Captain Birdseye named British TV’s most iconic advertising character – see the full list

The list of best ‘mascots’ for grocery brands has been topped by the familiar bearded sea dog who has been serving fish sticks to his young shipmates on UK screens for 55 years

John Hewer, who was best known for playing Captain Birdseye in television commercials

Captain Birdseye has been named the most iconic advertising character on British television, a survey has revealed.

But the flirty Gold Blend couple – Tony and Sharon – are the most missed, according to brand experts.

The list of best ‘mascots’ for grocery brands was topped by the familiar bearded sea dog who has been serving fish sticks to his young shipmates on UK screens for 55 years.

First played by actor John Hewer in 1967, the latest incarnation to don the skipper’s cap is Italian silver fox Riccardo Acerbi who sent out quick heartbeats when he made his television debut in 2018.

According to the survey by specialist newspaper The Grocer, Freddo, Cadbury’s chocolate frog, ranks second on the list of advertising creatives, while newcomer Kevin the carrot, who appeared on screens for the first time of Aldi’s Christmas campaign in 2016, took third place.

Like Kevin who captured the hearts of shoppers, Marks & Spencer has had success since unveiling Percy Pig to the public in 1992.

The character who started life as a candy bag and now has a range of confections, clothes and cakes and is also a social media sensation even made the Vogue fashion bible hot list in 2008.

Coco the monkey who is the face of Kellogg’s Coco Pops, M&Ms characters and the Duracell Bunny have all made the list of the 10 most popular advertising icons.

But The Grocer also named nine brand faces that have disappeared from TV screens but are still missed by audiences who would like a return.

They include Tony and Sharon – played by Anthony Head and Sharon Maughan – in a series of romance commercials for Nescafe Gold Blend that ran from 1987 to 1993.

Their Will, Won’t She Have An Affair captivated the nation and culminated with “The Kiss” in 1989 which was watched by 30 million people.

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The adorable Martians from instant mash brand Smash who sneered at the idea of ​​humans peeling potatoes to make mash and the man from Del Monte who always said ‘yes’ were on the missing list but not forgotten.

Camilla Yates, director of strategy at creative agency Elvis, said: “Research has shown that brand personas are more effective drivers of uniqueness than any other identity element, including the company logo. A brand.

“But they go beyond that and go the extra mile to humanize a brand, adding warmth and personality to a set of functional attributes and benefits.”

The Grocer added: “More memorable than a slogan and more reliable than celebrities, mascots have been ‘visceral shortcuts’ for grocery brands looking for cuts for years.”

Percy Pig in a Marks and Spencer advert

Top 10 TV Advertising Icons and When They Were Created

1. Captain Birdseye, Birds Eye – 1967

2. Freddo the Frog, Mondelez/Cadbury – 1973

3. Kevin the carrot, Aldi – 2016

4. Coco the monkey, Kellogg’s – 1963

5. M&M’s, Mars Wrigley – 1954

6. Julius Pringle, Kellogg’s – 1967

7. Rabbit, Duracell – 1973

8. Percy Pig, Marks & Spencer – 1992

9. Peperami Animal, Jack Link’s – 1991

10. Aunt Bessie, Nomad Foods – 1995

And the top nine “disappeared but not forgotten” advertising icons

1. Tony and Sharon (1987-1993) – The Nescafé Gold Blend couple

2. Chimpanzees PG Tips (1956-2002)

3. Smash Martians (1974-1992)

4. Oxo family (1958-2016)

5. The Milk Tray Man (1968-2016)

6. The Man From Del Monte (1980s)

7. Knitting Babes (1997-2017) – Shreddies Ads

8. George the Bear (1980s) – Hofmeister lager

9. Douglas the trombonist (1985-2003) – Lurpak

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