Robots can do so many things. They can explore worlds humans can't yet reach. They can perform feats too delicate and subtle for humans alone. They can build massive, mighty works, far quicker than humans could achieve. And sometimes, they can also just try to sell things.
Yes, not every robot created has a noble purpose; some are mere marketing shills, created in the hope that they'll promote a brand and/or move some products. Here are seven robots whose only purpose is separating you from your money.
1) Svedka Vodka Robot
Trying to break into the crowded vodka market in 2005, Svedka came up with an interesting campaign: 1) they'd call themselves "the best vodka of 2033" and 2) have a sexy robot slinking about in their advertisements. Despite the implicit suggestion that Svedka Vodka won't be good for another 20 years at least, the campaign seems to have been a success and the Svedka-bot continues to strut her way around their commercials, awaiting the day she can overthrow her human/male masters.
I'm not sure why Feeney, the robotic mascot for LG's line of Whisen air conditioners in South Korea, seems to have been programmed with both a crippling shyness and a desire to surreptitiously watch couples in the privacy of their own home. Still, I suppose I wouldn't mind a bit of robo-peeping myself as long as I could stay cool in summer. Regardless, Feeney was popular enough that he ended up starring in his own Olympics commercial where he participated in the downhill ski-jump event, because… air conditioners, I guess?
3) Energizer Bunny
While ostensibly a toy, the Energizer Bunny has displayed enough independence of thought over the years that it qualifies as a robot, albeit a battery-powered one. Since its debut in 1989 (as a parody of the pink Duracell bunnies), it's fought and defeated King Kong, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Wile E. Coyote, amongst others. It also powered an entire spaceship in a commercial it's been estimated every single American hasseen at least 18 billion times. Energizer actually has a section of its website devoted to the bunny, including a "bio page," which lists his turn-ons as "marathons, hot air ballooning and drum solos" and the person he would most like to meet as "Lance Armstrong." I suspect it might have been a little while since the bio page was last updated.
Alas, the mid-tier Spider-Man villain never had a part-time job shilling for an early 20th-century electronic manufacturing company. This Elektro was the Westinghouse company's 7-foot-tall robot mascot from 1937-39, touring America and appearing at World's Fairs and such. From Wikipedia:
He could walk by voice command, speak about 700 words (using a 78-rpm record player), smoke cigarettes, blow up balloons, and move his head and arms. Elektro's body consisted of a steel gear, cam and motor skeleton covered by an aluminum skin. His photoelectric "eyes" could distinguish red and green light.
More importantly, once his tenure as Westinghouse mascot was over, he appeared as Thinko in the 1960 Mamie Van Doren film Sex Kittens Go to College. So shed no tears for Elektro, my friends.
What? A robot? That works in an office? And only says that week's lotto winnings jackpot?! Why, I never! I have to admire the star of the North Carolina Lottery's little campaign, if only for Jackbot's fabulously goofy design and his increasing passive-aggressive attitude towars his co-workers.
6) Bit and Bud
It's a little known fact that the cable lines of Canada are full of tiny robots who carry information around at top-speed (unlike in America, where they're full of molasses and failure). Shaw Communications has very recently personified these ‘bots in the forms of Bit and Bud, the company's two new mascots. So far they've only tried to hide their existence and watch a wife give her husband an HD cable box as if that was somehow a normal Christmas present, but hopefully more weirdness awaits.
7) R.O.B. the Robot
"What ho!" you cry. "R.O.B. the Robot? The one that was packaged with the original Nintendo back in 1985? He wasn't a mascot at all, he was a toy! There's no way he belongs on this list!" You're mostly right. R.O.B. wasn't a Nintendo mascot — they already had Mario — and it was most definitely a toy. However, it was still a robot designed specifically to sell Nintendo consoles. See, after Atari had effectively killed the video game industry in America, toy retailers were wary of stocking anything video game-related. Nintendo used R.O.B. to point out the NES was at least half-toy, and thus a safe bet to sell. It worked magnificently. The fact that Nintendo only bothered to release two games for R.O.B. (of about nearly 800) is proof enough that Nintendo created him for one reason and one reason only - to get Nintendos into toy stores.