This creep gives me the creeps. I mean it. I have had nightmares of Mr. Six, the Six Flags “spokesgrandpa”, standing over my bed, grinning from ear to ear. Then, he turns to Michael Jackson and flips a coin. Thank goodness, I always wake up right after Michael says, “tails”.
There are many things I just don’t understand. On the top of the list are French and Mr. Six, in that order. What does he have to do with the Six Flags brand? The only thing I can think of is that the park makes you feel young. Geez. What an insight. That’s like saying when you drink water, you won’t be thirsty anymore.
Back in l985, I developed a set of characters that actually made sense…Vince and Larry, the spokesdummies for the Department of Transportation. Over the years, the “You could learn a lot from a dummy” has received over $1 BILLION in psa advertising, (second only to Smokey the Bear), helped save thousands of lives by reminding people to buckle up, become a display in the Smithsonian and honored at the White House by President Ronald Reagan for their contributions to society.
The funny thing is: this campaign almost didn’t happen. It wasn’t the recommendation by the Leo Burnett Agency to the Advertising Council. Seems the creative review committee (love that word committee!) wanted to go with another campaign…more on the lines of what you’d expect in a psa campaign…lots of scare tactics. We took an opposite approach…talking dummies who hated their jobs. “We’ve been doing this for years and no one is listening,” Vince tells Larry in an early spot. Thank goodness for Ric Smith from the Department of Transporation who saw the idea in the campaign and bought it.
Now, twenty year mandatory safety belt laws are in all 50 dates. (Prior to the start of the Vince and Larry campaign, only 5 states had mandatory safety belt laws.)
There’s nothing wrong with “critters” as they were known at Leo Burnett. There have been some great ones…the Energizer Bunny, Tony the Tiger, Charlie the Tuna, Tucan Sam, Ronald McDonald’s. But not Mr. Sux, I mean Mr. Six…