Joanna Ferrone and The Cultural Relevance of Fido Dido’s Credo
- Valeria Giampietro
Fido Dido is the name of the iconic black-and-white cartoon character created by Joanna Ferrone (Fido’s author and business manager) and Susan “Sue” Rose (illustrator and art director) in 1985. In accordance with the popular motto–which became known in the United States only a few years later–Fido Dido has symbolized youth, open-mindedness, tolerance, candor…and as such, he has inspired and forged an entire (national and international) collective imagery by inflecting it with the instruments most apt to represent (and reflect) a constantly evolving generation.
Depicted on clothing such in the collaborative effort with Études, magazines and television commercials from Europe to Hong Kong, Fido Dido has long been identified as a brand ambassador for 7-Up, PepsiCo’s lemon-lime flavored soft drink, thus becoming not only main spokes-character of a company whose success was largely–and unequivocally–recognized in the soft drinks market, but also, most of all, a peculiarly stylized emblem of a universal pluralism rising against its opposite, and profoundly ingrained, social-cultural dynamics, such as class prejudice or racial discrimination.
“In the year 1985, there were a lot of things in the US that I wanted to talk about,” Joanna Ferrone reveals in an interview for The Hindu Business Line. “There were plenty of prejudices, racial, religious and ethnic, to a certain extent, as well,” she said. “Then there was also class prejudice. Fido was created to say ‘You are what you are, and what you are is ok.’ That’s why his philosophy suits his attitude and also what both he and me want to say perfectly.”
As a result, Fido Dido impliedly expresses the urge to vindicate our own selves–our own integrity, our own cultural diversity, our own uniqueness–in a society (too) often engrossed in appearances. Our inner anxiety leaves room for self-awareness. Fido comes from the past, the motto repeats. Fido comes up from our own limits, our own self-recriminations. And, in spite of everything, he overcomes them with a fresh and breezy attitude. Fido is the future, Ferrone insists. And that future is still shining bright upon us.