Not everything in the world of Fast Food is all baked apple pies & Happy Meals, kids. Some spokes-creatures are far more disturbing than pink slime and McRibs combined. While marketing executives labor long hours coming up with new Mascots to entice hungry dollar holders through door & arches, often the results are abominations that haunt us during commercial breaks and then in our dreams for years to come.
The Noid harassed Dominos Pizza pies in the late 80′s in a series of commercials. A tiny gremlin in spandex, this little critter had real anger management issues, as he would routinely do everything but piss all over a Meat Lovers to ruin your home delivery experience. The creepiest fact, bunny ears aside, was that he really only ever conveyed his rage in nonsensical gibberish followed quickly by Looney Tune worthy, copyright infringing violence. Think Daffy Duck meets Adam Sandler.
THE BK KING
Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers, The BK King. All sinister specters who never speak a word before unleashing evil or a Triple Whopper on unsuspecting victims. I’ll give it to Burger King for sticking it out with the King as long as they did. While BK has never really experienced much success in finding a mascot worth carrying the brands torch, the buzz generated by one stealthy dude dressed in royal garb sporting an over-sized paper mache head made the King worth his weight in flame broiled beef.
I’m not sure which is scarier, the fact McDonaldland’s Captain Crook looked like a decrepit extra from a Pirates of the Caribbean porn spoof or that he loved Filet ‘o’ Fishes. In the 70′s he would terrorize the televisions, place-mats and subsequently the young minds of anyone who stumbled across this supporting character. It also shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that he was constantly in cahoots with the Hamburglar. Captain Crook would get an 80′s feel good makeover, but the original seafarer was as greasy looking as the infamous, tartar sauce smeared square he was obsessed with pilfering.
QUIZNO’S SINGING FURBALLS
Bulging eyes, horrid dental work & awful singers. Quizno’s furry ratball critters got people talking about the sub chain in a hurry. While Subway had their tall, bespectacled Jaredstein monster, this duo of high pitched hair warblers really pushed the WTF button when it came to redefining marketing via cute talking animals. At least I think they were animals.
When Grimace made his first appearance back in the early 70′s, he was called “Evil Grimace” and had 4 arms, which helped him steal more milkshakes from the rubes running McDonaldland. Over time, he somehow managed to find a questionable mascot surgeon to perform elective limb surgery and dropped the “Evil” moniker. Ask the most seasoned McDonald’s historian as to what Grimace is and you’ll draw a blank stare. One that quickly turns to that of fear & paranoia. Nobody wants to talk about this purple blob of felt & giggles. That just amps the creep factor to 11.
THE ARBY’S MITT
OK, the fact Arby’s employees use a seemingly living, self aware oven mitt when it’s time to extract scalding buckets of roast beef from the broiler never really weirded people out? I could deal with this Hamburger Helper rip-off, as a cute, benign fast food mascot, until I came across the public freak out posted above.
Before the “Hamburglar” had his makeover into a cutesy, anamorphic Muppet wannabe, singing songs and being accepted by the McDonaldland citizens regardless of how many cheeseburgers he pocketed in the name of patty crime, he used to be a creepy looking criminal. A fast food character so seedy looking, you wouldn’t blink an eye if he appeared on an episode of HBO’s “OZ”.
If a zombie was to eat Mister Softee’s head, would it get brain freeze? Seriously though, dude had the worst soft serve perm I’ve ever seen. As a kid, I often imagined what it would be like to come across the real life version of this ice-cream mascot. Does he chocolate dip when going out in the sun? Is he constantly spitting out vanilla on you when he talks?
Whoever said “Everybody loves a clown” never watched Stephen King’s “It” or had a surly Ronald McDonald impersonator terrorize them at a McBirthday party. If you get a phobia named after you (Coulrophobi) then there has to be a decent sized customer base that McDonald’s was cheerfully content to walk away from when making Ronald their pasty faced, ginger maned spokesperson. Ever see his brethren at work? 24 of them in a VW Bug? That’s sorcery dammit.