Calimero

 

Sometimes when talking to an Italian person you will hear him (but more probably her) saying «everybody hates me because I’m small and black» or some variation of this phrase, possibly in a childish voice. That would be the catchphrase of Calimero, the animated black chick designed in 1963 by studio Pagot as the mascot for a detergent (it turned out he wasn’t really black but just dirty, so it would be cleaned up and be happy).
Even though the television ads he starred didn’t air for long, he somehow became a cultural icon whose popularity exploded all over the media. There were Calimero comic books, dolls, toys and more – and in 1974 even Japan caught the bug and produced a whole 47-episodes animated series about him.

The character found a new life in 1992 with a second and even longer series that got aired all over the world. Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands even use Calimero’s name to indicate the self-deprecating, delusional underdog status many take upon themselves sometimes in their lives.