Studies have shown that consumers tend to have more allegiance to products with mascots than products without them. These 27 iconic food characters more than prove that theory.
The Pillsbury Doughboy, for example, was created Nov. 7, 1965, and he is just as beloved 50 years later. As adorable as he is ticklish, Poppin' Fresh has certainly done his part selling crescent rolls.
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Ronald McDonald, a friendly albeit somewhat creepy clown, has been the face of McDonald's since 1963.
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The Kool-Aid Man
It was hard to miss the Kool-Aid Man. A regular fixture in TV commercials for over 40 years, the rotund pitcher in jean shorts would come bounding through social gatherings, demolishing walls and fences in the process, to satiate kids' thirst. Did people love him? "Oh yeah!"
Tony the Tiger
Tony the Tiger has been the face of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes since 1951. Lovable, enthusiastic and bulging with muscles, Tony is best known for closing all Frosted Flakes commercials with the brand's signature slogan, "They're grrrrreat!"
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Based on the sketch an artistic schoolboy submitted to a Planters contest in the 1930s, Mr. Peanut began appearing in brand commercials in the 1950s. Decked out in a top hat, monocle and white gloves, he was easily the most formal nut people had ever seen.
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Snap! Crackle! Pop!
The three smiling gnomes on the front of the Kellogg's Rice Krispies box were conceived as an homage to the sound the cereal emits when it is doused in milk. That's some onomatopoeia put to good use!
Credit: Diane Bondareff/AP for Kellogg's
Mini, the enthusiastic rectangular mascot for Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats, prides himself in coaching people to be the most high-functioning, attentive versions of themselves ... thanks to a healthy breakfast, of course.
Credit: Getty Images for Kellogg's
Toucan Sam, the mascot of Kellogg's Fruit Loops, has an extra long, multicolored bill that gives him the ability to sniff out bowls of his favorite cereal from long distances, wherever they might be hiding. "Follow your nose! It always knows!" he says.
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The Burger King King
"The King" has been part of Burger King's advertising since the fast food chain opened its first store in 1955. Once imagined as cartoon royalty sitting on a burger throne, however, the King transitioned to a much creepier, caricatured variation in 2003. Customers didn't love the change; and thanks to the negative reviews it garnered, Burger King retired the King as its primary mascot in 2011.
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The Trix Rabbit
The poor Trix Rabbit just wanted a bowl of his favorite cereal. He couldn't resist its fruity flavors. However, his plans were always foiled by a group of laughing children, saying, "Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids." As a result, that slogan has become one of the most deeply ingrained in pop culture.
Credit: General Mills
The Jolly Green Giant
The cans of vegetables he frequents may be as small as the leafy toga he wears, but the Jolly Green Giant is super-sized. When that stature is then combined with the fact that he's green from head to toe, the affable food mascot is difficult to forget.
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The Helping Hand
Hamburger Helper's longtime mascot, the Helping Hand, is an anthropomorphic white glove with four fingers and a knack for helping moms in the kitchen.
Credit: Betty Crocker
Lucky the Leprechaun
Lucky Charms' sprightly Irish mascot, Lucky the Leprechaun, has been around since 1963, informing children and adults alike that the cereal is "magically delicious."
Credit: General Mills
The original Cheetos mascot was actually a mouse ... because, you know, mice like cheese. The rodent, however, didn't do wonders for sales. So, in 1986, Chester Cheetah was introduced.
He's super cool. He wears sunglasses all the time. He doesn't care about anything as much as his Cheetos. And his slogan is "dangerously cheesy." In short, he was an immediate hit.
Julius Pringles has gone through a series of variations over the years. He once had black eyebrows, but they've now disappeared. He once had flat hair, but his middle part now has some volume.
Perhaps that tweak was made so as not to imply greasiness. Who knows? The only certainty is that the bow-tied gentleman with the impressive mustache is as respectable as ever.
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Jack of Jack in the Box
The mascot for Jack in the Box restaurants is a fairly disturbing looking guy with a ping pong ball for a head who wears a suit and has an ice cream cone for a hat. Billed as the chain's supposed founder and CEO, Jack is actually quite a comical character in commercials. His picture, however, could haunt your nightmares.
Since the mid-1990s, the tagline for Honey Nut Cheerios has been, "Nobody can say no to Honey Nut Cheerios." So, the brand's mascot, Buzz the Bee, spends commercials proving that to people. 'Cause if anyone can vouch for the taste of "real honey," it's an anthropomorphic bumblebee.
Credit: General Mills
Horatio Magellan Crunch
Horatio Magellan Crunch (aka the Cap'n) lives and works on a boat called the S.S. Guppy and goes on adventures discovering new types of Cap'n Crunch cereal. In 1982, for example, he and his crew discovered Crunch Island in the Sea of Milk. Quite the find, right?
What can we say? That Cap'n certainly has a way of making "it hap'n."
Credit: Quaker Oats
The Keebler Elves
According to the Keebler website, "The Elves bake their cookies the old-fashioned elfin way, in magic ovens in the Hollow Tree... No one knows exactly how long the Elves have been baking (they are, after all, ageless)."
This one's name is Ernest J. Keebler, and he's the head of the Hollow Tree Factory.
Hamilton B. Urglar, better known as "the Hamburglar," is one of the most memorable characters of McDonaldland, a magical place where Ronald McDonald lived with his friends and inanimate objects could talk. He may have looked like Zorro, but the Hamburglar was a pint-sized villain who constantly hatched plots to hoard all his neighborhood's burgers for himself.
The Vlasic Stork
The Vlasic Stork was introduced to the world in 1974. He was conceived by combining the mythology that storks deliver babies with the notion that pregnant women often crave pickles.
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The M&M's mascots are so well-known that most people can even differentiate the different personalities of the different colors. Yellow, for example, is the dopey one. Red is the snarky one. Green is the sexy one, and so on.
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General Mills deployed three cartoon monsters in the early '70s to help brand their cereals: Count Chocula (a vampire), Franken Berry (a strawberry-colored version of Frankenstein's monster) and Boo Berry (a ghost).
The mascots themselves had the potential to be sort of scary. Count Chocula even had a pet spider! Kids, however, didn't seem to care.
Credit: General Mills
The Cookie Guys
The Chips Ahoy Cookie Guys may have only graced our TV screens from 2002 to 2010, but they made a lasting impression, and the company has yet to replace them.
Hopefully, now in retirement, they're able to enjoy their chocolate-filled lives without giant humans coming out of nowhere and savagely taking bites out of their bodies.
Credit: Chips Ahoy
Quicky, the Nesquik bunny, has had quite the makeover since he arrived on the scene in 1973. Once a brown bunny with a "Q" pendant around his neck, he transformed in 1999 into the eager mascot with the blue "N" emblazoned on his chest, visible in the photo on the left. Then, in 2004, he donned the "trendy gear" (according to Nestle's website) that you see on the right.
Guess things can change "quick" when you're a mascot.
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The Cool Spot
The 7Up Cool Spot was pretty simple. He was a red circle with limbs, a mouth and sunglasses, based on the cherry in the 7Up logo. He was popular enough, however, to inspire a video game on Sega Genesis. And in the '90s, that was basically the pinnacle of coolness.