The company that operates the chain of children's পিজা restaurants is retiring the giant rodent's outdated image and the man who voiced its character for nearly two decades.
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.
It's just the latest makeover for the 35-year-old mascot, which once was a New Jersey ইঁদুর who sometimes carried a cigar.
CEC Entertainment, based in Irving, Texas, is struggling to revive sales at its আরো than 500 পিজা restaurants, which offer games, prizes and a musical variety show. In May, CEC ব্যক্ত revenue at its locations open at least a বছর fell 4.2 percent in the first quarter and lowered its outlook for the year.
According to ShowBizPizza.com, a Chuck E. Cheese অনুরাগী site, the man who voiced the mascot in restaurants and commercials since 1993 learned of his replacement only after coming across " Chuck's Hot New Single" online and realizing it was sung দ্বারা someone else. The অনুরাগী site late last week published a ফেসবুক post দ্বারা Duncan Brannan, the mascot's former voice.
Brannan could not be reached for comment. But in the post, he writes that part of his assignment when he first took on the role was to transform Chuck E. Cheese from "a joke-telling, sometime off-color New Jersey rat" to a lovable, mainstream mouse.
He notes that there were various signs in সাম্প্রতিক months that suggested he was being pushed out, but that he was assured দ্বারা the company that he was still the voice of Chuck E.
The ফেসবুক post was republished দ্বারা The Dallas Observer this week.
CEC Entertainment says that Brannan wasn't fired but that it simply "chose to utilize new voice talent" for its ad campaign. The company ব্যক্ত Brannan, a freelancer, is still in contract with the company to provide entertainment in its restaurants.
The new Chuck E. Cheese that launches this week will be voiced দ্বারা Jaret Reddick, the lead singer for the pop-punk bank Bowling for Soup. The Chuck E. Cheese ফেসবুক page now shows a silhouette of a cartoon মাউস playing a guitar.
The first Chuck E. Cheese's পিজা Time Theatre location opened in 1977 in San Jose, Calif. According to ShowBizPizza.com, the idea for Chuck E. came from a generic mascot costume that was acquired দ্বারা the founder, Nolan Bushnell, who also co-founded Atari and Pong. Executives originally considered calling the restaurant "Rick Rat's Pizza" but a PR agency figured a ইঁদুর would be a bad mascot for a পিজা chain.
The name Chuck E. Cheese was selected because it downplayed the mascot's species and forced people to smile when they ব্যক্ত it, according to the site.