December 2, 1997 in Nation/World

Sub-Standard Tuna To Return As Spokes-Fish

Bloomberg News

Charlie the Tuna, America’s favorite TV fish, is about to resurface from the briny deep after a decade-long absence from national airwaves. While he still won’t land in a can of Starkist tuna, H.J. Heinz Co. hopes he’ll reel in consumers.

When the tough-talking, lovable loser appeared in recent test ads for Starkist, likeability and intent to purchase ratings rose 30 percent.

Spokes-characters who connected with consumers of yore are making a comeback. This year, after a five-year catnap, Frito-Lay reinstated Chester Cheetah, its mascot for Chee-tos snack food. Procter & Gamble Co. revived Punchy for Hawaiian Punch and the company’s 38-year-old Mr. Clean is once again mopping up.

Often, characters re-emerge with a more contemporary look. This past summer, Chiquita Brands International Inc.’s Chiquita Banana launched a jingle contest seeking new lyrics to follow “I’m Chiquita Banana, and I’m here to say.” Aunt Jemima and Betty Crocker have reappeared as women of the 90s. In TV spots due next year, Charlie the Tuna surfs the Net and drinks latte.

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