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Favorite Cartoon Characters Make Commercials and Yes Some Were Banned

Updated on March 20, 2019

Bullwinkle could use a Cheerios pick me up.

Since way back when, companies have been sponsoring cartoons, and cartoons have been sponsoring companies. Our favorite cartoon characters have been selling products to us since the early 1900s via the silver screen and the boob tube.

Is it any wonder? I mean what a fantastic marketing strategy. What a way to reach children of all ages. I'm surprised, actually, that it wasn't done more often. Their popularity was so great, that products were spawned from these cartoon charecters' popularity in commercialism that went beyond action figures, dolls, children's toys, and games, to suit a more general market of vitamins, cereals, drinks, light bulbs, insurance, The Holliday Inn, and the like.

I must say, I am surprised that some of our favorite cartoon characters accepted some of these roles, as role models you'd think they'd know better. Yes, some got banned, at some point. Some got away with it longer than others. Some got banned in some countries, but not in others.

Which ones? Well, you probably remember many of them, at least if you're as old as I am (and a bit older). Some of the bans I honestly don't get. You be the judge.

I've made a nice compelation for your viewing pleasure, a bit of info intermixed. So sit back, relax, and enjoy some memories of your most loved characters, and possibly even products.

You may find yourself running to the store for some tang, or breakfast cerial, beer, and cigarettes (naughty you). If you do, come back and enjoy your consumer goods while enjoying these fantastic videos, brought to you by YouTube.

Will Underdog save the day at General Mills?

I don't know. But one thing is for sure, General Mills did end up with quite a few Warner Brothers cartoon character favorites rooting for them throughout the years.

More than any other company.

Did Boris & Natasha ever catch the Energizer Bunny?

I'm afraid Wiley E. Coyote couldn't catch the bunny either.

Would you call 1-800-Beep-Beep?

Due to Wiley E. Cyote's mishaps, and Roadrunner's speed and smarts, this powerful animated team was the perfect match to represent many an Energizer battery, insurance company, moving company, and courier company.

There was even a Plymouth automobile named after the Road Runner.

Mr. Magoo sold lightbulbs for General Electric.

Mr. Magoo sold all kinds of lightbulbs for General Electric.

Ah, dear Mr. Magoo.

Blind as a bat and daft as ever.

Legally blind, even in his magnificent spectacles.

No one compared.

Many companies, it seems, had quite a sense of humor, and relied on the sense of humor of the public for these unlikely juxtapositions to make sales and to be remembered.

General Electric loved Mr. Magoo.

Did their commercials starring Mr. Magoo work? I'd say so. In these finely crafted commercials, General Electric plays an interactive game of sorts with their television audience. While you're laughing at silly, wacky, Mr. Magoo, you're also noticing what he really doesn't... the light bulbs, their brightness, some facts. You're paying attention to everything because the fun is in noticing just how ridiculously silly Mr. Magoo is by the fact that you've noticed what he, in his blindness, hasn't.  Smart and clever you! 

Here and there Mr. Magoo was kind enough to ablige eye doctors and eye glass places with his wonderful humor and support. You may have seen those as well.

Mister Magoo also sold beer. Not just any beer. Stag Beer. (That would explain a lot.)

Yes, Mister Magoo liked his Stag Beer. I'm afraid this one was banned. I honestly don't think Mister Magoo knew, to be honest.

Bugs Bunny sold bonds for the US Government. He was a true advocate. If you were in the theatre's around that time, chances are you would have noticed this one, or one like it.

This one banned? Yes. The reason? To put it bluntly... for its Negro/Nazi connotations. This wasn't the first, nor the last time Bugs, or many other animated characters, got into trouble due to racism and other politically incorrect issues.

Cool. Not. It was banned!

NOT banned?

The story of the banned Kool-Aid commercials.

So, uh, how could The Monkeys and Bugs Bunny be banned for this Kool-Aid commercial?

Well, I'm not certain they were ALL banned before I got to see this first one, because I remember it. But apparently it was. Could it have been a sneaky local channel guy put it in?

It wasn't the only Koo-Aid commercial to be banned. Bugs' "Doin' the Kool" (second video to the right), was also banned. As Kool-Aid was kind enough to sponsor Bugs, Bugs sponsored Kool-Aid with a great song and dance number.

Nothing seemingly wrong with that one, either.

So why did those get banned, and not this third Kool-Aid commercial?

It's simple really. It has to do with the product.

Apparently, there was a health issue involved concerning the fact that as opposed to being sweetened with sugar, Kool-Aid was instead being sweetened with cyclamates, an even bigger no no, in the sixties, than sugar. Cyclamates were banned in 1969 only for the ban to be lifted twenty years later. With much public notoriety, Kool-Aid was forced, at the time, to pull their wonderful adds, and Sweetened products, off the air and off the shelves.

The last video to the right here does NOT advertise this particular Kool-Aid, therefore passing inspection. But chances are, you saw one if not a few if not all of these Bugs and Monkees Kool-Aid commercials well before they were pulled.

Bugs Bunny also sold Tang, convincing Daffy Duck to contemplate killing/murdering a relative or two for a box of this tastey drink.

Bugs Bunny needs some ziplock storage bags. Do you?

Can Bugs Bunny save the day for the Trix Bunny?

Bullwinkle was the first cartoon character to sponser Trix cerial.  But then General Mills decided to spawn a cartoon character of their own.  One that would be cheaper to take care of.  In the '80's, Trix was having a bit of trouble.  So General Mills decided to bring in old reliable.  Bugs Bunny.  You know, to show Silly Rabbit how tricks were really done.  Did it help matters?  Would it get you to buy some Trix?  Ask for it if you were a kid?  Buy it if you were a parent?

Have you had your sugar free Bugs Bunny vitamin today?

Before Bugsy, the Flinstones had to make vitamins too. These were naturally sweetened, and yes, I ate mine every day. I was partial to the purple Dino's.

Of course before they had their own vitamins, the Flinstones were sure to prevent their vitamin shortage with One a Day Vitamins.


Found next to the Alka Seltzer in the medicine cabinet, as usual.




Fred Flinstone needed his Alka Seltzer.


They were always next to the One a Day Multi-vitamins.


Courtesy of his sponsors.




Ah, a cool refreshing Yabba Dabba Dew drink in a can.

Yum. (sarcasm).


Well, that didn't last long for Fred and Barney, now did it.

But you have to admit, it's a catchy commercial.


So, Fred and Barney were smokers... Yes, this commercial was another one o' them there banned commercials.

Fred and Barney also sold beer, Busch Beer; only they weren't banned. Poor Magoo, if only he knew.

Should have made an employees only promotional short like Flinstone and Rubble here.

Mind you, what you see here, is a small handful of the commercials our favorite animated cartoon characters starred in. Of course only a small handful of stars were shown. Yes folks there are plenty more where these came from. And their sponsors and products are bountiful.

Thankfully, their bans were left to a minimum; hower, the fact that there were any bans is about as funny as they were. I could see retirement of a commercial, but a ban? Fact is, those bans spoke plenty about our history and pop culture.

Thanks for watching.

graphic by ProCW
graphic by ProCW

© 2009 Frieda Babbley


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