The Pillsbury Doughboy

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Poppin’ Fresh The Pillsbury DoughboyPoppin’ Fresh!

The Pillsbury Doughboy is one of the cutest advertising icons ever invented.  Born in 1965, he was created by Rudi Perz, of the Leo Burnett Advertising Agency.  Mr. Perz had been sitting in his kitchen and thought that it would be really great if a character made of dough popped out of the crescent rolls package when it was opened.

His vision for the Doughboy’s appearance was a pudgy little character named Poppin’ Fresh.  He had blue eyes, a big smile, and wore a chef’s hat and scarf.  The Doughboy would also giggle when poked in the belly.  The artist, Martin Nodell, took Perz’s idea and created the image of the character that we see today.

At first, Poppin’ Fresh was conceived as an animated character, but he ended up being made with stop-motion clay animation – the same method used for Gumby and Pokey.  The Pillsbury Doughboy is still around today, and he is created with CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery).

When the Doughboy made his first appearance in October of 1965, no one had any idea how popular he would become.  People just loved the character, and Poppin’ Fresh merchandise started to appear.  There were dolls, figurines, clothing, and other items featuring the Doughboy.  Many of these collectibles are sought after today, and some are rare enough to be worth a good amount of money.

Take a look at this 1965 TV commercial, featuring Poppin’ Fresh:


In the 1970s, Poppin’ Fresh was given a family of dough characters.  His wife’s name was Poppie Fresh, and there were also GrandPopper and GrandMommer, a cat named Biscuit and a dog named Flapjack. Although the family did not last long in the advertising world, a set of dolls was created in their likenesses, and they are considered a prized collectible today.

As for Poppin’ Fresh the Doughboy, he has continued to advertise Pillsbury products, and he is just as lovable today as he was in the beginning of his career.  He hasn’t changed much, but he did go through a period where he sang rap songs and played a butter-knife guitar, and he has even done the Hokey-Pokey in some commercials.

Although these changes were fun, they could never replace everyone’s favorite characteristic, his giggle.  I’m sure many people have wished they could poke him in the tummy to make him laugh, but they can only watch the television commercials.  At the end of over 600 commercials, Poppin’ Fresh has been poked in the belly and giggled, “Hoo-hoo!”

Last updated: Feb 04, 2009
Filed under: Retro Characters Tagged with: advertising, marketing, Retro Characters