Chuck E. Cheese, the mascot mouse of the eponymous restaurant, is getting a makeover and a new ad campaign.
The campaign, from The Richards Group, Dallas, will break on Thursday and include four TV spots.
According to the Associated Press: "CEC Entertainment Inc. says it plans to launch a national ad campaign Thursday with a revamped image of Chuck E. Cheese as a hip, electric-guitar-playing rock star."
Maybe they should just change his name to Poochie.
According to fan site ShowbizPizza.com, Chuck got his start as a cigar-smoking New Jersey rat, and early sidekicks included Crusty the Cat, Foxy Colleen and Sally Sashae. He was softened over the years to the giant mouse that made kids smile. Now he's going to be "voiced by Jaret Reddick, the lead singer for the pop-punk bank Bowling for Soup." (You can see an example of Reddick's work here.)
Is this what kids want? Who knows? Who cares? As a parent who's done his time in the shriek-filled habitrails of Chuck E. Cheese, here are a few suggestions: make sure the stores are clean; serve pizza that doesn't taste like it came out of the freezer; stop it with the VeggieTales videos on endless loop (it's annoying and I'll indoctrinate my kid with religion on my own time, thank you); and get rid of the "games" that aren't games as much as they are glorified slot machines, spinning wheels and other games of chance that kids fill full of tokens in an attempt to get those close-to-worthless tickets.
Ah, who am I kidding. Kids love filth, cheap pizza and those ridiculous games. I'm not so sure how they're going to feel about a "hip, electric-guitar-playing rock star," though. Fill the place up with Guitar Hero consoles and bring back some of those slightly sketchy sidekicks and maybe it'll all work out.
(Via Gawker, which has a few suggestions of its own to revamp the mouse.)