Press Release

A World of Characters: Advertising Icons from the Warren Dotz Collection



CONTACT: Charles Schuler
Associate Deputy Airport Director
Communications & Marketing
San Francisco International Airport


A World of Characters: Advertising Icons from the Warren Dotz Collection
New exhibition presents more than three hundred colorful brand ambassadors from the twentieth century

SAN FRANCISCO –- For baby boomers, advertising mascots were a ubiquitous presence on product packaging, print ads, and television commercials.  Some characters originated from Madison Avenue’s top agencies while others evolved from napkin sketches by company employees caricaturing a friend or colleague.  The characters and their taglines became instantly recognizable: Tony the Tiger’s (1951) “They’re Grrrrrreat!” in reference to Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes; “Sorry Charlie,” delivered to StarKist’s Charlie the Tuna (1961), who didn’t have “the taste” to make it into their cans; even the giggle elicited from Pillsbury’s Poppin’ Fresh Doughboy (1965) became part of the public’s consciousness.  The most popular characters were produced as figurines and special-offer promotional items such as toys, telephones, coin banks, and cameras.  Despite a decline in the use of animated characters as brand ambassadors, our connection to twentieth-century advertising icons remains strong, and there is an enduring appreciation for the characters in their classic forms.  A World of Characters presents more than three hundred examples of advertising icons from the collection of Warren Dotz.


About the Collector

Native New Yorker Warren Dotz is a San Francisco-based author, consultant, and historian of popular culture.  As a youth, Dotz attended the 1964 New York World’s Fair, where his visits to the iconic and thoroughly modern corporate pavilions proved formative in his lifelong interest in popular art, brand spokes-characters, and the graphic design of logos and packaging.


The online version of this exhibition is viewable at:


A World of Characters: Advertising Icons from the Warren Dotz Collection is located pre-security in the International Terminal Main Hall Departures Lobby, San Francisco International Airport.  The exhibition is on view to all Airport visitors from June 28, 2014, to January 4, 2015.  There is no charge to view the exhibition.


SFO Museum

SFO Museum was established by the Airport Commission in 1980 for the purposes of humanizing the Airport environment, providing visibility for the unique cultural life of San Francisco, and providing educational services for the traveling public. The Museum was granted initial accreditation from the American Association of Museums in 1999, reaccredited in 2005, and has the distinction of being the only accredited museum in an airport. Today, SFO Museum features twenty-five galleries throughout the Airport terminals displaying a rotating schedule of art, history, science, and cultural exhibitions, as well as the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, a permanent collection dedicated to the history of commercial aviation. To browse current and past exhibitions, research our collection, or for more information, please visit




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