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Marketing Mascots October 3, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Food & Drink, Humor.

These stacked wooden crates of oranges and sweet potatoes caught my eye at Cracker County.

The crates of oranges from Wauchula look inviting ~ I’d buy them even if I couldn’t (1) pronounce Wauchula (derived from the Miccosoukee Indian word Wa-tu-la-ha-kee, meaning “call of the sand hill crane”), or (2) locate the town on a map.

In fact, Wauchula claimed its place on the map as the location of the notorious Baby Swap which took place at Hardee Memorial Hospital in 1978, when  babies Arlena Twigg and Kimberly Mays were switched and sent home with the wrong parents.  On purpose.

The event, documented in the book The Baby Swap Conspiracy by Loretta Schwartz-Nobel, featured in the 1991 made-for-TV movie Switched at Birth.

Even knowing all that . . . I would still buy oranges from Wauchula.

In contrast, a possum is NOT the marketing mascot I would choose for sweet taters . . . no matter their originating locale.

The same holds true for opossums . . . which are not as cute as possums.

In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that I would rather not see rodents, reptiles, or marsupials in close proximity to my foodstuffs.

Or any of my stuff.  Ever.

Even if they are stuffed.  Or playing possum:

When threatened or harmed, opossums will “play possum,” mimicking the appearance and smell of a sick or dead animal. When “playing possum,” the animal’s lips are drawn back, the teeth are bared, saliva foams around the mouth, the eyes close or half-close, and a foul-smelling fluid is secreted from the anal glands. 

Wikipedia ~ Opossum (in Public Domain)

 This physiological response is involuntary (like fainting), rather than a conscious act.  Their stiff, curled form can be prodded, turned over, and even carried away without reaction.

The animal will typically regain consciousness after a period of between 40 minutes and 4 hours, a process which begins with slight twitchings of the ears. [Source:  Wikipedia, Opossum]

Now, I don’t know much about marketing and advertising, but nothing about that description screams “FOOD MASCOT” to me.

Wikipedia ~ Tony the Tiger (in Public Domain)

Perhaps possums should stick to “playing possum” and leave the bailiwick of “food marketing mascot” to such notable celebrities as:

Tony the Tiger ~ They’re G~R~E~A~T!

Keebler Elves ~ Uncommonly Good

Budweiser Frogs ~ Bud~Weis~Er

Chester Cheetah ~ It Ain’t Easy Being Cheesy

Aah . . . that’s better!

TucanWhat say you?  Any favorite marketing mascots?  The Clydesdale horses? The Lucky Charms Leprechaun (“magically delicious”)?  The Fruit Loops Toucan?

What about Ronald McDonald and the Hamburgler?  Or Mayor McCheese?

Please don’t say Burger King’s King ~ that enormous Mardi Gras head with its leering grin is C~R~E~E~P~Y.

For a FUN poem about, in part, possums playing dead ~ The Really Awful Reality of Illusion (Colonialist)


1. suzicate - October 3, 2012

Oh, Tony the Tiger…what happened to Tony? He was G-R-E-A-T!

nrhatch - October 3, 2012

He was G~R~E~A~T! The #1 Marketing Mascot I see these days is the Geiko Gecko. And the AFLAC Quacker. 😆

2. sweetdaysundertheoaks - October 3, 2012

Possums are just creepy. They creep me out when I see them around the Tiny Ten. I give them lots of room to get where they are waddling.

nrhatch - October 3, 2012

I know, right?! Whoever thought POSSUM was a good branding tool for sweet potatoes needs to give it another think! 😀

sweetdaysundertheoaks - October 3, 2012

Or get up close to a possum playing dead! I had no idea they sent out a dead stink smell until you posted Nancy. Almost has me turned off of sweet potatoes just thinking about it. And I love my sweet potatoes!

nrhatch - October 3, 2012

Sweet potatoes are so delicious, they can sell themselves! Possums need not apply. 😀

3. Andra Watkins - October 3, 2012

My now-deceased dog encountered a possum in our back yard once. She had to go outside for a tinkle in the middle of the night, and it hissed at her. She ran back up the steps and hid behind my legs. Clearly, she was saying, “Protect me! Protect me from that thing!”

nrhatch - October 3, 2012

Aww . . . that is sweet!

Possums look rather fierce when they hiss (and almost cute when they carry their babies around, lined up on their backs).

4. katecrimmins - October 3, 2012

I also pass on the possum. We have them here but I rarely see them. I think they are nocturnal. There are a lot of more fun critters to use!

nrhatch - October 3, 2012

If I see them out during the day, it’s usually as road kill . . . unless, of course, they’re just playing possum.

That’s a marketing mantra ~ The cuter the critter, the more consumers onsume. 😉

5. colonialist - October 3, 2012

The possums could certainly be a model for the acting profession. They put heart and soul into playing dead in full smellorama.

nrhatch - October 3, 2012

They prove the axiom . . . there are no small parts, just small actors. 😉

colonialist - October 3, 2012

With a most definitely non-speaking part! 🙂

nrhatch - October 3, 2012

Yes . . . just a HISS or a KISS. 😉

6. kateshrewsday - October 3, 2012

Some jolly pertinent points, Nancy 😀

nrhatch - October 3, 2012

I’ve often wondered about the difference between Possum and Opossum . . . and now I know! 😀

7. Maggie - October 3, 2012

I hate Burger King’s King. But I always did like the Little Caesars Pizza guy.

nrhatch - October 3, 2012

Good pick, Maggie. Love his voice, “Pan. Pan.” 😀

8. Three Well Beings - October 4, 2012

I was following along and right there with you enjoying the story of the oranges and remembering the story of the two babies switched at birth! The switch to the potatoes and possums…I think of them as rodents, too, turned really creepy! 🙂 They really make my skin crawl! I can’t imagine why anyone would think they make a good marketing mascot! Still shivering….D

nrhatch - October 4, 2012

I know, right?! Just an odd choice all the way around . . . unless the grower’s last name happened to be “Possum.” 🙄

Sorry about the shivers, Debra. I had hoped to dispel the nocturnal marsupial gloom by ending with Tony and friends.

9. jannatwrites - October 4, 2012

Hahaha! I’m with you on the Burger King mascot. He gives me the creeps! Possum sweet potatoes is just odd. A picture of a rodent checking out a sweet potato makes me want to buy them (hey, if they’re good enough for a rodent, they must be good enough for me.)

nrhatch - October 4, 2012

BFF says that Burger King is rethinking the King . . . he may be dethroned anon.

Although possums look like rats and other rascally rodents, they are actually marsupials . . . kin to Kangaroos, Koalas, Wombats, Wallabys, Bilbys, Bandicoots, Quolls, Pademelons, and the Tasmanian Devil.

Opossums are the only marsupial native to North America, but that doesn’t make them any cuter. :mrgreen:

10. William D'Andrea - October 4, 2012

Where I live, here on Long Island, I sometimes walk past ‘possums who made the mistake of playing dead in the middle of the street. While doing so they’ve been struck by cars, which ripped them open, so they were no longer playing.

nrhatch - October 4, 2012

Ouch! That’s gonna leave a mark! 😯

11. spilledinkguy - October 4, 2012

My wife just started crocheting a possum a few days ago.
Neither of us are really sure why, but… anyway.
When she finishes it maybe I should prop him up against a pile-o-fruit and see what she says.

nrhatch - October 4, 2012

Seriously? And neither of you are really sure why? How . . . UNIQUE!

That said, when her crocheted possum is done, we’d love to see it! Fruit and veggies optional.

12. bluebee - October 4, 2012

I’d never heard of the baby swap case – very interesting and sad.
Those opossums are wily ones – how funny.
I think Ronald McDonald (if that’s the clown) is very creepy.
Bees make good (and appropriate) food mascots 😉

nrhatch - October 4, 2012

Bees make excellent food mascots ~ there’s a lovely and cheery looking bee on Honey Nut Cheerios.

Ronald McDonald is a bit creepy . . . but the Ronald McDonald House is wonderful ~ providing a place for parents of sick children to stay so they can be near the hospital.

I often wondered if I had been swapped at birth since I’m quite different from my other 3 siblings. 😉

13. Perfecting Motherhood - October 5, 2012

Every time I see a possum playing dead, I can’t help but think about 2 movies: Over the Hedge and Ice Age 2 and 3. These are the most famous possums playing dead in the history of cinema.

nrhatch - October 5, 2012

I love animated animals . . . cartoon possums are cute!

14. Team Oyeniyi - October 5, 2012

I am of the belief, not that I have seen one yet, that we have possums in the tree in the neighbour’s yard. I hear noises at night that remind me of my childhood.

we do buy oranges in boxes that size, but not from that location!

nrhatch - October 5, 2012

And your possums are probably the “real deal” . . . not opossums playing possum! 😀

15. Booksphotographsandartwork - October 13, 2012

I had no idea that a possum would go to that great a length to play dead. That is very interesting. I liked the horses and the toucan. Oh my some fruit loops would be deliscious.

nrhatch - October 13, 2012

Here’s to a speedy recovery, Linda . . . so you can dive into Fruit Loops and chomp away!

16. colonialist - October 15, 2012

With typical absent-mindednes, I had forgotten where I got the prompt for that part of my rhyme – here, of course! Muchos gracias.

nrhatch - October 15, 2012

No worries, Col. I loved what you did with Sidey’s theme and thought weaving possums playing possum into it was brilliant.

And you’re welcome. I “borrow” thoughts and ideas all the time . . . without being able to remember (or credit) the source when I finally get around to sharing my conceptualization or perspective with others. We are, each of us, an amalgamation of thoughts from different sources.

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