Otto the Orkin Man

Otto the Orkin Man

In 1950, Orkin employee Leon Mims created funny little objects out of paperclips and rubber bands that he found in the mailroom during his spare time. One paperclip creature found its way to advertising manager Gene Abraham Weinstein, who asked Mims to recreate the object in modeling clay. From this, Mims created a clay version of a pesticide spray can with arms and legs called “Otto the Orkin Man.”

The character first appeared in a 1950 issue of an internal newsletter. By 1951, the animated character starred in 20-second television commercials and developed a personality described as energetic, courteous and helpful. The character even had his own jingles, sung to the tune of “Popeye the Sailor Man.” Here are two examples:

I’m Otto the Orkin Man.
We kill all the pests in the land.
When Termites start swarming,
They better take warning.
I’m Otto the Orkin Man.

I’m Otto the Orkin Man.
I’m Otto the Orkin Man.
To control your pests,
Orkin is best.
Call Otto the Orkin Man.

Otto the Orkin Man exterminated villainous characters in commercials, including Rags the Ruinous Rat, Legs the Repulsive Roach and Toothy the Terrible Termite.  

Orkin had a tremendous increase in brand recognition and telephone leads from these early commercials, and the company has since capitalized on creative advertising to reach its audiences.