How The Pillsbury Doughboy Became A Beloved Food Brand Icon

Pillsbury Doughboy parade float
Pillsbury Doughboy parade float - Photo Spirit/Shutterstock

The Pillsbury Doughboy is one of the most recognizable mascots in food history, with his sweet disposition and iconic laugh. He is a hallmark that has made his way from commercials to packaging and even onto the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade floating high above the New York streets. But where did the Pillsbury Doughboy come from? And how did he skyrocket to fame so quickly?

The Pillsbury Doughboy -- whose name is actually Poppin' Fresh to emphasize the qualities of the company's dough -- was created in 1965 to be the mascot for Pillsbury's products and commercials. He quickly gained popularity and recognition, with hundreds of Americans sending in fan letters specifically to the mascot every week. His lovable nature made him an instant classic, and everyone wanted more, whether it was in commercials or by buying dolls and collectibles. People loved the Pillsbury brand, and they grew to love the Doughboy even more.

Read more: Cake Hacks Every Baker Will Wish They Knew Sooner

The History Of The Pillsbury Doughboy

Pillsbury Doughboy ad with biscuits
Pillsbury Doughboy ad with biscuits - Pillsbury

Poppin' Fresh was created by Rudy Perz, a copywriter for Pillsbury, when he came up with the idea for the mascot while using Pillsbury dough at home. With the help of Disney animator Milt Schaffer, who created the official Pillsbury Doughboy design, Perz brought the Doughboy to life via stop motion for his debut commercial in 1965. Poppin' Fresh popped out of a can of dough and instantly charmed the public with his first words and adorable laugh. From there, the fans took over, demanding autographs and quickly buying out vinyl toy dolls that debuted in the '70s. According to the Pillsbury website, the Doughboy "had an 87% recognition factor among consumers" within three years of his first appearance.

Since then, the Pillsbury Doughboy has been in dozens of commercials — including some outside of the Pillsbury franchise — been featured alongside celebrities, and even became a father! That's right: There's a whole Poppin' family, complete with the family dog and cat, Flapjack and Biscuit. By embodying charm and family values, and of course with the help of cuteness overload and tasty products, the Pillsbury Doughboy solidified himself as a household name.

Bring The Pillsbury Doughboy Home To Your Kitchen

Pillsbury crescent rolls
Pillsbury crescent rolls - dashtik/Shutterstock

Nearly every Pillsbury product features Poppin' Fresh on the packaging, often in festive positions that highlight the dough in question. Whether he's making snow angels for snowman cookies or simply holding the logo on a tube of cinnamon rolls, the Doughboy's iconic smile appears everywhere.

There are hundreds of Pillsbury products, many with their own Doughboy-approved hacks. One way to upgrade your Pillsbury crescent rolls is by turning them into pretzel crescent rolls using a few household ingredients. Adding extra flavor to these doughy classics will certainly make your inner Doughboy say, "Hoo Hoo!" You could also go the sweet route and turn Pillsbury's banana bread batter tube into a loaf, just like we did.

You could swap your regular waffle batter for raw Pillsbury cinnamon rolls to upgrade your canned cinnamon rolls with a press in the waffle iron. Replace your syrup with the traditional white icing, and you're guaranteed a Doughboy-sized smile on your face.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.