Sunday, June 18, 2006

Mr Yuk, that round sticker of a green guy with his tongue out is going on 35 years old.

Why bring this up? I was reminded of the kid-friendly warning of "This is bad for you!" the other day when I came across a TV ad from the early 70s for the sticker campaign.

My parents had these stickers all over the cleansers and bleach when I was little. Since it was a guy looking like he could barf on command - almost anyone could get the message. We'd get stickers from the local poison centers and put them all things we weren't allowed to use as kids.

Of course, this didn't stop me from posting the stickers all over the sidewalk and porch a few times. After this, the stickers were out of reach. Until one day.

I had to have been around 5 or so, and this bizarre, disturbing PSA came on the screen. The ad, with cut-rate animation, has Mr. Yuk singing (or a friend? Possibly Mr. Yuk Senior? Maybe it was Mrs. Yuk. It's never really expained) about his face appearing on the bottles of liquids in the vanity or drug cabinet. Don't drink them, or you'll get sick and turn into a child with a bad cowlick.

The majority of the lyrics were "Mr. Yuk is Green....Mr. Yuk is MEAN [evil laugh]!!!"

So, are we to fear Mr. Yuk, or assume that he helps us figure out which products are bad for us to drink? If he's truly mean, why doesn't he materialize onto some bananas or a bag full of Cotton Candy? He'd be the scorn of child and parent alike.

Anyway, the thing sent me running from the room screaming. Not helping were the backgrounds that look like they were created by someone who had ingested plenty of materials Mr Yuk warned us about. I remember watching cartoons and leaving the room until I knew the commericals were over. Had I just watched PBS more often, I wouldn't have been as traumatized...or, you know, I could have read a book or played outside.

So, finding this thing after over 20 years, I have to say the creepiness factor is still there, even if it's even more outdated now. I don't know if you can scare the crap out of kids as easily these days, even if for the wrong reasons, but this thing seemed to work. Congratulations on your anniversary, Mr. Yuk. I'll buy the next round, provided we're dealing with drain cleaners.


Post a Comment

<< Home