Saturday, March 9, 2013

Awesome Fictional Brands

5) Blammo
As seen on the incomparable Ren and Stimpy Show, Blammo was the brand behind the greatest children's toy of all time ... LOG! An obvious parody of one-note toys like a Slinky, Blammo's toy also requires ample imagination to enjoy, and the catchy jingle was quick to inform us of all the ways it could be fun. You can remember every word of that song and you know it. Don't lie to me, goddammit.

Later episodes had commercials for slight variations of Log, like dress up versions similar to a Mr. Potato Head. But the original unadorned Log remains a classic fake commercial for a fake product from a fake brand, and a tribute to the simple toys of days gone by.

4) Spishak
Following the lead of Saturday Night Live, the variety comedy show Mad TV would often include fake commercials between skits. Unlike SNL, however, the products in these commercials were often from the same preposterous company.

The ads usually followed one of two patterns: A) a compilation of product demonstrations that got progressively more ridiculous, or B) a Spishak spokesman suddenly appearing in someone's home to advertise the product in a mini-infomercial. What sort of products? Well, anything from a combination knife-spoon-fork, to a toy oven for kids that requires the child to disconnect the gas line from their real oven to use. Each item was a hazardous, nonsensical, defective mess.

3) Red Apple Cigarettes
Occasionally a director will tie together their body of work with reccurring characters, locations, or brands even when the plots and styles of their movies are vastly different (eg. Kevin Smith). Red Apple Cigarettes represent a key connective tissue for the filmography of Quentin Tarantino as they appear in nearly every movie he's directed or co-written.

Sometimes the cigarettes will be smoked by a character, or other times appear as an ad in passing. Most recently in Django Unchained it can be spotted as a pouch of Red Apple Tobacco. These fake cigarettes are great because they are one of the many ways that Tarantino has pulled his movies together into the same crazy universe, and at this point finding the Red Apple has become a hidden gem for movie fans to discover.

2) Krusty Brand
While the Simpsons' universe has many memorable brands like Duff Beer, the greatest line-up of products come from the world's biggest shill: Krusty the Clown. He is the iconic face of a gigantic empire of TV shows, fast food restaurants, amusement parks, and an endless array of shoddy household products.

Every bit of merchandise stamped with the "Krusty Seal of Approval" is poorly thought out, cheaply made, and often dangerous. Krusty Brand is wonderful satirical take on the corporate greed we see all the time when celebrities slap their name or likeness on all manner of pointless shit. So when a cross between Bozo the Clown and Ronald McDonald is selling home pregnancy kits, frosted cereals, personal swabs, imitation gruel, handguns, cough syrup, cigars, and facial hair trimmers it's equal parts familiar and hilarious.

1) Acme
The Acme Corporation is a huge supplier of crazy bullshit in the Looney Tunes universe, and while the word "acme" comes from the Greek word for "zenith" or "prime", the products bearing that name are often lacking quality. What do they sell? A better question is what the hell don't they sell? Explosives, anvils, rockets, giant slingshots, giant magnets, escape kits, earthquake pills, the list goes on forever. The majority of their profit comes from Wile E. Coyote no matter how often their products fail miserably. You have to assume the prices must be amazing since he keeps placing orders for anti-gravity boots and fake tunnel paint instead of buying ... you know... food.

In fact Acme as a generic brand has been appearing in all manner of television shows, comics, movies, and cartoons for more than 90 years. You can find the familiar name in silent films of the 20's, episodes of I Love Lucy, and - my personal favorite - the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit with the epic showdown at the Acme Warehouse. As a child that warehouse overwhelmed my imagination with possibilities, and to this day I still want to see more of the gadgets and weapons scattered around the place.

The name Acme represents more than just an insatiable desire for Roadrunner meat, it represents generations of wild ideas and preposterous products. Whenever you needed a ridiculous prop, weapon, or device for your character to get their hands on, it was easily explained away by the good ol' Acme Corp. Who on earth would produce a jet-powered pogo stick and over-night ship it to the middle of the desert?

Acme, of course.


cole d'arc said...

Good stuff. Really glad to see Krusty and Acme on there. It's a fun topic. My favourite fiction company i think has to be the Umbrella Corporation - if you play the games you come to realize it's run by a group of people who are totally out of their minds. The fact that they unleash a zombie plague is pretty unsurprising, really. Great logo too.

You're going to laugh at me but...I always thought Red Apple Cigarettes were real.

Shane said...

Don't worry about not knowing about the Red Apples. While researching this, I discovered that a ton of people also though they were real.

The Umbrella Corporation does have a sweet logo. And their T-virus? The best. Don't ever buy the generic virus. You've given me an idea, one of us should do a Most Evil Fictional Corporations list. Umbrella has got to make that list.

Gavin said...

"It rolls down stairs
It rolls over in pairs"

Yea Its been a really long time since I saw that , thought for 60 seconds and it all came back.

Good list I've been following these for a while now, always some good nostalgia and laughs!