At first blush, he doesn't look like a pitchman for Kikkoman teriyaki or soy sauce. With a tacky jacket and shiny yellow hairdo, he might seem more at home selling used cars than marinating chicken parts for millions of TV viewers.
But the mild-mannered little clay character (shown here) is "Kikko-Man," and as of last week he is appearing in a series of cable TV spots produced by Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco. His mission: to show "uninvolved cooks" how easy it is to cook with Kikkoman sauces.
Although it might be expected to use an Asian spokesperson to give an authentic ethnic flair, Kikkoman opted for a character of "Anglo descent" to position its brand as more "mainstream and American ... [to increase] consumer usage occasions beyond Asian food," according to a company representative.
Kikko-Man was created by Will Vinton Studios, Portland, Ore.
-Jane Irene Kelly