Spokescritters used to be ubiquitous. Back in the day, everyone had a little guy. Pens had a little guy. Tuna, of all things, had a little guy. But these days, if you’re not a family-friendly restaurant or catering explicitly to children, having a cartoon mascot is considered passe and immature.*
* It should be noted that this is primarily a Western notion. Earlier this year, Microsoft unveiled its mascot for Japan: A 17-year-old, blue-haired schoolgirl from 2115. Yes, seriously.
But one of our longstanding clients — a corporation that has existed since “back in the day” was “not until after lunch” — has never given up on its spokescritters.
The Gill Corporation
Opening its doors in 1945 as Peerless Plastics Products, Inc., the company originally offered plastic products for home use — products like wallpaper that wouldn’t stain and floor paneling that could stand up to the high heels of the day.
But that didn’t work out so well because wallpaper is really just the worst. No one wants to deal with that stuff.
So the company founder, Merwyn C. (M.C.) Gill, switched focus to more industrial applications…
…and soon found himself on Easy Street!
The drawings above all came from the pen of noted editorial cartoonist Karl “Hubie” Hubenthal. A personal friend of M.C., he provided dozens of drawings for the company over the decades.
It’s of interest to note that during this time, the company spokescritter was M.C. himself — fitting, as the company was called “M.C. Gill Corporation” until its 2015 name change.
The spokescritter change came rather earlier, however. In the move toward serving the aerospace industry, the corporation quickly found itself one of the preeminent producers of honeycombed composites.
Honeycomb core is a naturally strong – yet flexible and lightweight – configuration for aircraft panels. Becoming experts in its production became the secret to The Gill Corporation’s success. Naturally their spokescritter would have to reflect this.
Bringing the Bee
To make the Bee a reality, the corporation brought in another cartooning legend: Scott Shaw. Shaw’s career goes back to the 1970s, and he has been involved in many major productions in cartooning, some of which garnered Emmy Awards. You may have heard of one of the ongoing events that he helped to found: the San Diego Comic Convention. So the Bee has a fairly significant pedigree.
To this day, the Gill Bee is prominently displayed on the back cover of each issue of The Gill Corporation’s quarterly magazine, The Doorway, along with the jokes and interesting trivia that are part of M.C. Gill’s legacy. Despite being the back cover, it’s the page people turn to first, giving this spokescritter maximum exposure.
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