BOSTON (TheStreet) -- The King is dead.
Well, that's not entirely true. But odds are the giant-headed mascot for Burger King may have been overthrown.
Earlier this month, the fast food chain and its ad agency for the past seven years, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, parted ways. That agency created such unusual, viral campaigns as the online Subservient Chicken and the so-called "Creepy King," a rather menacing take on what was once a character meant to appeal to kids.
If BK decides to revamp its King, it won't be the first makeover for the character. Like many of the fantasy-based mascots companies use to promote themselves and specific products, he has evolved over the years.
In recent weeks, there has been considerable chatter about the fate of some other popular mascots and spokes-things as well.
A year after activists started demanding that McDonald's
Punchy, the "how about a Hawaiian Punch" guy, is also undergoing a redesign, one of many he has had over the years. Over time, his quick-to-comical-violence approach to life has been tempered, his clenched fist turned into a "hang loose" hand gesture. In recent years he is no longer a hyperactive troublemaker, but a laid-back surfer dude.
The website for Hawaiian Punch, now owned by Dr Pepper Snapple Group
"Brand characters are unique in that they straddle the worlds of marketing and entertainment," is the pitch offered to clients by offered by Character, an Oregon consultant specializing in company brands (Punchy is among the characters for which it has developed guides). "Clearly they exist to represent a brand, but they live in a consumer frame of reference that puts them in competition with characters from television, movies, video games and novels. To be truly effective, brand characters have to combine the best of both worlds. They must be engaging characters in their own right while staying authentically rooted in the brand."
That yellow, green and red rooster? You know immediately Cornelius is hawking Kellogg's
Planters, owned by Kraft Foods
The following are the stories behind some of the most popular and enduring company and product mascots: