Taco Bell Chihuahua, 'Where's the Beef' lady, and Mr. Mucus duke it out in Day 1 of our Big Shill bracket game

Favorite-ads-bracket0103Never underestimate the power of advertising. All it takes is a cute cat, an eccentric character, or, heck, a nebulous blob suffering a severe identity crisis, to encourage us to head over to our local grocery store/convenience store/bar, etc., to pick up corporate America’s latest offering. That’s why this month, we’re bringing you EW’s Big Shill bracket game, which celebrates the country’s finest advertising icons — and pits them head-to-head in a battle for supremacy. In our first round, Six Flags’ Mr. Six dances off against Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef” lady in the Human Category, alongside Dos Equis’ The Most Interesting Man in the World and Isuzu’s Joe Isuzu. In our Creatures Category, the Taco Bell Chihuahua fights 9Lives Cat Food’s Morris the Cat for household pet bragging rights, while Domino’s The Noid tries to out-annoy Mucinex’s Mr. Mucus. Who will be left standing? Only one way to find out: Vote for which advertising icons reign supreme after the jump. (And read the competitors’ stats below to help you make your decision.) It’s up to you, PopWatchers: Whose shilling gets top billing? You can check out the entire bracket here, because you know you’re already looking forward to a potential Sweet 16 match-up between the Energizer Bunny and the Vlasic pickles stork?

Six Flags theme parks
Debut year: 2004
Catchphrase: “More flags, more fun.”
Claim to fame: Though a wrinkly old man, Six cannot contain his enthusiasm for Six Flags and simply must cut a rug to the Vengaboys “We Like to Party.”
Strength: Apparently impervious to the effects of aging, Mr. Six dances like a much younger man wearing a bald cap and prosthetic chin.
Easily distracted by cheesy Eurodance.

The “Where’s the Beef” Lady
Wendy’s restaurants
Debut year: 1984
Catchphrase: “Where’s the beef?!”
Claim to fame: Not satisfied with the skimpy hamburger patty served to her far more demure friend at the “Big Bun” chain, an incensed woman (played by Clara Peller) erupted in a series of “Where’s the beef?!” demands. Though no one was listening at the restaurant, America heard her loud and clear, and her catchphrase was repeated ad nauseum throughout the second half of the 1980s.
Strength: The persistent and selfless Peller was on a mission, and followed up her protest in the first commercial with “Where’s the beef?!” demands at a Big Bun drive-thru, as well as a phone call to the Big Bun fat-cat CEO.
Her fixation with beef bordered on obsession, making her kind of a drag at parties.

Dos Equis beer
Debut year: 2006
Catchphrase: “Stay thirsty, my friends.”
Claim to fame: Rugged, yet distinguished, manly, yet sensitive, the Most Interesting Man in the World lives the sexy, adventurous life you don’t have the guts to even think about. And when he drinks beer, he drinks Dos Equis.
Strength: “Bulls flat out refuse to fight him.” So who the hell are you?
Weakness: We’re too afraid to say.

Isuzu cars and trucks
Debut year: 1986
Catchphrase: “You have my word on it.”
Claim to fame:
Joe Isuzu (David Leisure) would tell you anything to get you into a new Isuzu. (“It has more seats than the Astrodome!”)
Strength: His creativity with the truth bordered on genius. Plus, he loved his mom.
Weakness: Boy who cried wolf, anybody?

Taco Bell
Debut year: 1994
Catchphrase: “Yo quiero Taco Bell” and “Drop the chalupa”
Claim to fame: The TBC loved his 39-cent Taco Bell tacos, and he wasn’t shy about telling you. In Spanish, of course. Because Taco Bell is “Mexican” food.
This bilingual dog probably speaks one more language than you do and looks better wearing a sombrero
Weakness: Would likely suffer life-threatening injuries if a seven-layer burrito were to fall on him.

9Lives cat food
Debut year: 1969
Catchphrase: “Mmmm, hmm, nommm”
Claim to fame:
The finnicky ol’ house cat couldn’t resist 9Lives’ unique recipes
A master at aloof wordplay: “The Morris-scope says check that out,” and “Savory Stew — stew-pendous!”
Weakness: Kind of a jerk.

Product: Domino’s pizza
Debut year: 1986
Catchphrase: He never spoke, though he inspired the ad campaign’s phrase “Avoid the Noid”
Claim to fame: Psychotic little claymation guy in a red jumpsuit with rabbit ears whose sole purpose in life was to ruin your delivery pizza before it reached your door
Strength: Wields an impressive array of pint-sized weapons, like the spring-loaded pogo-anvil pizza crusher and the subzero ice blower that instantly turns objects into brittle frozen matter
Weakness: Domino’s, man. Like Noid Kryptonite.

Debut year: 2004
Catchphrase: He never really owned a phrase, but the campaign’s is “Mucinex in, Mucus out”
Claim to fame: The blue-collar ball of phlegm is getting comfortable in your lungs, and no amount of hacking is gonna spew him out — unless, of course, you take Mucinex!
Strength: The uncanny ability to make something disgusting somewhat less disgusting
Weakness: You think you’re tough, eh Mucus? Ya ain’t so tough once Mucinex generates those earthquake-sized coughs, knocks you into a black hole and spats you out, though, are ya?

Comments (95 total) Add your comment
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  • Chobo

    The Noid rocks!

    • calistoga

      If I could find a man who had the voice and personality of the Geico Gecko/Gekko, I’d cook, wash windows, whatever it took, and never let him go!!
      Seriously, he has got to be the most geniusly crafted creature in animation…skin moves like suppose to, breathing movements, digits gestures and twitches. My personal fave is an early one… when he almost fell out of tree. My vote for Pulitzer in marketing genius.

  • Karate Pants

    Mayhem could take them all out.

    • Brandi

      I totaly agree! Shakey, shakey, shakey.

      • kennyc

        OMG, those other commercials aren’t even hot!!!

    • KT

      YES! I love those commercials. :)

    • SirLizard

      Agreed. Mayhem beats them all.

      • Sheila G

        Mayhem absolutely!

    • Mr. Holloway

      Mostly, I love the idea that Ryan O’Reilly AND Vern Schillinger are trying to sell us insurance these days.

      If Progressive ever decides to go away from Flo, they think about hiring Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

      • Mr. Holloway

        they should* think…

      • Molly

        Beecher and Keller for State Farm perhaps?

      • Mr. Holloway

        @ Molly

        Chris Meloni could do 200 more episodes of “Law & Order: SVU”, but he’ll still always be Keller to me.

      • Mister Jones

        I can’t agree more. He will NEVER shake the Keller role for me.

    • Quagmire

      Those are good commercials, but I forget who they are advertising for, so how effective is that campaign. Flo on the other hand I know is with Progressive, the cavemen and the gecko are for Geico.

      • Mr. Holloway

        Fair point.

    • llevinso

      Yes, Mayhem is by far my favorite right now. But I do love those Dos Equis commercials. And the Old Spice guy.

    • Kristin

      Another vote for Mayhem. He so turns me on.

    • Karin

      Mayhem for the win!!

  • Tiff in the OK

    Mr. Six scares me, always has.

    • AN

      Mr. Six is actually a woman.

      • SirLizard

        That’s a misleading statement. Mr. Six has been played by a number of different people. At least one of them was a woman, but most of the others (if not all of the others) were men.

      • jjo

        People know way too much about Mr. Six, I didn’t even know that was his name until I read this article.

      • Siti

        This is a good place for ordering a Fuel Injectors 19 7 22 4 Saturn Cavalier Isuzu Gm Truck Sunfire 93 00 4 New for my boinfyerd. One-Hundred percent genuine Fuel Injectors here.

  • Ally

    I doubt many if any of the younger generation know who Joe Isuzu was. He was a commercial icon of the 80’s… if you could really consider him an “icon”. He was fun to watch though.

    • Cris

      I think as far as commercial pitchmen go, Joe Isuzu was definitely an icon. Even more remarkable, if I remember correctly, most of his commercials were actually funny.

      • Ralphie

        Joe was awesome! I loved the one where he dressed up as his own sister. “I’m Joanne Isuzu, Joe’s twin sister….” The commercials went well with his Charlie character on Empty Nest too. Go Joe!

    • Rolo Tomasi

      It’s a shame that guy from the Dos Equis is beating him, he says maybe two lines in his commercial at the end.

    • Silv

      I loved Joe Isuzu but he was from so long ago I can’t imagine many younger people remembering him; I’m impressed Clara Peller’s doing so well for the same reason!

    • Lisa Simpson

      I liked Joe Isuzu at first, but the campaign quickly got old. And The Most Interesting Man in the World has such a sexy voice.

    • Dean

      I’m 32, always watched a decent amount of TV, and I have absolutely no recollection of him.

      • Ally

        @Dean – Let’s see… guestimating that you were born in 1978/9, that would have made you about 7/8 years old in 1986 when Joe Isuzu first came out. It is possible you were not watching programs that had Isuzu advertisements running in the same time slot as whatever kids shows were on at that time. I was in high school, so I remember him very well… mostly because all the kids would come to school and do their impression of Joe Isuzu. What commercials do you recall from 1986?

  • Breckster82

    i can’t stand mr. 6. he’s way too creepy.

    • @Breckster82

      Maybe some don’t realize this, but that was a regional advertising campaign. Many won’t have ever seen him. You’d think this would have been limited to national ads.

      • Ann

        I think you’re wrong about the regional ad thing. I’ve seen the ads for different 6 flags parks in the mid-Atlantic and the mid-west.

      • Melissa

        I’ve never seen Mr. Six before today, and I hope to never again.

      • @Ann

        I grew up in two midwestern states and have never seen him. They only ran the ads within reasonable driving distance of a Six Flags.

      • Lisa Simpson

        Yeah, I’ve lived in both Florida and Ohio and never saw any of his ads.

      • MelindaB

        I’m in Iowa, have no idea where the closest Six Flags is (Ohio?) and have seen the ads. Not often, thankfully.

      • Heather P

        I live in Washington State and have never seen Mr. Six. The “Where’s the Beef?” lady wins anyway.

      • MsSuniDaze

        I’m in the Rockies…and those ads played all the time here. I think the closest Six Flags is Magic Mountain.

    • Mikka

      He is awful. We live in Northern California and during the summer he is a horrible constant presence. Especially since I have kids and we watch his targeted programming.

    • Jeff

      Mr.6 is great, love those commercials.

  • Scott

    I’m sad that Morris is getting no love because everyone is too young to remember him.

    • Rolo Tomasi


    • Mary

      Agreed, Scott. Morris is an advertising icon!

    • Tomi

      Morris is sweet, but that little Taco Bell dog is tough to beat.

    • Jeff

      Nope, it’s because the cat commercials were lame. At the least the dog was occasionally funny.

      • DZ


    • lsparks1

      I thought the same thing!

    • Heather P

      Nope. I remember him well, but the Taco Bell commercials were funnier.

    • llevinso

      I loved Morris! I even had a Morris t-shirt when I was little. I’m sad that he’s losing :(

    • Thea

      Morris was run into the ground. Year after year of the same tired joke.I’m a cat person and I can’t stand Morris.

      • jane1982

        I’m voting for Morris because I imagine that’s what my cat’s inner voice actually sounds like.

    • MsSuniDaze

      I love Morris. I loved those ads when I was a kid. We even named our orange cat Morris.

  • Patti

    Seriously, people who were born 5 minutes ago do not know Joe Isuzu or Morris – old people get out and vote for the classics!

    • silverrose

      your so right. with the exception of the noid, all the old school guys are losing badly.

    • MelindaB

      I voted for all the classics other than Joe Isuzu. The Dos Equis guy just edges him out IMO, although I admit that I love that David Leisure’s career was pretty much jump-started by those ads.

    • Heather P

      Joe Isuzu got my vote over the other guy. But I didn’t vote for Morris just because I first saw the commercials at a younger age. The Taco Bell ones were funnier and probably sold more product.

  • Dani

    Where’s Mr. Whipple, the “please don’t squeeze the Charmin” guy?

    • AN

      Or the Time to make the doughnuts guy!

      • Fan

        I loved the doughnut guy, and also the Maytag repairman.

      • @fan

        Ohhhhh, the Maytag repairman was great. Not the latest ones, but the Jesse White and Gordon Jump repairmen. Classic greats!!

      • MelindaB

        I often wake my son with the comment, “Time to make the doughnuts!” His usual response is, “Huh?”

    • Heather P

      They’re in the Bracket. We’ll vote for them later.

    • Thea

      Another one run into the ground. I kept wanting to leap into the TV and scream, “PEOPLE DON’T SQUEEZE TOILET PAPER, DA**IT!” And the pathetic, giggling women shoppers, oh lordy – predated the women lib movement but still set it back a decade or so.

  • JenR

    The hardest choice was between Morris and the Taco Bell dog. Morris had a long career, but was a sourpuss. The dog was more fun. I had to go with my gut on that one.

    • llevinso

      That was the point of Morris. Get it sourPUSS.

  • Laura

    I loved the chihuahua from the Taco Bell commercials. I know the original chihuahua died, but I would love to see another chihuahua in his role. Those commercials were funny and kept Taco Bell on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

  • Tres Equis

    Aflac duck? Geico gecko? Energizer bunny?

  • Regs

    The most interesting man in the world is my ABSOLUTE favorite.HANDS DOWN. He can take them all.

    • Rolo Tomasi

      So you’re the guy who he would punch in the face and you would say thank you

  • nunnya

    Where’s the Beef is the one that no one will ever forget, but the most interesting man in the world campaign is pretty special too.

  • Jennifer

    I always thought Mr. 6 was Martin Short!

    • Ralphie

      I did too!

  • Cris

    It’s been 26 years and people still remember “Where’s the Beef?” It’s become a part of pop culture (and was even used as a soundbite in a presidential election). To me, that elevates it above all others.

    • Silv

      Does anyone else remember the 2nd Clara Peller “Where’s the Beef” commercial, where she’s driving a car, barely able to see above the steering wheel, zooming from drive-thru to drive-thru while her 2 friends slide around in the back seat? We’d fall over laughing every time the commercial came on and I was teased that I’d someday be that little old lady driver.

      • Lisa Simpson

        For those of us who lived in Florida, that wasn’t funny. It was reality.

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