Monthly Archives: January 2012
Carl’s Jr. has over the years used various gimmicks, mascots, and slogans to promote their food. But today, I’m going to talk about this series of commercials from the early-mid 90’s which I like to call the Happy & Carl Karcher series. I know what you’re thinking “The star of Carl’s Jr. wasn’t named Carl Jr.?”, fraid not at one point in time the star was a living breathing character named Happy. However I don’t recall ever hearing any body talking about these commercials so that’s why the name Happy didn’t catch on to the public. Which thus to this day people only refer to the star as Carl Jr. So I like to present this article dedicating to both Happy the Star & the original founder of Carl’s Jr., Carl Nicholas Karcher(may he rest in peace).
You know how Carl’s Jr. commercials usually are accompanied by gimmicks. Well this series of commercials makes fun of gimmick use where each one has to do with Happy the Star trying to do a gimmick for a Carl’s Jr. commercial, except Carl Karcher wasn’t interested in doing any such thing for the commercials and feels it’s better to just advertise the food and nothing else. The first four commercials had to do with Happy & Carl being interview on what they are currently serving at their restaurant, what meal is healthy to eat(which Carl replies the Terriyaki Chicken Sandwich), acceptance of paying meals with ATM Cards(Explore & Interlink for example), & the advertisement of the Dijon Swiss Burger. The rest of the commercials are set at either a local restaurant or somewhere else to match the theme of the commercial. Happy would often be seen trying to convince Carl that their commercials need gimmicks cause that’s how all fast food establishments advertise their own products these days. However Carl will remain loyal to what he’s doing cause he believe that customers will only be interested in the food and nothing else that is associated with the products. The commercials often have the slogan “Go for the food” and sometimes end with Happy going up to a Carl’s Jr. sign and turn into the logo we all know. After no more than 12 commercials, this series quickly went off the air, sometime in the mid 90’s. Carl’s Jr. went on to doing commercials entirely based on gimmicks, something that Happy Star would have love to see. But unfortunately Happy was never used again in any future Carl’s Jr. commercials. Today it seem hard to believe that Carl’s Jr. used to have a mascot for their company that also serve as their logo.
I was probably the only kid who knew these commercials existed at the time, cause I don’t recall any kid at my school talking about Happy the Star or even address the logo of the restaurant as Happy for that matter. Sure they know the McDonald Land & McWorld commercial series, but not this series except for the old “If it doesn’t go over the place, it doesn’t belong on your face” slogan for Carl’s Jr.(yeah it does sound nasty for a slogan). Which is why this series of commercials are more than qualified to be on this blog. The reason why these commercials were special, was because they were well written and did something that was rare at the time which was making fun of gimmick filled commercials. Not to mention this was one of the fewest commercials I’ve seen that had Carl Karcher in them, the only other fast food founders I’ve seen that star in their own commercials are Dave Thomas of Wendy’s & The Colonel of KFC. There’s not much to be said about the background on these commercials or even the info on the voice actors besides Carl himself. The animation consists of water colors which at the time was a common thing to see in artwork of the 90’s cause the moment you see these commercials you’ll already say “It’s the 90’s” right when it starts.
So there you have it, the shocking truth that the star had a name. I’ll do another Carl’s Jr. article sometime in the future, but for now I have some really good articles to write-up for the rest of this month and next month. Since there’s so many video game commercials, I would like to do an article on an Atari commercial which is next week. While the Atari commercial will be none other than the Mario Brothers! Believe it or not, there used to be Nintendo based games made for Atari before Atari had financial problems for their own consoles. Until then enjoy the commercials below this paragraph.
I’ve mentioned these commercials a few times before, and if you were craving to know what the hell I’m talking about threat no more. For I finally decided to do an article on this rare series of commercials that had three different representatives from three different establishments. Which were Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, & KFC; a pizza delivery company, a taco company, and a chicken company worked together back in the late 90s something that was never done before for either of the three mentioned establishments and has never been done again since 1999. Why did these companies worked together for these series of commercials? I’m glad you asked it was because all three of them sell Pepsi drink products and since Pepsi was doing ads for Star Wars Episode 1 so did the eatery establishments themselves. So these commercials were made and I’ll tell you these were the best Star Wars Episode 1 commercials to ever watch on TV.
I’ll exclude my warnings about posting neglected comments on Episode 1 since all of you know I love the movie and loathe people who look at the pet peeves of the movie and not see the great quality The Phantom Menace had to offer. So let’s discuss the content of these commercials. The first commercial starts with the voice of Queen Amidala channeling her distress call telepathically to a statue of Col. Sanders at the Col Sanders Museum. She tells the statue that planet Naboo is being invaded and needs help fighting off the Trade Federation that’s occupying the planet. Then the statue of Colonel Sanders comes to life and immediately jogs to his white custom convertible with a chicken hood ornament. After we see the deceased Colonel come back to life, we then see a Pizza Hut delivery woman receiving the same message(and it appears she’s the only one who can hear the Queen) and starts to dash to her jeep and drives off to a leveled parking lot where she parks her jeep. She then leaps off of the leveled parking lot and lands right in the Colonel’s car. They drove to a Mexican night club to pick up one last companion. Which was none other than the Taco Bell Dog! Once they were together the Colonel’s car jumps into light speed as if it has the same mechanism as the light speed jumps on the space ships of the Star Wars universe. The commercial concludes with the ad for Episode 1 and showing the logos for the three companies that are promoting the movie. The other commercials involved the three characters doing a spoof of the original poster for Episode 4 the New Hope and fighting off Battle Droids on the fields of Naboo. Along with promoting the kids meal toys, game medallions, and a chance to win a million bucks.
My comments on the commercials, they were really well made and I love how the three different fast food establishments agreed to use each of their mascots just for this occasion. Course during the 90s, there were hardly any KFC commercials, but since the Colonel is very iconic he has no trouble being recognized by the public. While the Taco Bell Dog was still popular at the time these commercials were made. Since I already did an article on him last week, I felt it be appropriate to talk about these commercials in a separate article rather than include them with the standalone Taco Bell Dog commercials. The one thing that baffled me was the Pizza Hut Delivery Girl in these commercials wasn’t an actual mascot compared to the other two. I mean yes, Pizza Hut has had it’s fair share of commercials using delivery people but I don’t ever recall seeing this woman used for any such commercials. I was surprised that Pizza Hut didn’t use Pizza Head for these commercials cause he’s more of a mascot than the Delivery Girl we see here. But since it be a real drag to have Pizza Head be carried around by the Colonel or the Dog around in these commercials, I guess that’s the reason why Pizza Hut decided to use an anonymous delivery woman for these commercials. At least Pizza Head did got to promote Star Wars when he was still used as a mascot for Pizza Hut. Like Marphalump, these mascots weren’t used again for the promotion of Episodes 2 & 3. But despite that they were only used for just this movie’s promotion, I still regard these commercials to be memorible and a must see for any Star Wars fan.
Anyways those were my thoughts on the commercials. To wrap this article up I provided every single KFC/Taco Bell/Pizza Hut related commercial I could find. For next week I decided to do an article on a long forgotten series of Carl’s Jr. commercials. Noticing I haven’t done one yet, I’ll gladly do one for next. Until then enjoy the commercials below.
Here’s another mascot I was bound to do eventually. As well as another mascot that made a big impact towards the American Culture for a lifetime. And that mascot is none other than Taco Bell’s Chihuahua. Before Taco Bell became controversial due to health issues, reports of food poisoning, and the lack of info on what’s inside their meat. The mid 90s was a more simpler time for the company, and the Taco Bell Dog represented that era. So without further a-do let’s talk about the Taco Bell Dog.
Back in September 1997, Taco Bell & TBWA Worldwide company created a commercial about a chihuahua who craves for Taco Bell. The effect of a dog talking was done in the same fashion as other live action talking animal medias by the use of computers to make it seem like the dog was talking. Voiced by Carlos Alazraqui(Rocko himself), while a total of two different dogs were used to portray the mascot. The first dog was name Dinky while the one you see for the remainder of commercials was Gidget Chipperton. The first commercial of the dog was an instant hit, once people heard him say “Yo Quiro Taco Bell”(I want some Taco Bell) the dog became a celebrity. Thus a series of commercials were made for the next four years featuring the dog as a Che Guevara impersonator, hanging out with Zilla, & teaming with Colonel Sanders & a random Pizza Hut Delivery Woman(an article for next week). The one-liners and the suave attitude the dog has towards anything that’s offered on the menu at Taco Bell was what made him so memorible. During the 90s there wasn’t a living person who wouldn’t know who this dog was. The most memorable commercial would have to be the one with Ricardo Montalban making a cameo appearance. To those of you who are between the ages of 57-34 would know him best as Mr. Roarke of Fantasy Island or Ramado from Escape from the Planet of the Apes/Conquest of the Planet of the Apes while those of you between the ages of 33-20 would know him best as Armondo Guitierrez from Freakazoid. The dog eventually received merchandising deals that includes bobble heads and talking plushies(which I still own one that’s somewhere in my closet). Beisdes the “Yo Quiro Taco Bell” quote, the dog has used other memorible quotes like “Drop the chalupa!” which became immortalized on the Sportcenter channel. “Viva Gorditas!” which was used for the dog’s revolutionary commercials and finally “Uh-oh. I think I’m going to need a bigger box” for the Zilla commercials.
The Taco Bell Dog’s popularity came to an end in 2001, for what reason? There were numberous reasons what Taco Bell no longer uses the dog for their ads. First off, the taco Bell corperation ended its relationship with TWBA along with a replacement president after store sales fell 6% in the second quarter of the year 2000. Secondly there were rumors that the dog past away when it was alive and well. Other reasons involved Latin Americans accusing the dog to be a cultural stereotype. With support of this claim Carlos Alazraqui’s voice actor friend Tom Kenny(Hefer from Rocko & Spongebob himself) said that Hispanic advocacy groups lobbying for the end of the campaign led to the cancellation of the dog’s commercials. Which I find that fact to be a bunch of bull. If Latin Americans had issues towards the Taco Bell Dog, then why was Speedy Gonzales pardoned when they told Warner Bros. they weren’t offended by the mouse. Not to mention Speedy Gonzales, Slowpoke Rodridges, and every single Looney Tune that takes place in Mexico are more stereotype material compared to the Taco Bell Dog commercials.
The Taco Bell dog would make one final appearance in a 2002 Geico commercial where he attends a Geico Spokesperson Audition, which we see a waiting room filled with “Possible Geico Stars”. The Geico Gecko himself was next and right when he approaches the door he comes across the previous audition who was the Taco Bell Dog. The Gecko says hello to him, but the dog wasn’t too happy about seeing another talking animal trying to compete with him which he reply “Ah, great a talking gecko.” The Geico Gecko has remained a mascot for Geico much longer than Taco Bell had their own dog for a mascot. Since he’s still widely used for Geico, he’s no where close to being a forgotten character as of yet. Though, I’ll se about doing a Geico article in the future, since they had so many gimmicks and mascots over the years besides the gecko.
In 2003, Taco Bell lost a lawsuit by two Michigan men, who pitched the idea of the dog to Taco Bell 6 years earlier. The company turn them down, but took the idea with TWBA as their own creation. After the two guys sued the company, they received $30.1 million plus $12 million in additional interest three months later. Taco Bell in turn sued their former partner TWBA with a statement that they should have been aware of the conflicts. On July 21, 2009; Gidget the Taco Bell dog passed away at age 15 due to a stroke. The dog was cremated, and the ashes were retained by its owner Sue Chimeny.
Despite Taco Bell no longer using a dog for their ads, Taco Bell Dog will always be remembered for being part of Taco Bell’s more peaceful era. All of the merchandise on the dog can be found at various auctions and collector stores. While the one liners he mutters are often quoted in certain TV shows, movies, or sporting events. So after telling the history about this dog, I like to wrap this article up with every single Taco Bell Dog commercial I could find. For next week will be the long waited KFC, Taco Bell, & Pizza Hut crossover commercials.
Out of all of the pizza mascots out there I believe this one is the most unique of all. Besides Little Caesar, I was a huge fan of Pizza Head the star of his own series of commercials called The Pizza Head Show. If you remember seeing these commercials under the age of 12 then you’re between the ages of 22-31. If you were born after the mid 90s, then there’s no way you could have remember this. So for those who remembered and those who don’t, I present to you an article dedicated towards the one and only Pizza Head Show.
The Pizza Head Show was a collection of commercials created by San Francisco’s Goodby Silverstein & Partners and all of the commercials were directed by Walter Williams the creator of The Mr. Bill Show. He directed a all of the commercials of Pizza Head from 1993-1997. During this period the company tried to attract kids and pre-teens to their business by using a character to create the promotion that Pizza Hut is weird fun. All of the commercials are similar to a Mr. Bill skit. Pizza Head was Mr. Bill, Pizza Cutter Steve was Sluggo, & the unseen Narrator was Mr. Hands. Every single commercial starts off with Pizza Head doing an activity, promoting a new pizza at Pizza Hut, or mentioning what merchandise Pizza Hut was offering at the time. The Narrator would then introduce Pizza Head to Pizza Cutter Steve who is always seen disguised as a Chef, Coach, Referee, etc. Pizza Head always sees through the disguise and says “Wait, he’s not a real (insert occupation)” but the Narrator would always reassure Pizza Head by telling him “Sure he is”. Then the Narrator & Steve would get Pizza Head into a jam by putting him through various tortures. Most of the commercials would feature a model of a Pizza Hut restraunt being destroyed by something.
The commercials were an instant hit to the kids and for the next four years Pizza Head would be seen in at least 16 commercials in total. Pizza Head has been seen prompting Streetballs, Marvel Comics/Cards/Cups, K’Nex, Autographed baseball bats/balls, Rawlings Basketballs, Star Wars Posters, Goosebumps Glow/Tell Story Card Sets, & Real Adventures of Jonny Quest toys. Just thinking of these merchandises makes me think of the 90s. I mean when was the last time you heard people talk about Goosebumps, K’Nex, & the Real Adventures of Jonny Quest series. The thing that made Pizza Head most appealing is the idea for all of the commercials having sets & locations that were used that gave the commercials a low-budget look to them. Out of all of the commercials, my all time favorite commercial was the “Pizza Head Flies High” skit. The one with Pizza Head being on a plane and gets attacked by a jet piloted by Pizza Cutter Steve. The whole scene was a parody of the Helicopter scene from Apocalypse Now that popularize the score “Ride of the Valkyries”. Ever since that movie came out almost every aircraft related scene in a cartoon, TV show, video game or movie uses “Ride of the Valkyries”. Course who doesn’t love hearing that score?
Pizza Head and the rest of the cast vanished sometime in 1997 without any explanation to why. As Pizza Hut ended up marketing commercials with different gimmicks that aren’t entirely aimed towards kids as they went for a different approach in their marketing as hinted in their recent commercials. I’m surprised they dropped Pizza Head as their mascot, cause I was disappointed when he wasn’t teamed up with Colonel Sanders & Taco Bell Chihuahua for the Taco Bell, KFC, & Pizza Hut team up commercials for Star Wars. I know I mentioned this commercial before, but give me more time to consider doing an article on that one. I still think of Pizza Head to this day as he was the very character I associate with when it comes to eating Pizza at Pizza Hut. It be really cool if Pizza Hut used Pizza the Hut from Spaceballs for their own commercials, least that’s a commercial I’d totally would make if I had the opportunity. Anyways hope you enjoyed this article as much as I do, cause Pizza Head deserves more from what he accomplished for Pizza Hut.