Mascot Week: Supermodelquins 🌭

To kick off Mascot Week, I am bringing you not the tale of a single mascot but many, and they’re all fucking. You asked for Mascot Week so I’m opening the dark door at the end of my brain hallway marked Supermodelquins, the 2008 mass delusion Old Navy used to desperately try and sell pants. Do you like celebrities but hate the warmth of humanity in their eyes? Then the Supermodelquins are for you! Most stores want to discourage customers from coming into their store and trying to fuck the mannequins, but not Old Navy. They’re your mannequin fucking sommelier, suggesting the hottest mannequins for the discerning fondler.

During the 2008 recession, Old Navy was in big trouble. Celebrities were starting consumer fashion lines at their competitors like Kohl’s and Macy’s but all Old Navy had to compete with was a long, cylindrical fanny pack for men they were calling a drink duffle. No one wanted this tall shame tube, so as a last resort Old Navy decided to create their own celebrities. The Supermodelquins were more than just mascots. They had beef, they had tea, they had a full four-course meal of drama. Plus, their own gossip magazine and at least three unpaid interns running social media accounts for each of them across multiple networks.

Let me start by introducing you to the major Supermodelquin players and their primary storylines. Kelly is the main character of the Supermodelquin universe. She used to date Josh but they broke up and he got together with Heather who’s British for some reason. Wesley is the hot one; he’s married to Michelle, and they have two children. Eva is a single mother to her daughter after her divorce from Enrique, who makes a few guest appearances but is not a main Supermodelquin cast member. Amy is also there, but frankly, she is the worst. It’s unclear who owns Barker Bones the dog, but he is the middle dog of three dog mascot iterations Old Navy has attempted, including Paco and Magic. I know the answer to this question will open my eyes to a secret world of darkness, but where are all of the dogs going, Old Navy!?

The main Supermodelquins storylines happened in Old Navy commercials but then the astoundingly large cast continued those storylines in online feuds that were also ads for pants. Old Navy newspaper ads were redesigned to look like issues of People magazine in a world conquered by the charm of our mannequin overlords. These ads also sometimes picked up threads from the commercials or introduced plots that would work their way into the commercials later.

The Supermodelquins campaign begs us to be interested in the Supermodelquins fucking. The primary plots were often romance-related, and a lot of the jokes in the commercials were weirdly sexual. Old Navy objectified the hell out of these objects in the hopes of beating out big name stars like Avril Lavinge and her brand Abbey Dawn. Sure, Kohl’s might have had a dumb pop star at their store sometimes, but Old Navy had seven accessible, poseable, celebrities for people to take selfies with at every location. However, most people only chose to take photos with the dog.

In fact, the Barker Bones mannequin was so popular that it’s still in lots of stores today, devoid of the Supermodelquins context. It’s so popular that it’s often stolen from the stores. There was even a cursed 2020 TikTok trend of kids publicly stealing it for social media clout. Barker Bones is the enduring celebrity of the Supermodelquins, the Beyonce to their Destiny’s Child.

Old Navy loved the idea of people being so invested in the mannequin’s personal lives that they would come into the store and take photos with them. That was the ultimate goal of the campaign. They really thought that the mannequins would become an attraction that would drive people into the stores with the mere presence of their celebrity. They even took the mannequins out to events so they could photograph them with real C and D list celebrities of the 2000s hoping some of their star power would rub off on them. Kim Kardashian was photographed canoodling with both Wesley and Josh in 2009, even though they were both in committed relationships at the time. This picture probably took twelve meetings, 65 phone calls, and $170,000 to set up, and you are the first people to see it:

Let’s talk about some of the major storylines that ran through the commercials. There was the Josh/Kelly/Heather love triangle that featured Josh proposing to Heather in a commercial for the Old Navy town gown. Then at their engagement party, which was also a commercial for shorts called “In Shorts Surprise,” Heather learned that Josh has a tattoo of Kelly on his leg and is upset. Later, in a commercial for jeans, we learn they’ve broken up, and Heather is now spending time with auxiliary Supermodelquin, Eva’s ex-husband Enrique! Old Navy fit all of that into one-minute and thirty-second increments mostly about pants and only slightly about which mannequins are currently banging.

Since I refuse to enjoy any television program that doesn’t jump the shark in a ridiculous way by suddenly including magic two seasons in, “The Booty Reader” is my favorite Supermodelquins storyline. Eva suddenly becomes a psychic who “reads bootys”. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Why do you have more questions about it? Customers come into Old Navy, walk up to a sitting mannequin, and display their ass to her. She then waves her hands over the customer’s ass and tells them their fortune. The fortune is usually that they like pants. These amazing ass-based psychic powers were part of a major marketing campaign. Well-paid people trained exactly for this spent millions of dollars to turn a dummy into a butt wizard. Again, most department stores tend to discourage customers waving their asses at store mannequins but not at Old Navy! Other stores suck!

Additional commercial plots I thought were a little weird include the time Kelly jumped out of a cake to celebrate Old Navy’s fifteenth birthday. She was fully clothed but she does sexually discard her puffer vest in Josh’s general direction and then Josh says, “birthday wishes do come true!” It’s the horniest anyone has ever been for a mannequin in a puffer vest. I hope.

There’s also a commercial where a crazed Old Navy customer rips the dress right off of Michelle, leaving her completely naked in front of the other Supermodelquins, and Kelly turns her head a full 180 degrees to see her naked friend. I’d like to think there would have been a marriage shattering romance plot in their future if it weren’t for the untimely demise of the Supermodelquins. Also, I think that Eva’s daughter would have turned out to be half booty reader, half mothman, and they wouldn’t discover it until mysterious large holes started showing up in all the Old Navy jorts.

By far, the strangest thing about the Supermodelquins was the social media aspect of the project. Someone kept track of Facebook and Twitter accounts for all seven adult Supermodelquins. You can only write so many tweets about scarves before you start to fully lose your mind. The Supermodelquins were supposed to be friends but the most interesting thing to do with them online was make them fight. Social media became an unsanctioned mannequin fight club for engagement purposes, and to entertain the marketing interns piloting the Old Navy mascot bang bus.

Kelly was the most adept mannequin at subtweeting the other Supermodelquins. After Heather and Josh broke up, she sent this scorching little insult to zero engagement. Weird, it’s almost like most normal people aren’t going to get super invested in the romantic scandal of a bunch of mannequins. Abnormal people are only mildly interested.

It wasn’t all hate, though. On occasion the Supermodelquins would use social media to sexually harass each other. Here’s Josh taking his frat boy personality to its full 1980s conclusion, again in the hopes of selling tragic backstory sandals for five dollars. I can’t stress enough that the end game of every Supermodelquin’s interaction was supposed to be someone going to Old Navy to purchase something. The equation was, Josh makes a joke about Amy’s giant ornaments, someone sees this, it convinces them to buy a puffer vest.

Josh got more responses on his social media than any other Supermodelquin. If Barker Bones had social media, I’m certain he would have smoked him, but sadly, if Barker did have his own page, it’s been lost to time. From what I can figure out, it seems like he was a fixture on the main Old Navy Facebook page because they posted that Barker would be “going on vacation” when the Supermodelquins campaign ended. Then, they had to fend off a swarm of upsetting comments implying that Old Navy was killing their fake mannequin dog. That’s how rabid the Barker Bones fanbase is. Where were all you Old Navy dog stans when Paco and Magic disappeared!?

The rest of the Supermodelquins did not get the enthusiastic goodbye Barker Bones received. No one was ready to riot for Heather or Wesley. After two years, the Supermodelquins ad campaign ended in the weirdest way possible. All of the supermodelquins started posting about how they were excited to audition for Old Navy’s next ad campaign, and then they all said they failed to make the cut and explained this made them very sad before they logged off the internet forever.

“Might be the last you see of us for a while” is the last post an influencer makes before they fall off of a cruise ship in a thriller movie. None of the Supermodelquins got to tie up dangling plot threads before they were canceled. We never learned if Enrique and Heather officially got together or if the booty reader ever expanded her powers to socks.

Old Navy is ruthless. They created a vibrant mascot community to save their company and when it no longer served their purpose they made sure the public knew they were sad to die. All that remains of this once great mascot empire is Barker Bones. Maybe that’s why people are so drawn to him. Like Stonehenge, Barker Bones is the last remaining artifact of a strange forgotten world, a world where someone with a mannequin fetish ran Old Navy.

This article was brought to you by our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme: Brandon Garlock, the magical mannequin who comes to life every night just to whip Josh’s ass.

5 replies on “Mascot Week: Supermodelquins 🌭”

This is the modern Mannequin and they all came to life after millennia asleep at the magic opportunity to run their own social media accounts. The only unpaid intern’s only unpaid job was to stymie the efforts of nosey neighbour Blen Swagel to uncover Old Navy’s secrets via pranks. All involved save the dog were destroyed though.

“This picture probably took twelve meetings, 65 phone calls, and $170,000 to set up, and you are the first people to see it”

Sounds like someone else has dealt with an insane marketing company. The amount of cash those people burn through is absolutely insane, pretty much enough to avert starvation in a dozen countries.

I started working at ON just before the modelquins were on their way out. They gave a lot of customers the creeps just as-is, but every time we ran past opening while changing their outfits we got extra weird looks and sometimes actual lectures from customers about indecency. When the orders came to junk them, the store was supposed to make sure the heads were broken before putting them in the dumpster, but there were a lot of art students working there at the time and I think they were spirited off first for art projects. All in all they were way less creepy than the walking jeans ceiling robots. Thankfully our store didn’t get those.

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