Today I learned two surprising facts about the Quaker Oats mascot. First, his name is Larry. Yes, really. And second, Larry’s been retouched to project a more youthful appearance—not unlike what Ann Taylor and Helena Rubinstein have done to Demi Moore’s images for their recent ad campaign.
Larry, unlike Demi, is an imaginery figure—an illustrative icon for the brand, so making him look “five pounds thinner” is a little less scandalous than adjusting the perceptual age of a real-life spokesperson.
And, if anyone deserves a little digital nip/tuck and botox, it is Larry, who’s been adorning packages of Quaker foods products for 135 years.
The designers at Seattle-based Hornall Anderson gave Larry his new look. They took away his double chin and some of the plumpness from his face and neck, Michael Connors, the firm’s vice president of design, told the Wall Street Journal. “We took about five pounds off him,” Connors said.
The Huffington Post also notes that “Right above the collar, you can see that Larry's neck has gotten more slender, with less of a pronounced double chin than before. His hair is shorter and his jawline is more defined. There are also slight tweaks throughout his face, which give lend a slightly younger, healthier aspect than the old Larry.”
And of course, “healthier” is the subtext to the design update, with the strategic brief being to reinforce the idea that oatmeal is a healthy option for breakfast.
Congratulations Larry. You don’t look a day over 39.