is the mascot
, a popular drink. The character has appeared on television
and print advertising
as a fun-loving and jolly beverage provider, appearing to children everywhere sharing his Kool-Aid beverage, and yelling "Oh yeah!". He is a gigantic anthropomorphic pitcher
, filled with Tropical Punch Kool-Aid and marked with a fingerpainted smiley face
. In 2005, the Kool-Aid Man celebrated his 30th birthday.
Before he was officially the Kool-Aid Man in 1975, he was the “Pitcher Man”. The Pitcher Man was created in 1954 by Marvin Plotts, an art director
for a New York-based advertising agency. General Foods
had just purchased Kool-Aid from the drink’s creator Edwin Perkins the year before, and Plotts was charged with drafting a concept to illustrate the copy message: “A 5-cent package makes two quarts
. " Working from his Chicago
home on a cold day, Potts watched as his young son traced smiley face patterns on a frosty windowpane," recounts Sue Uerling, marketing and communications director for Hastings Museum of Natural and Cultural History. This inspired Marvin Plotts to create a beaming glass pitcher filled with flavorful drink: the Pitcher Man. From there on the joyful pitcher was on all the Kool-Aid’s advertisements.
In 1975 Kraft Foods created the character’s first costume with arms and legs. He also became more of an action figure in commercials — performing extreme sports and bursting through brick walls. Kool-Aid Man is famously known for shouting, “Oh, Yeah!” as he is summoned by thirsty children with the phrase, "Hey, Kool-Aid!". Commercials of the era also featured a catchy jingle, always ending with the Kool-Aid Man's phrase.
From that point until sometime in the mid-1990s, the Kool-Aid Man was always portrayed in live-action form, although the costume itself changed slightly over the years. Starting in the late 1980s, the character was given dialogue, and his mouth would be digitally manipulated to "move" while the voice actor talked. Sometime in the 1990s, the live-action character was retired; from that point until just recently, the character became entirely computer-generated (although other characters -- such as the kids -- remained live-action). However, the most recent Kool-Aid commercial features a whole new live action Kool-Aid Man playing street basketball.
Hastings Museum, which opened the first permanent Kool-Aid exhibit in 2002, has Kool-Aid Man’s original costume on display. Made of fiberglass, the costume featured a more prominent face, skinnier body and no clothing. Now, he is made of inflatable nylon and is dressed in a shirt, jeans and shoes.
The character himself is a running gag on the American animated sitcom Family Guy, and has been parodied several times on Robot Chicken.
In 2000, a new series of commercials were created for Kool-Aid Fierce and the actor chosen to play Kool-Aid Man was Jon Carr.
Dane Cook has done a sketch about his childhood fear of the Kool-Aid Man crashing through his wall, named "Not So Kool-Aid." It appears on his album, Harmful If Swallowed.
The Adventures of Kool-Aid Man
A comic series was written featuring Kool-Aid Man, entitled The Adventures of Kool-Aid Man
. Published by Marvel Comics
and given away by the truckloads by General Foods, The Adventures of Kool-Aid Man
had a six-issue run between 1983 and 1989, and were used as promotional material.