The wacky waving inflatable tube man: a history

The wacky wavy inflatable tube man often referred to as a WWITM or simply a “tube man” is one of the most iconic figures in modern advertising. It has been used by businesses everywhere from small mom and pop shops to major corporations. Its bright colors and dynamic movements have become so commonplace that it has even become an internet meme.

But where did this popular figure come from?


Tube men first appeared on the scene in the late 1980s, but their popularity didn’t start until the early 1990s when they began appearing outside of car dealerships and other businesses. At first, these were simple inflatable tubes with no arms or legs. However, over time, businesses began to add arms and legs, as well as other features such as hats and flowing hair. In the early 2000s, the tubes began to take on a more cartoonish look with exaggerated facial expressions. This style has now become the most recognizable version of tube men around the world.

Pop Culture:

The wacky waving inflatable tube man has found its way into pop culture in several ways. It was featured in an episode of The Simpsons in 2004, and has since been referenced or parodied in a number of television shows, movies, video games, and other forms of media. It also appears regularly in advertisements for products ranging from insurance to energy drinks. Additionally, it is often used for comedic effect at events or in public spaces. The tube man has become so iconic that it even serves as the mascot of one of the world’s largest online auction sites, eBay.

The iconic wacky waving inflatable tube man (WWITM) is a beloved icon of contemporary popular culture, found outside businesses and homes around the world. Though it may seem like an unexpected addition to the decor of any establishment, its origins can be traced back to the early 1980s.


The WWITM was first created by William H. Mitchell, an engineer and inventor from the United States. He was inspired to create the inflatable tube man after seeing a similar device used in Japan for advertising purposes. After realizing that it’s potential could be much greater than what he saw in Japan, he patented the design in 1982 and began producing them for commercial use.

Rise to Popularity:

The WWITM soon gained popularity due to its eye-catching appearance and low cost of production. Businesses quickly realized that they could utilize these inflatables outside their establishments as a form of advertisement, attracting attention from passersby. As more businesses began buying now-famous “tube men”, other entrepreneurs started creating variations on his design with different colors and shapes.

Popularity Today:

Today, the WWITM is a beloved symbol of contemporary culture. It can be found outside businesses, homes, and even churches around the world. They have become synonymous with good luck and are often used to celebrate special events such as weddings or birthdays. The wacky waving inflatable tube man has certainly come a long way since its humble beginnings in the early 1980s. Though it may seem like an unlikely icon of popular culture, its undeniable charm has made it a permanent fixture on the landscape of everyday life.


The wacky waving inflatable tube man is an iconic figure that has been used for decades to attract customers and bring a bit of levity to everyday life. It started out as a simple inflatable with no arms or legs but has since evolved into a beloved pop culture icon. From car dealerships to major corporations, tube men have become an indispensable part of modern advertising and can be found all over the world. Whether you find them funny or annoying, there is no denying the impact these inflatable have had on our lives. The wacky waving inflatable tube man is an unlikely but beloved icon of contemporary culture. It has come a long way since its inception in the early 1980s, and has been embraced by people all around the world. Its eye-catching design and low cost of production have made it a popular choice for businesses, homes, and even churches. The WWITM is a reminder that sometimes the most unusual ideas can become the most successful ones. So next time you pass one of these iconic air dancers, take a moment to appreciate its unique history.

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