Here's an ad for the Illuminating Company from the 1968 Cleveland Indians scorecard, featuring one of my all-time favorite advertising characters: Reddy Kilowatt.
Reddy is one of the most famous and beloved advertising mascots of all time. He was created in 1926 by Ashton B. Collins, general manager of Alabama Power Company, as part of a marketing effort to promote electricity as a safe and reliable servant. According to legend, Collins was trying to think of a mascot when he happened to look out the window during an electrical storm, and witnessed two lightning bolts merge and strike the ground as one. To Collins, the single bolt reminded him of the body of a man – and Reddy Kilowatt was born.
With jagged red lightning bolts making up his torso and appendages, a light bulb for a nose and light sockets for ears, Reddy was the perfect spokesman for electricity. Reddy became so popular that in 1934, Collins decided to leave the Alabama Power Company and start his own company, the Reddy Kilowatt Service. This new company offered to license Reddy to other power companies and eventually more than 200 enrolled.
Reddy appeared on billboards, newspaper and magazine ads, company stationery and signage, electric bills and many promotional products. By the 1970s, however, electric consumption began to exceed the supply and Reddy was no longer needed.
Happily, Reddy eventually found a new home. In 1998 his exclusive use was purchased by Northern States Power Co., which is now part of Xcel Energy. Click here to visit their website and find out more about Reddy.