Kool-Aid Man is the mascot for Kool-Aid, a brand of flavored drink mix. The character has appeared on television and print advertising as a fun-loving, gigantic, anthropomorphic pitcher, filled with cherry Kool-Aid and marked with a smiley face. He is typically featured answering the call of children by smashing through walls and furnishings, holding a pitcher filled with Kool-Aid while yelling his catch-phrase "OH YEAH!!!!!".
The precursor to Kool-Aid Man, the Pitcher Man, was created on July 10, 1954 by Marvin Potts, an art director for a New York advertising agency hired by General Foods to create an image that would accompany the slogan "A 5-cent package makes two quarts." Inspired by watching his young son draw smiley faces on a frosted window, Potts created the Pitcher Man, a glass pitcher with a wide smile emblazoned on its side and filled with Kool-Aid. It was one of several designs Potts created but the only one that stuck, and General Foods began to use the Pitcher Man in all of its advertisements.
Kool-Aid Man making his trademark entrance in a 1978 Kool-Aid commercial saying his catchphrase. Beginning in 1974, Kool-Aid Man was introduced as a walking/talking 6-foot-tall pitcher of cherry Kool-Aid, reportedly voiced by Grey Advertising composer, Richard Berg and created by Alan Kupchick and Harold Karp (of Grey Advertising). Children, parched from playing, or other various activities, would typically exchange a few words referring to their thirst, then put a hand to the side of their mouths and call forth their "friend" by shouting "Hey, Kool-Aid!", whereupon, the Kool-Aid Man would make his grand entrance, breaking through walls, fences, ceilings or furnishings, uttering the famous words "Oh yeah!", then pour the dehydrated youngsters a glass of Kool-Aid from his own supply. Beginning in 1979, in what was seen as a major advance in children's advertising, the character's mouth was animated to "move" in synchronization with the voice actor's singing and/or dialogue.
By the 1980s, the Kool-Aid Man had attained pop culture icon status. In 1983, he was the subject of two Kool-Aid Man video games for the Atari 2600 and the Intellivision systems. He was also given his own short-lived comic book series, The Adventures of Kool-Aid Man. This ran for three issues under Marvel Comics from 1984–85 and continued with issues #4-7 under Archie Comics, with art by Dan DeCarlo, from 1988-89.
In 1994, the live-action character was retired. From that point until 2008, the character became entirely computer-generated; however, other characters, such as the children, remained live-action. In the 2000s, singer and voice-over artist, Frank Simms began voicing the character. In 2009, the live-action character was reintroduced, playing street basketball and battling "Cola" to stay balanced on a log, where he was voice by Pat Duke. In 2016, Brock Powell took over the role and has voiced the character since.
From at least 1979 to 1981, the character was known in Canada as Captain Kool-Aid.