10 Parents, Kids and Spouses of Popular Advertising Characters
You know the Pillsbury Doughboy, Elsie the Cow and Tony the Tiger, but many of the advertising mascots we know and love have lesser-known wives, husbands, kids and even parents. Pop a breath mint and be on your best behavior, because it's time to meet the families—and one who probably is family, paternity test pending.
1. The Pillsbury Doughboy has a huge family, all with awesome, pun-tastic names. The Doughboy himself is actually named Poppin' Fresh and his wife is named Poppie Fresh. They have two roly-poly children named Popper (the son) and Bun Bun (the daughter). There's also GrandPopper and GrandMommer, plus Biscuit the cat and Flapjack the dog. Every now and then, Uncle Rollie makes an appearance, and once, Poppin' Fresh's mother made him crescent rolls in a commercial.
2. Geoffrey the Giraffe has been instrumental in getting your kids to demand a stop at Toys "R" Us since the 1960s. Gigi is Geoffrey's wife. Geoffrey's daughter, Baby Gee, was introduced in 1973, followed by son Junior (a.k.a. Geoffrey Junior) in 1979.
3. Sonny the Cocoa Puffs bird (you know, he's cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs) gets his name because when he first appeared in commercials, he was accompanied by Gramps, an elderly bird who liked to tease him with the chocolate-y cereal. Gramps was eventually replaced by kids who tormented Sonny instead.
4. Elsie the Cow from Borden Dairies was "married" to Elmer the Bull from Elmer's Glue. Seriously! They were real-life animals at the Borden company that ended up representing Borden products. They even had babies, including Beulah, Beauregard and twins named Larabee and Lobelia.
5. Snap, Crackle and Pop, the Kellogg's Rice Krispies elves, have another brother named Pow. Pow was supposed to represent the explosive nutritional value of the cereal, but four elves proved to be too many cooks in the kitchen, and Pow was, um, detonated.
6. Tux, the adorable Linux penguin, has a female companion. Unsurprisingly, her name is Gown.
7. Jack Box (of, you guessed it, Jack in the Box) has been married to his lovely wife, Cricket, for many years, and they have a son named Jack Jr. and dog, Max.
8. Tony the Tiger has quite the family we don't often hear about. Right from the start, Tony had a son named Tony Jr., but we weren't introduced to the rest of the fam until the '70s, when Mama Tony, Mrs. Tony, and daughter Antoinette (not pictured) were given air time. Tony Jr. graduated to become the face of his own cereal in 1975—Frosted Rice—but it didn't last long.
9. RCA has been using Nipper the dog since way back when Nipper was hearing "His Master's Voice" come out of an Edison-Bell phonograph. He was based on a real dog by the same name (so-called because he bit everyone, which is charming) who died in 1895. Nipper's "son" Chipper started appearing in RCA ads in 1991.
10. As far as we know, Sprout is not the Jolly Green Giant's son. He's just an apprentice. An apprentice who happens to look like a miniature version of the big man himself. Hmm. There aren't exactly a lot of green giants running around the world for Sprout to have come from, and the other characters in the classic commercials are usually human farmers. Seems suspicious.
This piece originally ran in 2010.