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Product As Superhero
A variety of commercial where the product, a Mascot or the product as a Mascot is presented as a superhero, fighting against or protecting you from something.

This can be played straight, where the product really is a superhero, in the context of the ad, or silly, where the product is acting like a superhero, but probably isn't.

Personal care products such as toothpaste and mouthwash tend to get this treatment a lot, but it is not limited to them. Toothpaste and mouthwash will often end up fighting "the gum disease known as gingivitis" (in those exact words) in some fashion. What's surprising is that they don't refer to gingivitis by its old name: trench mouth, as it would sound even more powerful. Or would be if trench mouth actually referred to gingivitis and not aggressive periodontitis.

Examples:

  • UFO Kamen Yakisoban, a tokusatsu hero who starred in commericals for the "UFO" brand noodles, and fought against the evil "Kettler". He even had his own video game!
  • Listerine mouthwash (originally played straight, or somewhat so — a computer-animated Listerine bottle boxing in the ring, fighting a shadowy monster, or swinging through the jungle to the tune of Baltimora's "Tarzan Boy" is hard to consider "played straight" — but now uses a guy in an obviously homemade bottle costume with a toothbrush sidekick)
    • There's also the trenchcoat-wearing "Agent Blue".
  • Crest toothpaste, featuring heroes protecting Toothopolis, a city encircled by a wall of monstrous teeth, from the Cavity Creeps ("We make holes in teeth")
  • In an episode of The Apprentice Martha Stewart, contestants charged with producing a live billboard for laundry stain remover Tide to Go won by depicting the product with a cape and boxing gloves to "knock out stains." (Incidentally, the boxing conceit was once used in a computer-animated spot for... Listerine. It all comes back to Listerine, folks.)
    • And used disastrously in the UK version of The Apprentice, in which one team tried to sell a cereal using the superhero Pants Man. Whose superpower was putting his underwear on the right way round. Amazingly, the idiot responsible wasn't sacked for another two weeks.
    • Wait! He was channeling Koiwai! He should have won on that alone!
  • In one stage of the game Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, a violinist with indigestion takes a health drink, and its effect is represented by little superheroes doing battle with the germs attacking his stomach lining. The western remake, Elite Beat Agents, used a troop of sexy nurses as a more general personification of an athlete's immune system.
  • "Man from Glad! Man from Glad!"
  • KOOL-AID SMASH! KOOL-AID IS THE STRONGEST ONE THERE IS! ...well, yeah. The Kool-Aid Man probably qualifies as a superhero insofar as The Incredible Hulk does — what with his tendency to smash through walls to bring you that much-needed refreshment! OH, YEAH! The people over at AppleGeeks seem to think he would be a good serial killer too.
  • Ajax had a white tornado.
    • They used to have a white knight who zapped clothes clean with beams from his magic lance.
  • The Jolly Green Giant used to grow vegetables in a valley in the middle of who-knows-where. Though he seldom if ever did anything, a guy that size is still a force to be reckoned with.
  • Mr Clean is able to make any place bright and shiny, even if it's a crack house in Detroit or Bin Laden's Cave in Afghanistan. For extra credit, where does Mr. Clean wear his earring?
    • In his ear.
  • Two Words: Scrubbing Bubbles.
  • Don't forget Erin Esurance.
  • This trope was parodied in a Cartoon Network original animated short, "Fungus Among Us", featuring filth-fighting superheroes such as "Captain Americlean".
  • Apparently, buying a Garmin gives one the ability to transform into an Ultraman-esque superhero to fight the evil Mapasaurus.
  • Combined with Delicious Fruit Pies in this Order of the Stick strip.
  • Trojan Man!
  • Rubik the Amazing Cube. was a cartoon from the 80s about an anthropomorphic cube that could fly and stuff...but only once someone had solved it.
  • This was parodied in Monty Python's Flying Circus by a series of animated sketches in which each advert's content is the metaphor used in the previous one: for example, "American Capitalism" is sold as though it were a brand of toothpaste, with Chinese Communists causing decay to teeth ("imagine this tooth is a small Asian country").
  • The mascot of Mr Muscle used to be a scrawny, weedy Nerd who was too weak to clean anything via elbow grease so needed powerful cleaning products to do the job for him. A recent Re Tool turned him into a smug, chiselled Science Hero with an American accent.
  • POWDERED TOOOOAST MAAAAAAAAAAN!
  • HEY! It's MAN-OF-POPSICLE!
  • The superheroes and villains Skechers created based on their shoes... which then spawned a cartoon adaptation, amazingly enough. The superhero is Z-Strap, whose power has to do with velcro straps on his sneakers, letting him get dressed really quickly. What a surprise that the villain's is "The Tangler."
  • "RAAAIIIID!" the bugs shriek. And then the spray can with arms — very muscular arms — reaches up with one to tap the spray button, spewing poison vapors, and "Kills Bugs Dead." There was also an animated Orkin commercial that depicted the exterminator in a drawing style reminiscent of 60s superhero cartoons, wielding a deadly sprayer to kill cockroaches that often seemed bigger than he was. And a later, live-action/CGI ad portrayed a bug exterminator marching into a house in powered armor; a heads-up display and laser targeting pinpoint the roach, and then the man fires jets of poison from an Arm Cannon. "Target terminated."
  • While not official (it started as an in-joke on the Japanese image board 2chan), this one, for Kikkoman soy sauce, simply must be seen to be believed. It cannot possibly be described adequately.
  • During the period when Super Sugar Crisp was changing its name to Super Golden Crisp, the commercial mascot (Sugar Bear) gained the power to transform himself into Super Bear. (Super Bear was less like a superhero than a really big mean scary grizzly, however, which probably didn't go over too well with the young kids that were the cereal's target demographic.)
  • At one point, the TV ads for Mighty Dog™ brand canned dog food went with a flying dog wearing a cape. He was supposed to be Mighty Dog (like Mighty Mouse, geddit?).
  • Bardahl advertised its engine-cleaners in the style of Dick Tracy—you had villains such as "Gummy Rings" causing problems until the Bardahl Detective showed up and set things right.


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