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Advertising / Louie the Fly

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The many looks of Louie.
"Louie the Fly, I'm Louie the Fly.
Straight from rubbish-tip to you!"

In the 1870s in Australia, a new household pesticide went on the market via German immigrant J. Hagemann. Named for a combination of the French word for "death" and the German word for "one", the brand Mortein was created. However, it would take quite a while for its biggest "star" to be found.

Debuting in 1957 was villainous pest Louie the Fly. Bragging about how filthy he is, how much disease he spreads, he's afraid of nothing...except for the can of Mortein! Originally designed as a semi-realistic fly, he was quickly turned cartoony and stylized. After a hiatus, he was brought back with another redesign. During a slow time for Mortein as a brand, they launched a campaign for the audience to vote if Louie should be killed off for good, with the vote making sure that Louie stayed.

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  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Louie's second design, the one that brought him into his cartoony design, has him only wearing a scarf.
  • Adaptation Species Change: The ads for the products meant for India and Malaysia change Louie into a mosquito instead of a fly, due to the stronger dangers of mosquito-borne illnesses there. None of his design is changed to be different, contrasting him from other mosquitos animated for the ads, who resemble the insect closer- though they usually wear tank tops for some reason.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Louie's CGI design would change him from a black fly to a purple one. He doesn't appear to be iridescent in this purple design, making him a color that house flies don't come in.
  • Anthropomorphic Shift: Louie's original design gave him the proportions of a realistic fly, only with a cartoony face. His next redesign would make him more humanoid in build, reducing him to only four limbs and giving him accessories to wear.
  • Cigar Chomper: Louie's third design gave him a constantly-unlit cigar in his mouth, fitting his "tough guy" persona. He would lose it in the switch to CGI, having it swapped out for a burnt-out matchstick.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Not often since any time Louie gets killed with Mortein doesn’t really count, but one commercial has him get squashed, which does count.
  • Flies Equals Evil: Louie the Fly brags about being a harbinger of disease and filth, willfully spreading it throughout homes.
  • Four-Legged Insect: Starting with his second design, Louie would be turned into a four-limbed fly, instead of the more realistic six-limbed one he originally was.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Louie's third design removes the scarf, but instead gives him an open vest and hat for his outfit.
  • Killed Off for Real: Averted. The poll where viewers were asked if Louie should die for real ended with them allowing Louie to live.
  • No-Sell: Subverted in one Malaysian commercial, where Louie gives his mosquito friends a vaccine to make them resistant to normal bug sprays, which also makes their eyes glow purple. Unfortunately, the Mortein product used here kills even resistant bugs. You know the rest.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Multiple commercials will have Louie as an animated character up against live action humans.
  • Shifted to CGI: Starting in the 2000s, Louie was shifted to a CGI design, rather than the 2D that he had before.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Louie will be killed by Mortein, but be back for the next commercial. His era in the 90s would be some of the only times he doesn't get killed, and he would even bring up how he gets killed all the time during the start of the campaign to vote whether he should be permanently killed or not.
  • Talking Pest: Being the mascot for a brand of pesticide, Louie would brag about how unstoppable he is...that is, until the Mortein comes out. The 90s era would introduce other insects that would be attacked in Louie's stead instead.
  • Too Dumb to Live: During the 90s era of the campaign, Louie would wise up about Mortein...unfortunately, the other bugs wouldn't. Ignoring any warning Louie gives, other insects would find themselves offed by the products.
  • Uncleanliness Is Next to Ungodliness: Louie is crass and unpleasant in both personality and appearance, and his constantly shedding dirt on the ground.
  • Villain Song: Louie's introduction into his second design gave him his theme song, where he brags about how filthy and disease-ridden he is.
  • Vocal Evolution: Louie was originally introduced with an Australian accent. This would eventually morph into a New York accent, which has stuck since.