The Pillsbury Doughboy, one of the ad world’s best-known anthropomorphic stars, turns 50 on November 7.
Poppin’ Fresh, as the Doughboy was christened, was created in Chicago, but plays a key a role in Minnesota’s food business.
Pillsbury, of course, was based in Minneapolis before being acquired in 2001 by cross-town rival General Mills. And the doughboy remains a fixture in marketing Pillsbury’s refrigerated dough.
The character was created in 1965 by Chicago’s storied Leo Burnett Advertising Agency. Rudy Perz, a Burnett copy writer who died earlier this year, had a vision: A little dough guy popping out of a Pillsbury can.
Known for his giggle, the Doughboy was first voiced in commercials by Paul Frees, also the voice of Boris Badenov, cartoon villain on the 1960s’ Rocky & Bullwinkle show.
Poppin’ Fresh’s “wife” Poppie Fresh was introduced in a 1973 ad, and they had a son and daughter, Popper Fresh and Bun-Bun, according to General Mills.
The rest of the family appears to have gone into hiding after the 1970s.