The Michelin Man
Most people know of this beloved icon simply as The Michelin Man. However, he is in fact named Bibendum, or "Bib" for short. The Latin word Bibendum means to drink, or drinking to be done. Some of the very old advertising campaigns featured Bib holding a drinking glass filled with sharp items that could normally destroy a car tire. The connection and subsequently Michelin's motto, was that Michelin tires could drink up road obstacles.
The Pilsbury Doughboy
The Pillsbury Doughboy actually has a name, and it's Poppin' Fresh. And.. he's not the only one of his kind. In his early days, he had a wife named Poppie Fresh, a child named Baby Bun Bun, grandparents named Grandmommer, and Grandpopper, and a puppy named Flapjack!! All characters were available in vinyl toy form, and you can occasionally find whole sets of the Poppin' Fresh family for sale on ebay.
Mr. Clean was created in 1958. In 1962 during a company promotion to give Mr. Clean a first name, he was donned the first name "Veritably". While many believe Mr. Clean to be a genie, he was actually modeled after a United States sailor.
The Jolly Green Giant
The Jolly Green Giant has been around since 1928, and was originally conceived to promote the companies variety of unusually large peas that they sold. When The Jolly Green Giant started appearing in commercials, he was deemed as too scary and menacing, especially when he walked. This is why you see the giant simply standing in the valley with his arms crossed, and uttering nothing else but his jolly "Ho Ho Ho".
I used to love the StarKist tuna commercials, but always thought it was kind of morbid that Charlie's dream was to be caught by a fisherman so he could in essence be "processed" and sold as StarKist tuna! There was a rumor floating around for years that Charlie Tuna's likeness was created by actor James Dean, several years before the StarKist company started using Charlie at their mascot. It stemmed from one of James Dean's friends stating he was with him one night in a Los Angeles diner when Dean sketched out Charlie. This claim has been shunned by both the StarKist company and Tom Rogers, the artist who created Charlie. Furthermore, no real evidence has ever been found to truly support the claim.