Bill Prady has been having the same conversation over and over again since ABC announced in May that his revival of The Muppets had secured a spot on the fall schedule.
Jim Henson creations have a storied history in advertising, going back to the 1950s, when a violent proto-Kermit pitched Wilkins Coffee with 10-second TV spots. Tappy, the latest creation from Jim Henson's Creature Studio, is similarly off-kilter in his role as a living credit-card reader at a checkout counter. Tappy is the new voice of Softcard, an e-payment product that works at McDonald's and other major chains that now accept phone swipes as currency. Softcard needed a new mascot and some rebranding after changing its name from Isis, an unfortunate name since being co-opted by the infamous terror state. Tappy is a bit out there as a concept, turning a boring inanimate object into a somewhat obnoxious little critter, but that's what the Henson team has done for decades, building characters for brands to support their more artful Muppet projects. In fact there’s a roster of corporate mascots that come from The Jim Henson Co. that you might not know are basically cousins to Kermit, Oscar and Big Bird. For Instance, Snuggle bear is part muppet and so is Jack in the Box’s oversize snowman. Here's a look at the some of the characters made by Jim Henson's Creature Studio for commercials and video marketing: Tappy, Softcard In a history of oddities, Tappy stands out among the Henson creations for sheer adsurdity. He's a credit-card reading machine with teeth. We could learn to love him, maybe, on a long enough timeline.