In celebration of the Pillsbury Doughboy on his 50th birthday
In 1965, Leo Burnett copywriter Rudy Perz was under a deadline for Pillsbury and fantasizing about what he could dream up to “pop” out of a roll of their refrigerated biscuits. A small, chubby dough boy wearing a chef’s hat and neckerchief came to mind and on November 7, Poppin’ Fresh, the Pillsbury Doughboy, was baked—er, born.
Ever since I was in the first grade, I’ve been smitten with him. It’s a love that has only deepened over the years, one in which I’ve spent time researching his background, attending Doughboy related events (like the Pillsbury Bake-Off), and even been privileged to spend time with the voice behind that infamous giggle, JoBe Cerny.
For 50 years, the Doughboy has been a trustworthy, charming aid in kitchens everywhere. He’s rolled up countless crescent weiner dogs, assisted with pie crust, and brought us chocolate chip cookies after school when they were most needed. He’s a cultural icon, ranking in the top 10 of nearly every listicle put together on advertising’s brand mascots, but despite his popularity he remains warm and down to earth. And let’s face it – I think we’d all like to give his tummy a poke too!
Hoo hoo! Time to toast the birthday (Dough)boy’s big 5-0 this November 7th – here are 5 moments where he stole our hearts forever.
One of his earliest commercials starred Maureen McCormick who gives him a quick smooch on the cheek.
The Doughboy has been in numerous commercials with child celebs including Drew Barrymore, Kirsten Dunst, and Michael Cera, but for one of his earliest debuts with “The Brady Bunch” star Maureen McCormick, you really get a feel for how far he’s come since his stop-motion animation days. Then voiced by Paul Frees, the Doughboy’s original 3-D clay model cost $16,000 to make with five bodies and 15 heads created for different looks and positions. The hand that pokes him in this ad is also fake – a real hand would not poke the Doughboy until the 1980s. But the jingle is 100% adorable, as is McCormick’s declaration that he’s just “wonderful.”
When he got his first pair of jeans!
After being accepted as a true family member for one lucky family, the Doughboy received a holiday present. His first pair of jeans! They’re a little long though, so he might need some tailoring before being able to wear them…
He giggles his way through long security lines at the airport.
When you’re on your way to a baking convention, nothin’ can stop your stride, not even a patdown by the TSA. However, the TSA in this GEICO commercial forgot that patting down the Pillsbury Doughboy, specifically in the stomach region, means a lot of giggle interruptions and needing to start over. “I’ll get it together, I promise!”
He accepted the ice bucket challenge like a champ.
Rob Reilly, Global Creative Chairman at McCann, raised eyebrows in 2014 when he called out the Doughboy to take the ALS challenge. Ever the willing participant, the Doughboy accepted – even if it meant getting a little wet and sticky for the cause.
He’s a true Jack-of-all-trades.
What hobby hasn’t the Doughboy taken on like a pro? He’s an accomplished skateboarder, artist, poet, opera singer, air guitar player, and rapper. What will we see him do next? All he needs now is his own Emoji and he’s set for the next 50 years!
Image courtesy of Pillsbury Baking.