Popeye Sells Out – Popeye Commercials (1980s)

I get it, nothing in entertainment is sacred, cartoon characters least of all. If there’s a buck to be made by putting a character on a product, that buck will likely be made. That’s just the way it is. I’m not even a big Popeye guy. Are there big Popeye guys? If there are, I’m not one of them. With all of that in mind, though, these product tie-ins feel way out of step for Popeye.

We’ve found the invisible wall of 900-number subjects, the pay-per-minute experience of calling Popeye to get his thoughts on his adventures. Who is this thirsty for Popeye content? What was a call to this hotline even like?

Even more offensive, to me, is this ad for an energy drink. That Popeye would admit that he’d been lying to the world all this time about spinach and that this new energy drink was actually the iron supplement that we all needed… it’s a massive betrayal. No ad gimmick is worth this level of damage to the Popeye brand. I have to assume this shrunk the pool of people who wanted to call into his hotline.

-ds

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