From Napkin Doodle to Soft Drink Mascot: The Story of Fido Dido

Chill in personality, cool in what he promotes, minimal in appearance, and well-known as an icon of advertising.

Sounds like another “Do You Remember,” don’t you think?

Previously, on Allison’s Written Words…

1990s commercials about raisins and energy one gets as a result reminded me of a series of commercials and Saturday morning cartoon bumpers featuring a similarly-animated guy with a upside-down triangle head and spiky hair, who first appeared in the 1980s, but enjoyed his time in the limelight of the 1990s. In his prime, he promoted soda and starred in bumpers during commercial breaks on Saturday mornings, and appeared on clothing. But he started out his life as a drawing on a napkin, and given a name that rhymes.

Who is this super chill guy?

Why, he’s Fido Dido!

And he wears shirts with his picture on them!

Living Life in the Third Lane

Fido Dido began his chill life in 1985, as a doodle on a napkin, the creation of Sue Rose. Her friend, Joanna Ferrone, came up with the name for this spiky-haired, upside down triangle-shaped head guy. The pair then stenciled his image onto t-shirts, which became popular in New York City.

By 1988, Fido Dido became a commercial pitchman, licensed to PepsiCo, but it wasn’t until a few years later when he began appearing 7-Up commercials, as well as an image on products. After he was replaced by the Cool Spots as 7-Up’s pitch characters, Fido went on to promote Slice, a different Pepsi product. In addition to his time toting caffeine free clear and fruit-flavored sodas, he was also the bumper character during CBS’s Saturday Morning lineup beginning in 1990. It would be a job he’d have until 1993.

In addition to Fido himself, there were his friends – Boy, Fido’s Fido, Fido Boys, Fido Doody, Fido Jerk, Danger Dido, Howdy Dido, F.D., Video Dideo, Jo Dido, Lido Dido, and The Unknown Dido. The characters all appeared in the Saturday morning bumpers alongside Fido himself.

Image: Facebook

Fido’s reach included clothing his own magazine in the United Kingdom, a book, his own comic strip in YM magazine, and he almost had his own video game for Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. That didn’t happen due to Kaneko’s United States branch shutting down in 1994, and it seems by then, Fido’s days of advertising and Saturday morning TV watching were pretty much over.

For a little while.

The King of Chill Never Really Goes Away…

Even though his time as a product pitchman/cartoon bumper character was relatively short-lived, he is part of the whole “nothing even quite goes away” trend of reintroducing nostalgia. In the early 2000s, Fido reappeared on cans and advertising for 7-Up, and again in 2018 for their Vintage Cans series.

Cans from 1993, made in the United Kingdom (Image: Worthpoint)

There is even an amazing mural painted on the side of a building in Guayaquil, Ecuador during the early 1990s, at the height of Fido’s pitchman days. Time attempted to take down the King of Chill, but an article published in El Universo in March 2019 resulted in the mural being restored to its full early 1990s splendor.

Image: El Universo

How cool is that?!

I watched CBS’s Saturday morning lineup during the early-mid 1990s, as most of my favorite cartoons were on the network (with some exceptions over on ABC). I do remember the bumpers featuring Fido. For some reason, I always associated him with “Where’s Waldo?” (same face, I guess?), but I definitely remember the many soda commercials he did, and all those shirts he appeared on. It is nice to know that although he slipped away from public consciousness, he has never actually gone away. The restored mural is proof of that, and gives the theory of “nothing ever goes away” more credibility.

Fido’s creator, Sue Rose, along with Joanna Ferrone, continue to work in animation. Rose created Pepper Ann in 1997, and the duo created Angela Anaconda for Fox Family (now Freeform), with Rose providing the voice of Angela. Rose, like her original creation, is still active in the business, mixing up TV screenwriting with the occasional voice acting role.

Livin’ That Chill Life…

And speaking of “never actually going away,” YouTube has certainly helped continue to trend of Fido never actually going away, with videos complete with Fido’s adventures in Saturday Morning Cartoon blocks, as well as his adventures in soda drinking!

I’ve decided that Fido’s time as an advertising pitchman deserve a little recognition in their own article, so I’ll be devoting Throwback Thursday to the soda drinking times of Fido Dido. There’s plenty of fun material that certainly could build an entirely separate article. I don’t like to give away the behind the scenes and planning of my articles, but seriously, Fido is worth it.

But until then…

Do you remember Fido Dido and his adventures in cartoons, advertising, and being the King of Chill on merchandise? Did you ever own any of those shirts? I’d love to hear your stories and appreciation for this guy!

Whoah, have a great day!

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