The following list of the Top 10 ad icons of the 20th century is in recognition of those images that have had profound resonance in the marketplace. The criteria include longevity, effectiveness, cultural impact and recognizability.
1. The Marlboro Man –Marlboro cigarettes
The Marlboro Man is the character used in tobacco advertising campaign for Marlboro cigarettes. It was used between 1954 and 1999 in the United States, where the campaign originated. The character of the Marlboro Man was designed by Leo Burnett in 1954. The image involves rugged cowboys, in nature with only a cigarette.
2. Ronald McDonald – McDonald Restaurants
Used as a primary mascot of McDonald’s fast food restaurant chain, Ronald McDonald is a clown character widely known by everyone. In the commercials shown on Television, the clown inhabits a fantasy world called McDonaldland. He is seen to engage in adventures with his friends the Hamburglar, Mayor Mcheese, Birdie the Early Bird, Grimace and The Fry Kids.
3. The Green Giant – Green Giant Vegetables
Green Giant refers to the vegetable brand owned by General Mills. This advertising campaign has two mascots, the Jolly Green Giant and his friend Little Green Sprout. The company not only sells canned vegetables but is also the largest purveyor of frozen vegetables both under the Green Giant and Le Sueur brands.
4. Betty Crocker – Betty Crocker Food products
A cultural and personal icon, Betty Crocker is the trademark and brandname of American Fortune 500 Corporation General Mills. In 1921, the name was conceived by the Washburn Crosby Company as a method of giving personalized response to consumer product questions. Betty being a cheerful all American names was chosen for the character.
5. The Energizer Bunny – Eveready Energizer Batteries
The Energizer Bunny is the mascot and marketing icon of Energizer batteries in North America. It is depicted as a pink, toy rabbit wearing white and blue striped sandals and sunglasses. It beats a drum having the Energizer logo. It is a parody of the earlier released Duracell Bunny, seen in Europe and Australia.
6. The Pillsbury Doughboy – Assorted Pillsbury Foods
The Pillsbury Doughboy”, otherwise called as Poppin’ Fresh, is the mascot and advertising icon of The Pillsbury Company and appears in many of their commercials. Though his is mistaken for a bunny by some children he is actually a small anthropoid character apparently made out of dough.
7. Aunt Jemima – Aunt Jemima pancake mixes and syrup
Aunt Jemima is the selected trademark for syrup, pancake flour, and other breakfast foods presently owned by the Quaker Oats Company. The Quaker Oats Company first registered the Aunt Jemima trademark in April, 1937, though the trademark dates back to 1893.
8. The Michelin Man – Michelin Tires
Created in 1898 by a German hermit named Berthold Heinz-Dieter, The Michelin Man is the mascot of Michelin Tires based in Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne région of France. Michelin is mainly a tyre manufacturer and is presently the world’s second-largest tyre manufacturer.
9. Tony the tiger – Kellogg’s sugar frosted flakes
Tony the Tiger is the advertising cartoon mascot for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes otherwise called Frosties breakfast cereal. The mascot appears on its advertising and packaging. Very recently, Tony has also become the mascot for Tiger Power and Tony’s Cinnamon Krunchers.
10. Elsie – Borden Diary Products
An unofficial mascot of the Borden Company, Elsie the Borden Cowis now used to promote the Dairy Farmers of America’s Borden cheese products. Borden was named after Gail Borden, Jr a businessman, philanthropist and inventor who is famous for developing a commercial method of condensing milk first and foremost.