Mascots Vie to Be No. 1 Ad Icon

At first, Duracell sales went up, apparently because so many consumers associated the pink bunny with Duracell. Now, 15 years later, the Energizer Bunny has starred in 107 commercials, and is now kicking off a new $68 million ad campaign.

And just about every hyperactive newsmaker — from Regis Philbin and John Edwards to Dick Clark and Michael Phelps — is dubbed an "Energizer Bunny."

Who's a Duracell Bunny? Maybe Howard Dean. 2. AFLAC Annoys Affleck

You've got to give the squawking AFLAC Duck credit. Not only has it made AFLAC one of the fastest-growing insurance companies, but it also annoys Ben Affleck.

"Everywhere I go, no matter what I do, there is always some drunk lady screaming 'AFLAC,' " the actor groaned on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.

People magazine tried to help matters by pointing out that the AFLAC duck had never laid an egg, whereas Affleck had starred in Reindeer Games.

3. Raisin Hell in Washington Raisins are a natural source of energy, but apparently the California Raisins didn't have enough energy to march in the inaugural parade in 1989, when the first President Bush was sworn into the White House.

The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports invited the singing, dancing raisins to march alongside its float as part of the "Stay Fit America" campaign.

Unfortunately, the rotund raisins weren't fit enough to march the 2½-half-mile parade route in their heavy costumes and were forced to decline.

To make matters worse, on the final weekend of the campaign, Bush had been quoted disparaging the sun-ripened mascots, saying that he canceled a planned return to a California town because he did not want to see those "damned dancing raisins" again.

Apparently, the red-hot raisins had gotten a bigger applause than the future president at one political rally with their rendition of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine."

The wrinkled mascots eventually put petty politics aside and rode a float past Bush's viewing stand.

"His remark certainly didn't warm the cockles of our heart," Robert Phinney, a spokesman for the California Raisin Board told reporters, "but his people said he said it in a joking way."

4. Nuts to You, Senator:

Never underestimate the political clout of a 7-foot-tall nut. When Mr. Peanut goes to Washington, politicians have no choice but to embrace the lovable legume — or else.

"As much as we appreciate Mr. Peanut and the production of peanuts, were it not for the fact that the Planters plant was a mainstay of the economy in Suffolk [Virginia], I would not be posing with a peanut," then-Sen. Charles Robb of Virginia told The Washington Post in 1991, at a Capitol Hill event celebrating the Planters mascot's 75th birthday.

"Is this going to be in the paper tomorrow?" he asked. And, of course, it was.

These days, Mr. Peanut is heavily courting the NASCAR vote, cruising the country in his Nut Mobile.

5. Quakers Flaked-Out by Oats:

Quakers are famously committed to pacifism, but they've been so angry over the Quaker Oats man, they've sued to have him removed from cereal boxes.

Contrary to popular belief, Quakers never ran the cereal company. In 1877, company founders created the logo in honor of the early American settlers who belonged to this Christian sect, also known as the Society of Friends.

Feeling exploited in the name of breakfast cereal, some Quakers petitioned Congress to ban using the name of a religious denomination in a product — but to no avail.

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