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Kool-Aid Man Rebrand Causes Generations to Question Reality

If you think CGI technology ruined Star Wars and that Jar Jar Binks is an abomination, then we have some bad news to report about the Kool-Aid man. And if you are the actual Kool-Aid man, then the news is even worse (sorry, brother, but you’re losing your job).

That’s right. The Kool-Aid man that generations of Americans came to know and love from commercials where he burst through walls and into our living rooms proclaiming “Oh Yeah!” is being replaced by a digital spokesperson, or spokespitcher. Since his inception in 1954 the Kool-Aid man has undergone makeovers to make him more appealing to more recent generations of kids, but for many of us this update is particularly disturbing.

The Kool-Aid man had become part of our childhood, like Twinkies and Captain Kangaroo. It was comforting to know that there was a person sitting on an airplane somewhere, or perhaps at the end of a dark bar, who when asked what he did for a living, answered, “I’m the Kool-Aid man.” With the computer animated Kool-Aid man, those days are over.

However, moms and dads will be happy that along with the rebrand—which features the updated slogan “Smile. It’s Kool-Aid”—Kraft is introducing a new sugar free drink mix in pocket-sized bottles. The brand is hoping to leverage the portability angle which has worked for its MiO product lines. And, yes, a Kool-Aid mobile app will debut at the beginning of the summer.

As PR professionals we recognize this is simply a business decision, but we can’t help being a little wistful about this development. Our industry is about people, and we don’t like to see real people—which the Kool-Aid man certainly was (you could tell by his walk)—being replaced by a bunch of code. If the Kool-Aid man can be replaced by a computer animated personality, then what exactly is the reality of our childhoods?

Did the Kool-Aid man ever exist at all?

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