The golden era of cereal mascots is over but that does not prevent us from reminiscing about these classic characters. Below you will find a bit of information about many of the iconic mascots along with a poll at the end of the article where you can vote for your favorite. If you’re like us, it’ll be a tough decision to decide on which character is the best of the best!
Tony The Tiger
A contest was held in 1952 to see who would be the mascot for a new cereal called Kellogg’s Sugar Frosted Flakes of Corn (now Frosted Flakes). The mascots competing were Tony the Tiger, Elmo the Elephant, Katy the Kangaroo, and Newt the Gnu. Tony quickly became the mascot of choice to pitch the new cereal as the fan favorite. He is now, arguably, the most iconic cereal mascot ever. You can see how Tony has evolved since the early days in this video:
While Lucky the Leprechaun has been the mascot since Lucky Charms was introduced, another mascot once tried to replace him. According to General Mills, a wizard named Waldo once took over as the mascot on Lucky Charms cereal boxes sold in New England. He wore a green magician’s hat and cape that had the classic marshmallow shapes on it.
As you likely guessed, the forgetful Waldo was a flop when matched against Lucky. We suspect that Lucky the Leprechaun will remain the only mascot of this famous marshmallow cereal going forward.
Cocoa Puffs was introduced in 1958 but Sonny did not first appear until around 1962. The iconic bird is for known trying to hold back his excitement when near Cocoa Puffs. He often reminds himself not to go cuckoo but he ends up bouncing off the walls in a frenzy for this chocolate cereal brand. Check out this Cocoa Puffs commercial from the 1960s where Sonny’s wacky behavior is similar to what it is today:
Similar to Sonny featured above, the Trix Rabbit was not the mascot when the cereal first hit store shelves. The cereal was introduced in 1954 while the rabbit debuted in 1959. He is known for loving Trix over traditional rabbit food like carrots. In the commercials, he inevitably comes across a bowl of Trix only to be reminded by a child that “Trix are for kids!”.
Cheerios (then called Cherrioats) first landed on store shelves in 1941. Before the bee appeared in 1979, other characters that helped pitch the cereal were the Lone Ranger and Rocky & Bullwinkle. The Cheerios bee didn’t have a name until 2000 when a fifth grader won a naming contest for the name “BuzzBee”. He is now often referred to as Buzz or Buzz the Bee.
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Snap! Crackle! & Pop!
Rice Krispies debuted in 1928 and people quickly realized the cereal made a crackling sound when in milk. Kellogg’s soon recognized that they could capitalize on the sound and created a radio jingle containing the line “Snap! Crackle! Pop!”. These three words would go on to be printed on the box. In 1933, a small gnome appeared on the box’s side panel. His name was none other than Snap. The two other characters, Crackle and Pop, were added to pitch the cereal shortly thereafter. In the 1950s, the character Pow! was added as a temporary fourth elf to pitch the whole grain rice aspect of the cereal. You can see him in action in the below commercial from 1954 riding a hovercraft. Apparently, he had some sort of connection to space.
The corn cereal brand that makes the top of your mouth feel all weird deserves a classic mascot like Cap’N Crunch. While he goes by Captain, he is actually a commander based on the three stripes instead of four on his uniform. He is the “captain” of the S.S. Guppy whose mission was often to help prevent the cereal from becoming soggy from characters like the Soggies led by Dr. Sogg.
The colorful bird is fitting for this vibrant cereal. His beak is intended to represent each color of Froot Loops that have been created. Toucan Sam was introduced alongside the cereal in 1963. He has a superior sense of smell, allowing him to sniff out Froot Loops near and far. Here’s a throwback of Toucan Sam from the late 80s:
It took a while for Honey Smacks (formerly called Sugar Smacks) to establish a seemingly permanent mascot in Dig’em Frog. Previous to Dig’em, the mascot was an assortment of clowns, a seal, Quick Draw McGraw, and a couple of others. A character called Wally the Bear attempted to replace Dig’em in the 1980s but the character never caught on and Dig’em returned to hopefully never leave again. The frog is famous for saying “Dig’em” in commercials in reference to the cereal.
This loveable bear would often be found in commercials protecting his Golden Crisp from being ripped off by adversaries like a snake, a fox, and even a granny. The original voice of Sugar Bear was designed to sound like Dean Martin or Bing Crosby to fit his cool persona. A shift to Sugar Bear into a superhero-like character occurred in the 1980s.
The Flintstones was a cartoon that originally aired from 1960 to 1966 on ABC. The characters remained popular after the show ended so Post decided to rebrand one of its existing lagging cereals called Sugar Rice Krinkles with the Flintstones as its mascot. With a licensing agreement secured from the Flintstones animation company, Hanna-Barbera, Post reformulated Sugar Rice Krinkles into Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles. According to Post, Pebbles was the first brand to be created using a media character.
Here is one of the first Pebbles commercials in which the Flintstones introduce the new cereal:
The Monster cereals consist of Count Chocula, Franken Berry, Boo Berry, Frute Brute, and Fruity Yummy Mummy. Frute Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy are no longer regularly released. The monsters were inspired by the popularity of horror movies in the 1970s. The first two cereals were Count Chocola and Franken Berry which were released in March 1971. Boo Berry then came along in 1972 followed by Frute Brute (then called Fruit Brute) in 1974. Fruity Yummy Mummy was a later arrival in 1988 and only lasted until 1992.
Cookie Crisp had several mascots through the years including Cookie Jarvis (a wizard), Cookie Crook & Cop, Chip the Dog, and Chip the Wolf. Chip the Dog tagged alongside the Cookie Crook through the 90s and was redesigned into a Wolf in 2005. The Wolf took on the characteristics of the Cookie Crook as a cereal theif. Of course, Chip the Wolf never succeeds and his plan always backfires.
Quisp and Quake were introduced by Quaker in 1965. Quisp came from space which is why the character is an alien. Quake came from the earth’s core and was represented by a brawny miner mascot. Quisp and Quake competed against each other for the superior cereal in commercials. It’s no secret who won in end. Quisp is still being sold today while Quake is a cereal most people are unaware existed.
Bad Apple & Cinnamon
Cinnamon was a cool Jamaican-like character that formerly had dreads and a Rastafarian hat. As you can see above in the image, Kellogg’s redesigned the character without the dreads and hat. We agree with the Daily Dot that the changes were likely due to racial stereotype concerns but we have no official word on the matter. Bad Apple is a bit more of a troublemaker and trash talker compared to Cinnamon. The two mascots can often be found in commercials racing to get to a bowl of Apple Jacks.
Coco Pops are the Cocoa Krispies of the United Kingdom for those who aren’t familiar with the brand. Coco can often be found with a gang of friends including a giraffe, anteater, hippo, ostrich, kangaroo, raccoon, and a crocodile.
The Raisin Bran mascot, Sunny, is a super friendly sun that is often depicted holding two scoops of raisins. It is fitting given it’s not too over-the-top for more of an adult type of cereal. All varieties of Raisin Bran feature Sunny.
Poll: Best Cereal Mascot
Which character is the best cereal mascot? Please vote for your favorite in our poll.