Recreating an Advertising Icon

Product mascots have been a staple of advertising’s bag of tricks since Grog scrawled his new brand’s Red Antelope® on a cave wall. Think of all the mascots we’ve seen over the years that still bring a product’s name to mind. The Jolly Green Giant, Planter’s Peanut Man, Morton Salt girl, or Michelin Man just to name a few. Over the years the use of mascots has waxed and waned in popularity. Lately there seems to be an interest among many advertisers in delving into the archives, and rediscovering their old icons. It can be a great way to connect with consumers by reminding people of a product’s history in the market.

I recently had a chance to illustrate a vintage mascot when I was asked to recreate the Mr. Aristocrat Tomato Man for H.J. Heinz. A 1930’s original, the Tomato Man was used by Heinz to promote their ketchup, and showcased in advertising for years. Apparently the original art had vanished over the years and there were no copies in the Heinz archives that were usable, so my assignment was to recreate the artwork. The piece was done digitally, and though we tweaked the color slightly to give it a bit more life, I stayed as true as possible to the vintage look, feel and design of the 1930’s art.

Tomato man web
I hope Mr Aristocrat makes a big comeback touting the advantages of using Heinz ketchup. He’s a great advertising character and a nice reminder of the long history of a classic American product.