When Cartoons Sold Out: 7 Animated Endorsements That Wouldn’t Die

3. SNOOPY’S SNO-CONES AND INSURANCE

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Perhaps we spoke to soon when we called his Sno-Cone Machine an Odd Snoopy Creation the World Forgot? It turns out you’ve been able to purchase the thing since it debuted in 1979. Here it is on Amazon, shiny and new!

In terms of mascot-based longevity, Snoopy’s Sno-Cone Machine barely edges out the Peanuts’ considerably more high profile affiliation with Met-Life. Unsettling though it may be to see Charles Shculz’s timeless and adorable characters’ as the face of a heartless insurance conglomerate, it’s been that way since 1985, and is likely to continue.

Personal cynicism aside, Schulz reportedly loved the idea of Snoopy helping out a product, and he even drew most of the early ads himself. Folks my age are so used to seeing Snoopy on blimps and hearing an untrained child actor saying “Get Met, it pays” it’s difficult to imagine Metlife and Peanuts without one another. So when MetLife signed a 25-year deal in 2011 to rechristen the New York Giants/Jets stadium in their name, guess who gets to greet sports fans when they walk in?!

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Though wouldn’t it be more fitting to feature Charlie Brown failing to kick Lucy’s football?

2. DONALD DUCK ORANGE JUICE

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I go into this further on the podcast, but Disney doesn’t normally allow their characters to endorse any products. Oh, they’ll have their own toys and merchandise, and occasionally appear smiling on just about any consumer good on a temporary basis, but can you think of any time in the last twenty years recommending, or even holding a product? It should go without saying that there are strict internal rules regarding Disney’s character licensing and it’s my understanding that part of that calls for a distinct separation between our world and theirs.

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The World of Long Ago

Unlike a bunch of the other cartoon characters in this feature, notice how you never see Mickey telling you explicitly go buy or go see anything. That’s because Mickey doesn’t know that you, your world, or said product even exists. Nor does Elsa know she’s in a film called Frozen where Go-Gurt doesn’t exist. Given this loose understanding, it’s virtually impossible for any Disney character to “endorse” anything, and it’s why you’ll never see any Disney character holding a product with their name on it. Except for one.

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Of course this wasn’t always the way. In the days of black and white television, it was not uncommon to see Disney character hocking everything from cars to war bonds. There are various reasons for this, a big one being the Disney company’s financial struggles surrounding World War II, the very period that spawned Donald Duck Orange Juice. And unlike all those other products, Donald Duck Orange Juice has somehow never gone away, released by the same company (currently known as Florida’s Natural) since its inception in 1941.

I’ve poked around and honestly can’t find any reason as to why this product is still on grocery shelves, so I can only speculate that it was either grandfathered into continued existence, or Uncle Walt was bent over a barrel back then and signed an insane contract along the lines of whatever legal voodoo Fox currently holds over the X-Men. Not only is Donald Duck Orange Juice Disney’s longest-lasting licensee, it’s also one of the oldest marketing partnerships in American history.

 

1. FLINTSTONES AND EVERYTHING

There are a million reasons to hate The Flintstones, so for the sake of brevity (and personal growth), I’m only going to name three of them, specifically related to this article. The only thing that irritates more than Hanna-Barbera’s relentless license harvesting from the corpses of its dead, terrible cartoons, is that they’ve actually been successful at it. Some more successful than others.

Yes, Fred has since been scrubbed from Nestle’s sherberty desert pistons, but the Flintstones have shown remarkable longevity on numerous other products. Surely you know what I’m getting to. How about some more RAP!

I don’t think the person who decided to take a boring Post cereal named Sugar Rice Krinkles and skin them with the residents of Bedrock back in 1971 knew that they were on the way to creating the world’s longest-running cereal based on a TV or movie… but here we are. And not even John Cena could unseat Fred Flintstone as the fat, blue collar face of breakfast.

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Nice try, universe!

Hey, kids! Heard of Bewitched, Lost in Space, or Green Acres? Doesn’t matter what your answer is, because you certainly wouldn’t eat a product with any of them emblazoned on the box. You’d probably be correct in your assumption that said product had long ago expired. But those are Fred’s television contemporaries, so be your Pebbles Fruity or Cocoa, it’s nothing short of astonishing that The Flintstones still have multiple widely-available products on the store shelves FIFTY YEARS after their final television episode aired.

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Perfect

While Pebbles cereal took up the focus on our podcast, I failed to mention that it’s not even the longest-running Flintstones product you can still purchase on store shelves. You should’ve known what product has that honor. There are 10 million of you, and allegedly growing.

That’s right, somehow a TV show as bland and asininely stupid as The Flintstones has been synonymous with tastiness and nutrition since 1968. Nostalgic dorks like me probably haven’t thought of Flintstones Vitamins in over twenty years (maybe during the grassroots campaign to get replace the Flintstones’ Car in every bottle with Betty Rubble back in 1995 if I’m being generous), but Flintstones Vitamins have been staples in your healthcare isle longer than Advil has existed and abortion has been legal.

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How an unfunny caveman with medical technology consisting of mostly giant hammers and talking animals managed to eventually represent pediatric health all over the world is too baffling for to contemplate any further. Please excuse me while I back slowly out of this article.

In the mood for more Flintstones mockery? Check out some Ultra-Sad Pictures of Bedrock City. For more crass cartoon commercialization, have a look at some Bizarre Product Placement in Animated Films

8 thoughts on “When Cartoons Sold Out: 7 Animated Endorsements That Wouldn’t Die

  1. Holy shit — I never knew about the Bill Cosby Ecto-Cooler connection!

    ..but where’s Dennis the Menace shilling ‘Cool Treats’ and/or ‘Hot Eats’?? ;-(

    1. BTW that wasn’t meant as a criticism of Chris or his coverage of the topic. Please do more topics like this! 👍

  2. hully shit Andy fuggin’ Capp… aweful!
    you know… Walgreens has some sort of deal with DIsney because their characters appear on tone of “Nice!” branded products. a super smart deal if you ask me. Mickey on apple juice and Elsa on their frosted flakes brand. so good.

  3. Great article AND podcast, Chris!
    I actually heard a story that Charles Schultz had a pond on his property. When it would freeze over in the winter, he liked to let the public skate on it. He was advised against it for the fear of a potential lawsuit if people got injured and knew it was his property.
    Instead of kicking people out he got insurance. The only company that would cover him was MetLife. Which is how the relationship started.
    I have no source to back it up, but it was something I was told.

  4. I stayed away from the ecto-coolers when I was a kid because of my unbridled hatred towards slimer. The voice on that green little shit-stain from the cartoon drove me up the wall. The second the “Real Ghostbusters” became “Real Ghostbusters and that Radioactive Piece of Dick Snot” I was done with that franchise. I agree with Henry, Kool-aid kid all the way!

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