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Smokey the Bear, what's happened to you?

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Reel Mama: Smokey the Bear, what's happened to you?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Smokey the Bear, what's happened to you?

Before: Cute and cuddly Smokey the Bear

Maybe this is only happening in LA, but today I noticed a billboard with a very familiar slogan--“Only you can prevent wildfires”--and a decidedly unfamiliar spokes-bear flexing a six pack. At first I thought I was looking at the Incredible Hulk. Could that be good ol’ Smokey...injecting himself with STEROIDS? Impossible! I looked again. Yes, the ranger hat was still there, but the teddy bear I knew and loved was gone. In its place was a strange man-creature with fur, ripped abs, and what at the time struck me as a menacing leer reminiscent of those awful squinting cartoon bad guys they used to have with names like Zemox and Targon. If I recall correctly, Smokey was holding an old school bodybuilder pose. You know, the one where they bend forward and do the air hug, flexing their biceps, popping their veins, and flicking their sweat?
According to some, decades ago Smokey had man boobs and a beer gut (kind of), as the following images might suggest: 

Notice how Smokey can't even button his jeans in this photo due to his gut.

Here too, it wouldn't hurt Smokey to hit the Stairmaster every once in a while

But he’s had an extreme makeover. Now his new slogan is “Get your Smokey on!”  

After: This is not the ad I saw, which featured Smokey with prominent pecs, but you get the idea 

Or is it, “Get on top of Ol’ Smokey?”  Is he trying to make the public be physically attracted to him? (A gross idea, I know, but try to think of this in “Beauty and the Beast” terms.) Perhaps fanning the flames of desire will metaphorically help prevent the physical wildfires. Maybe if everybody just stays in their tents doing it, then no fires will get made in the first place, and no wildfires will get sparked. Is that the message, or is he just trying to intimidate us with his new hyper mucho macho image?
It seems that Smokey has gotten brawnier over time, but to be fair, images of Smokey have varied greatly over the years, from cute and cuddly to big brown blob to a slightly chiseled humanoid physique. But this ad really secures his place in the pantheon of bears who bench press.
On a personal note, all those who know me know that I LOVE wildlife, and while I may not be a big fan of Smokey’s new image, I’m a huge fan of his message. Only you can prevent forest fires and protect the natural heritage of our majestic forests so that all future generations can enjoy them!  Please visit Smokey the Bear's website here for ways you can help prevent forest fires.
And for old time's sake, enjoy this:


At January 3, 2012 at 3:00 AM , Blogger Tamara said...

After all this time I never really payed attention to this thanks for the insight on sir Smokey Bear. Love the video :) stooped in from teh Alexa blog Hop

At January 3, 2012 at 7:19 PM , Blogger Bre said...

hi its brenda from the small things. :) stopping by for the alexa blog hop! hope to see you soon.

At January 5, 2012 at 12:16 AM , Blogger Lauren Ivy Chiong said...

Hi ladies, thanks for reading! I look forward to checking out your blogs!


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