Lasagna, Mixtapes, and Kanye West: In Conversation With Hamburger Helper’s Lefty

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If the popular meme “get you a man who can do both” could be applied to brand mascots, then Hamburger Helper’s Lefty would easily be tweeted with two then and now side-by-side images featuring the oven mitt’s endless versatile popularity with fans.

Debuting on packaging as “Helping Hand” in 1977, he was a four-fingered glove with a grin and deep enthusiasm for all things Hamburger Helper. His spokescharacter was on a mission: help mom provide her family with meals that everyone would love. Introduced with the slogan “Hamburger Helper, when you need a Helping Hand,” he would spend the next couple of decades dressing as a variety of characters like a gondolier and cowboy while introducing new flavors of Hamburger Helper to dinner tables everywhere.

In a recent reincarnation, Lefty was spotted grinning and dripping in gold on the cover of his first mixtape, “Watch the Stove.” The nod to Kanye West and Jay-Z’s “Watch the Throne” dropped on Soundcloud April 1, 2016. With just five tracks, the fire mix received blessings from Billboard and Twitter fans alike while also cementing Lefty’s latest character revival, which he’s ready to share more about in his own words. Today, I have the Notorious L.E.F.T.Y. chatting with me about his dream music collab, which mascots are in his ride or die squad, and why he’s all about that gondola and lasagna throwback ad life.

Advertising Week: Alright, we’ve gotta know: How did you get your name, Lefty?

Lefty: I’m always lending a hand in the kitchen. My entire life is built around a pun, that’s really all there is to it.

AW: What inspired you to create “Watch the Stove” and record your own mix?

Lefty: “Watch the Stove” was for the people, by the people. My fans had been asking for my mixtape for years so I had to feed the streets.

AW: Be honest. How do you really feel about vegetarians?

Lefty: I don’t have beef with vegetarians.

AW: Have you ever considered working with other lean proteins?

Lefty: I’ve got chicken, tuna and beef on my roster. No new friends.

AW: What throwback commercial spot did you love being in the most and why?

Lefty: That lasagna spot with me in the gondola is a CLASSIC. What people don’t know is how that all came about… I spent the weekend wining and dining with the locals. I met a guy— Giordano— who whipped up the most incredible dish of lasagna you’ve ever had. While we’re eating, he mentions his cousin Vinny who owns a gondola service. Next thing you know, BAM, I’m in a gondola, slurping up tomato sauce on camera. “Make a great meal-o?” Come on, that’s pure gold.

AW: Tell us something fans would be surprised to learn about you.

Lefty: Fans would be surprised by my humility. Yeah, I’m successful. Yeah, America loves me. But deep down, I’m just a simple glove that wants to feed families. It doesn’t get old to see tweets from fans saying they had Cheeseburger Mac for dinner; I mean, my heart could just explode. I’m in touch with my sensitive side.

AW: You’re hosting a dinner party (full of Helper goodness, obvs). Which brand mascots would you invite as your guests?

Lefty: I like to keep the family close. Trix Rabbit and I have been riding for years. We’re both OG’s in the industry. I also rock with Buzzbee from Cheerios — he has the connect with Usher and Nelly. I respect that.

AW: Finally: what’s on your bucket list?

Lefty: Meet ‘Ye.

Heather Taylor

Icon Researcher & Blogger at Advertising Week
Heather Taylor

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