Sure, you can judge a city by its local music, food, and other cultural references, but you're really missing out on the heart of the town if you don't take into account their most enduringly odd local advertising icons. Here's some of our favorites from South Florida, the ones that stick in our brains long after we've rid ourselves of the brain-frying jingles.
Del Toro Insurance's Bull and Matador
Who the hell animates these? The same people that make bad Chinese rip-offs of Pixar movies? Perhaps this is all some briliant marketing strategy, though. "Yeah, whatever, we paid like $12.99 to make this commercial. Do you know how much Geico spends on that damn lizard? Plus they higher some fancy British voice actor. We pulled some guy off the street to voice the matador, and then stuck a bunch of marshmallows in his mouth to voice the bull. We only paid him with a hot dog and a pat on the back. So, who do you think is going to save you money?"
Albita for Esserman International
Grammy Award winning singer Albita took South Beach by storm back in her '90s heyday with her deep voice, Cuban beats, and uniquely androgynous look. She entertained celebrities (Madonna in particularly was said to take a keen liking to her), and went on to a run on Broadway in "The Mambo Kings." Now, to a younger generation of Miamians, she's known only as that lady with the fire red hair who comes on at the end of Esserman International car dealership commercials to sing that jingle you won't be able to get out of your head for days.
The Ticket Clinic Kid
Listen, I don't want to appear to be bullying a child, but I for one do not appreciate the fact that this cute little towheaded moppet rubs in the fact that I don't get a trophy whenever I speed, but rather a ticket with reckless glee. Of course, commenters on YouTube have no problem bullying a child. "I can't fucking stand that that little shit head," says one. "I just wanna kill myself every time this stupid commercial comes on ..." says another. At least no one has actually killed themselves watching this commercial ...Yet!
Michael from Kendall Toyota
I guess if the blonde kid above gets you out of speeding tickets, this kid sells you the car you get them in. And of course, if the Ticket Clinic Kid doesn't get you out of that DUI, you can just take a county bus ... half of which currently have Michael's face plastered on the back of them.
It's been a long time since we've been in elementary school, so someone please remind us if being in commercials makes you cool or gets you made fun of? Please tell us it's cool, because people commenting on these YouTube ads are not nice. They're just kids. Kids in annoying television commercials sure, but just kids.
Pepito for Laser Eye Center of Miami
Unlike others on this list, Pepito never made it to television, but for years he regaled drivers along South Dixie Highway with tales of all that he could do now that he had Lasik surgery. Here he is water skiiing. Other times he was trick or treating, or collecting Easter eggs, or playing Cupid, or running for President. Pepito is no longer seen in the clinic's advertising, and, well, we hope that was a creative decision, and Pepito is still enjoying his perfect eyesight in doggy retirement.
The Rice Twins for Hulett Pest Control
Hulett Pest Control is based up in Palm Beach County, but their commercials are seen around the state and known for two twin brothers, Greg and John, who have dwarfism. The two actually were successful real estate brokers in their own right before they become advertising icons. Sadly, John passed away in 2005, but Greg can still be seen in Hulett's commercials.
The Santa's Enchanted Forest Dancers
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
In another life where I was a musician, and not just any musician, but the type of musician who recorded a Christmas album (basically in this world I am Justin Bieber, just go with it), I would almost certainly include a cover of the Santa's Enchanted Forest. Forget "Jingle Bells." Nothing signals Christmas-time to me quite like seeing this commercial.