Brand Characters that survive, flourish, change with the customers and their aspirations, retain their (simple) characterisation and still manage to exert a peculiar influence on the public.


Snap, Crackle and Pop

The Man with the Gong- J.Arthur Rank Organisation Limited, Film Divisions.
" The Man With the Gong is a Symbol" runs this August 1955 ad. "He symbolises our confidence in the present and our faith in the future." Exactly how this links to a naked man (actually with loin cloth), thumping a huge dimpled gong in slow motion at the beginning of each Rank film was never clearly explained, but it was much loved by the British Public. 10 x 14, illustration by Eric Fraser.

Mister Therm - The Gas Council January 1954, 4 x 5cms. Mr. Therm had been created by the great British illustrator Eric Fraser for the Gas, Light and Coke Company in 1931. The brand character was used by the postwar Gas Council. In 1962, Colman, Prentice and Varley won the account and made the radical move of pensioning off the bright fluttering form of Mr.Therm.
"We had to imply modernity and you can't do that with a symbol which has lasted thirty or forty years. Nobody here has felt that Mr.Therm was going to be a serious possibility for the future." ( Pearson and Turner, The Persuasion Industry Eyre & Spottiswoode London 1965.
This is evidence of the regard in which the symbol had been held. His form was, in visual terms, sufficiently flexible for most of the narratives in which he found himself. He was however stuck with that annoying, wide smile and bright eyed cheeriness that characterised so much of post-war British design (1945 - 1960).

Bertie Bassett Liquorice Allsorts- UK sweets

Phoebe Snow of the Lackawanna



Nipper of HMV

The Quaker

The Jolly Green Giant Minnesota Valley Canning Company December 1949. "How big is tenderness ?" The Giant never developed as a narrative character but was content to loom as a mysterious presence holding monstrously large vegetables. This is a fascinating problem of scale - how to make the produce look appetising - grown and distributed by the Giant, yet not drained of succulence ? It's a BIG problem. The pea the size of a basket ball in a canoe sized pod is not, if you really think about it, very appetising. Green Giant is the largest packer of peas and beans now owned by the Pillsbury Company. The Giant was first drawn and the image patented in 1924 when he looked like a tiny man with big pods. In the 1930's under the skilled supervision of Leo Burnett, he became gigantic, more glamorous and exchanged a tatty Fred Flintstone hair suit for a very racy leaf costume. The Green Giant became in the process "Jolly" . here in his most glamorous incarnation. 11.5 x19cms June 1947 Giant Green Peas Brand . "There's a color rhapsody in the soft green of springtime..."

Johnny Walker Blended Scotch Whisky.
You'll find a stripped out image of this jaunty fellow in the Toff Section. Here is an interesting variant, when a brand character, redolent of traditional values and liquids stewing in vats, appears to the amusement of some young blades of 1952, 22 x 24cms. "Meet Scotland's Favourite Son..." A curious mesh of exchanged glances around the mysterious presence, with daybeds and Diana the Huntress beyond.

The Jolly Green Giant (again)

Phoebe Snow of the Lackawanna (again) Lackawanna Railroad General Motors Electro-Motive Division comparing travelling styles in 1910 and 1950. 24 x26cms. Phoebe Snow was used to demonstrate to the customer how clean and spotless it is travelling by rail. Hollow laughter from Northern Line travellers in London; beneath is her original incarnation, c1905 .

(for Betty Crocker and Katie see separate sections).