10 of the World’s Most Influential, Imaginary People
Everywhere we go, we see different influential people listed. Whether it’s Forbes’ Wealthiest People or Time Magazine’s Person of the year, these people serve to inspire through their fame and fortune. However, we’ve prepared a slightly unconventional list. Here, we list the top 10 most influential people who never lived!
10. The Little Engine That Could
The Little Engine That Could is a popular children’s tale that embodies the importance of working hard and staying optimistic. This Little Engine is even said to be a parallel to the American Dream. A figure that adults used to teach children that they could do what they set their minds out to, the Little Engine That Could is a reminder to us all to this day. Hard work and believing in yourself will help you achieve your goals, no matter how crazy they may seem or how little your engine seems to be! Ok, ok, while not a person an anthropomorphic, beloved and inspiring little train still makes the list because we think of him as our friend and a “person!”
9. Rosie the Riveter
Enough with all these male figures! Here’s one for the women. You might not know her name, but everyone will recognise Rosie the Riveter’s picture! With her can-do attitude and confident strength, she serves as a great figure for female empowerment. Created to motivate working age women to join in and help out with the war effort, she was one of the most influential figures during World War 2. Rosie paved the way for women to enter the workforce and be seen as productive figures in society. Once her message of “We can do it!” resonated throughout the world, she created change nobody could stop.
8. James Bond
It’s impossible for you not to know James Bond. With the numerous actors who have come and gone playing this character, you should! When the theme song comes on, everyone knows the iconic 007 is present. Based off of the character created by Ian Fleming, James Bond is now an influential part of British culture. He gets in and out of sticky situations with seemingly impossible manoeuvres and witty banter. Revamping the idea of a government agent/ covert spy (who just happens to give out his name to anyone he meets), the 007 character won’t be going away anytime soon.
The one, the only Caped Crusader! We couldn’t begin to count the young boys who favoured Batman’s self-made superhero style, and ran about the house chanting “Na, na, na, na, Batmaaaan!” One of the first few superheroes without an innate super ability, Batman showed kids that you can make something of yourself through your own means. The Caped Crusader also gives a figure children can relate to, while adding depth to their concept of superheroes. Far from the typical dashing, handsome, always-in-the-spotlight hero, the Bat still holds a special place in every young kids heart.
One of the first few superheroes that made comics a booming industry, Superman was the embodiment of everything good. Fighting for justice in a race that he didn’t even belong to, the Man of Steel is one of the most influential characters out there. As the last survivor of his home planet Krypton, Superman holds godlike powers. However, he still remains humble, slightly nerdy reporter Clark Kent when not busy saving the world. Every kid with glasses was probably trying to get the Superman curl and attempting X-ray vision because he loved Supe!
5. The Marlboro Man
The Marlboro Man appeals to the masculine senses. If you think about it, a good percentage of men reading this list are smokers. Many of those male smokers also smoke with filters. Before Marlboro Man came around to say this was okay, smoking with filters was considered a womanly thing to do. Once again, this illustrates the influence of media, and in particular, a character. “Real men” were now unafraid to smoke with filters. Marlboro Man was a highly effective advertisement campaign, and his influence lasts until today. If anything, he certainly did get Marlboro’s cigarette sales up!
4. Old Spice Guy
Oh, The Man Your Man Could Smell Like! Though he is portrayed by real life actor Isaiah Mustafa, the character of the Old Spice Guy never gets old. Created for the Old Spice ad campaign Smell Like a Man, Man audiences delighted at the creativity of this quirky character. He gets away with cheeky comments through his comical confidence and rapid-fire monologues. Though overblown and oftentimes silly, Old Spice Guy represents the societal mores that media has a strong influence over. Still, it’s no question that confident, chiseled, prop-laden Old Spice Guy deserves a spot on this list, if not only because he smells great!
3. Robin Hood
Though there have been debates as to whether Robin Hood was a real historical figure, it has never been confirmed. We include him on this list because the character has served as the template for many superheroes and fictional characters today. The Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor, making use of his bow and arrow and amazing skills (no, this is not a description of Stephen Amell’s Arrow). He exemplified the principle of standing up for the little guy and redistributing wealth. While he was by rights a thief, Robin Hood holds an influential status because he has been revered as a hero and protector of those who cannot fend for themselves.
Barbie is one of the most iconic dolls for young children. A figure to whom young girls could be inspired by, she was intended to be a doll they could relate to and “befriend” as well. While there are many schools of thought on the impact of Barbie on children, nobody can deny the popularity and reach of the doll. Evolving into a brand that has spawned other lines of dolls such as Ken and other models of Barbie, the young blonde has grown from a simple doll to a representation of so much more. Being one of the first friends of a toddler, her influence is more than a little significant.
1. Santa Claus
“He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake! He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness’ sake!” Sounds like an influential guy, this Santa Claus. Not only does he have the power to get young children to behave throughout the year, but he’s also pretty wealthy! With the toy factory churning out enough gifts for the world over, he can get them all to you in a single night. The childish fear that if you don’t behave, you get coal dissipates when Christmas comes round. This jolly old man can get even the grumpiest adult’s eyes to sparkle once more.