This MasterCard "Icons" spot from McCann Erickson, which first aired during the 2005 Super Bowl, is back in rotation. It shows a "Priceless" collection of brand icons gathered around a table, eating broccoli for $1.79, three pouches of tuna for $3.99 and crescent rolls for $2.39. There's Count Chocula, Mr. Peanut, the Jolly Green Giant, the Gorton's fisherman, Charlie the Starkist tuna, Chef Boyardee, the Pillsbury doughboy, the Vlasic pickles stork, the Morton Salt girl and, doing the dishes, of course, Mr. Clean. The thing that makes these mascots so special is that many of them represent commodity items like salt, vegetables, pickles and biscuits. Without these familiar characters, the brands would be, well, just salt, vegetables, pickles and biscuits. The spot reminds us of the true value of creative branding versus just linking up with any old athlete or celebrity—who will probably just get themselves and your brand in trouble anyway. That could never happen with an animated brand icon, unless you're talking about the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
—Posted by Kenneth Hein