As a child, Kool-Aid was always my favorite summer drink. Every time I ran out, I imaged the giant pitcher crashing through the wall with a big “Oh, Yeah!” just like in the commercial below. I never thought about how this beloved mascot had become the brand of Kool-Aid and would continue to build the brand years later.
After acquiring Kool-Aid from inventor Edwin Perkins in 1953, General Foods enlisted the help of Marvin Potts to create an advertising campaign. Marvin, an art director at Foote, Cone, & Belding, first thought of the mascot when he saw his son drawing smiley faces on the frosted windows and named this creation Pitcher Man. It was not until 1975 that Pitcher Man grew a set of legs and arms and became the Kool-Aid Man we all know and love.
Since then, Kool-Aid has built their brand around Kool-Aid Man. It is rare, if not impossible, to find a piece of Kool-Aid material in the last 30 years without him on it. As the product’s demographic changes, so does Kool-Aid Man. For example, this year Kool-Aid has allocated a significant portion of their marketing budget towards the Hispanic community, resulting in Kool-Aid Man learning Spanish.
Kool-Aid Man has also brought Kool-Aid into the pop culture sector. Kool-Aid Man has been a topic for comics, like Dane Cook, and a recurring character on television shows, like Family Guy. He has his own shoe line, video game, and comic book. He can be wearing Hawaiian shirts one minute and lifting cherry weights the next. There’s nothing this pitcher can’t do.
Since his birth, Kool-Aid Man has helped Kool-Aid grow beyond the fruity drink Edwin Perkins first dreamed of and stay relevant to new audiences. Kool-Aid Man, although the same wall crashing pitcher, has kept the brand of Kool-Aid alive by reinventing himself over the past fifty years. What’s your favorite memory of Kool-Aid Man?