Just ask Warren Dotz, co-author of Ad Boy: Vintage Advertising With Character (Ten Speed), which features more than 500 of the most outrageous, quirky characters from ads over the decades.
According to Dotz, ad characters are often so identifiable, they have no problem slanging products.
He remembers being mesmerized by Mister Softee, the 60s ice cream icon as a kid, which often left him begging his mom for a cone.
Dotz says the simplicity of vintage ad characters is what makes them so cute and appealing, even if theyre a stretch.
For instance, Columbian rope company Pli-Moor used an ad character in 1958 of a man made out of rope, while Shell fertilizers developed High-Nutrient Fertilizer Man, whose torso was a sack of fertilizer.
Dotz says ad stars that have stood the test of time include Mr. Clean, The Kool-Aid Man, Green Giant, Smokey The Bear, and The Michelin Man, who are still used today by advertisers.
Ad Boy hits shelves this June.
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