You know them. They're like old friends...even the new ones (a talking gecko?!) These sometimes absurd characters have been invented to sell you something, and the good ones found their way into pop culture.
Here's a look at some of the world's most memorable and beloved advertising icons.
The Quaker Oats Man - the first registered trademark for cereal, dating back to 1877.
Credit: Quaker Oats
Bibendum, commonly referred to as the Michelin Man, is the symbol of the Michelin tire company. He is one of the world's oldest trademarks. This poster is from 1898.
Betty Crocker as she first appeared in 1936 (far left). At right, Her image changed with the times, with alterations to her hair, makeup and jewelry. (Clockwise from top left: 1955, 1965, 1969, 1986, 1980 and 1972.)
Credit: Betty Crocker
A 1918 advertisement for Planters Peanuts, featuring the iconic Mr. Peanut.
Mr.Peanut as he appeared in 1943.
A 1911 advertising campaign for Morton's Salt was the origin of the Umbrella Girl and their slogan, "When it Rains it Pours." The girl's look has been modernized over the years, but her salt still pours even in inclement weather.
Credit: Morton Salt
Charlie the Tuna, the dapper cartoon mascot for StarKist Tuna, was created in 1961. Charlie's goal was to be caught by StarKist, because he believed he had "good taste." But he was always rejected, in the form of a note on a fishing hook that read, "Sorry, Charlie."
The Kool-Aid Man, a friendly pitcher promoting the popular drink mix, first appeared as The Pitcher Man in 1954. Here he is in a 1956 ad.
The Pitcher Man officially became the Kool-Aid Man in 1975, the same year this ad was made.
Mr. Clean made his television debut in 1958. Here he is in an advertisement from that same year, which proves even manly men wear aprons.
Credit: Procter & Gamble
The Jolly Green Giant, mascot of the Green Giant food company, first appeared in advertisements in 1928 for the Minnesota Valley Canning Company, and proved so popular the company took their mascot's name.
Credit: Green Giant
Tony the Tiger and his "They're Grrrrreat!" catch-phrase have been around since 1952.
"Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!" That cereal-loving rabbit debuted in 1959.
Credit: General Mills
The animated Keebler Elves are led by Ernest J. Keebler (or Ernie). The elves first appeared in 1968.
The Aflac duck has been quacking about insurance since 2000.
Travelocity's garden gnome has been traveling the world since 2004. Some believe the idea for the ad campaign was inspired by the 2001 film "Amelie," in which a French woman conspires to have her father's garden gnome photographed around the globe. But a Wall Street Journal article suggests the idea was inspired by an Australian prankster in the 1980s.