A Roundup of Silly, Ill-Conceived Mascots

As much as we’d all love to make room in our schedules for St. Patrick’s Day Festivities this Wednesday, work and familial realities often mean putting off those green beers until the weekend.

Never fear. Something else delicious (and green) shows up every March in the form of the minty, cool Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s.

What’s even more delicious about the Shamrock Shake was its fantastically ill-conceived mascot, Uncle O’Grimacey. Basically, it merged Grimace with a leprechaun; this greener Grimace wore a little shamrock-covered vest and hat, carried a shillelagh and spoke with an Irish brogue (pictured above + video).

In honor of Uncle O’Grimacey, my favorite stereotype-based mascot, I’d like to present a selection of other mascots, equally or more ill-conceived, albeit representing products that are significantly less interesting or delicious than a yearly visit from the Shamrock Shake.

1] The Major League Baseball Cleveland Indian’s mascot, Chief Wahoo — a grinning, be-feathered, even red skinned stereotype of a Native American. Jonathan Zimmerman, a professor of history and education, once wrote in the Christian Science Monitor that Chief Wahoo — “a grotesque caricature grinning idiotically through enormous bucked teeth” — was cartoonish, offensive, and racist. And aside from nostalgic fans determined to dig in their heels, it’s hard to see any compelling reason that the caricature is still around.

2] The Jolly Green Giant. No, no, there’s nothing racist about the Green Giant food brand’s jolly mascot. It’s just, well . . . dude is 60 feet tall. And he’s wearing a tunic. So basically, the implication is all those farmers and his smaller sidekick “Little Green Sprout,” are pretty much looking up at his junk all the time. Ho ho ho indeed.

3] The Hamburger Helper “Helping Hand.” This is a glove with a nose. So the implication is he’s been putting his schnozz all over your food, dishes, whatever. Yuck.

4] Fruit Islands Cereal’s King Ayummayumma. This short-lived Fruity Pebbles knock-off couldn’t come close to Fred & Barney in its choice of mascot. No, this island-themed product decided to get slightly xenophobic and present to us a tribe of cereal-swilling savages, the leader of whom only uttered that one moronic phrase that also happened to be his name: “a yumma yumma.”

With the notable exception of Chief Wahoo, these goofy mascots help make their respective products more memorable and certainly cast them in a more fun light.

Still, you’d think they could put some real pants on Jolly Green. Even Kool-Aid Man traded in showing off his polished butt in favor of wearing shorts these days.


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