing, but if they’re basically made out of concrete, all the sour cream in the world won’t make us open up our wallets. Sorry, Carlos Mencia’s Ultimate Fantasy.
1. Casio’s Angry Shock Watches
A couple years ago, Casio decided that they wanted to make watches cool again. But not just any old watch. They wanted to bring back the old-school bulky LED watches, but this time with attitude. So they unleash these tough-looking watches upon us, making it clear that only the hardest of the hardcore can handle their time-telling awesomeness.
They certainly look the part, with angry faces, tough-guy poses, and eyebrows cocked like they’re The Rock, daring you to come at them with your weak little Rolex. But it just reeks of trying WAY too hard. If these things had mouths, they’d probably be barking out DMX-style grunts, or inviting your sister to change their setting to the correct time zone, if you catch their drift. But ultimately, they’re still watches. Some things just cannot be made badass, no matter how many milk-the-cow poses they strike.
Besides, Bieber rocks them, and he can kill your street cred just like that, no matter how cool you act afterwards. If Ludacris is reading this, he’s definitely nodding his head in agreement. While weeping into a pint of Breyer’s Quintuple Chocolate Orgasmic Deathly Delight.
Jason Iannone is a humorist and editor for hire. His Facebook is a rockin’ party, and his Twitter is the awesome afterparty. Tumblr is where he rides out the hangover, and archives anything he writes from anywhere.