The KOOL penguin had barely been around for a couple of years when some advertising agent came up with the idea to combine a pitch for cigarettes with interest in the general election campaign. The idea was to show the KOOL penguin as a calming arbitrator between the competing mascots of the two major political parties. The wise penguin counsels: "In Either Case ... Keep KOOL !"
The earliest version of this image was used in a 1936 advertisement, seen at left. The ad copy read:
For the hottest campaign in a lifetime we give you the cigarette that pledges itself to keep your throat relaxed and c-o-o-l!
The exact same image was used in connection with the 1944 election, with advertising copy reading:
If a political campaign makes you hot under the collar ... remember ... that's where your throat is, so keep it KOOL.
A nice KOOL penguin poster was issued in connection with the 1960 election. Notice that by 1960, the party mascots have gotten more angry and confrontational, while the penguin has gotten smaller and less helpful. The advisory had also changed from "... keep KOOL" to "... smoke KOOL."
The 1960 campaign also saw the publication of a little 60-page "presidential guide." This booklet measures roughly 3" x 6" and contains lots of information about the electoral process as well as a number of cute little illustrations of our guy Willie.
What election-related item could be more common than the pinback button? Well, KOOL had one of those too. This button dates to either the 1936, 1940, or 1944 election, as evidenced by the use of the "...keep" motto, rather than "...smoke." Also the white stripe on the side of Willie's head suggests that this is from a relatively early period.
Yet another election guide appeared in 1964, an item which also represents the latest known appearance of the KOOL penguin.
The discovery of this item extends the life of the KOOL penguin advertising campaign to over 30 years.
Go back to the "Willie" Penguin Collectibles page.
© 1999 by James R. Lowe, who reserves all rights to the content of this page not successfully claimed by others.