(This is the fifth of a 5-part series on cereal box mascots and the kids—and adults—who love them. Part I can be found here.)
Top 10 Cereal Mascots of All Time
Who doesn't love a cartoon character selling ceral boxes? Enjoy!
10. Frankenberry (Frankenberry)
Frankenberry ranks behind only Boris Karloff’s original and Mel Brook’s all-singing, all dancing behemoth on the list of Best-Ever Mary Shelly Monsters (sorry, Bobby Dinero). Granted, he’s pink and frightened of children and small animals, but Franken-B makes it work. He’s also a team player when it counts. Despite numerous differences of opinion, he and Count Chocula agree that Booberry is a tool.
9. Sonny (Cocoa Puffs)
Unlike most classic cereal characters, which have received regular personality updates and computer-enhanced 3-D revisions since their debuts, Sonny has remained largely unchanged since 1963. He’s still drawn in two dimensions and is still “cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs,” surely the most accurate depiction of sugar-coated cereal side effects in commercial history. That’s truth in advertising, folks.
8. Sugar Bear (Sugar Crisp)
Sugar is not your average bear. Here’s a character that began as a cherub-faced baby bear, but quickly evolved into a laid back, sweater-wearing, Dean Martin knock off. While not officially a member of the Rat Pack, Sugar managed to spread enough cool to make breakfast safe for hepcats and hipsters who accidently woke up before noon.
7. Quisp (Quisp)
Before there was Jar Jar Binks, there was Quisp, the biggest alien nerd in the galaxy. He’s a bit annoying by himself, but the commercials created by Jay Ward Productions were almost as entertaining (and every bit as weird) as the company’s Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons.
6. Count Chocula (Count Chocula)
I’m a sucker for cartoonish vampires—Sesame Street’s Count von Count, Greg the Bunny’s Count Blah, Love at First Bite’s George Hamilton—but the best by far is the one-fanged wonder, Count Chocula, the only vampire to prefer chocolate over blood. Sure, it looks like a tough choice on paper, but a pint of plasma just doesn’t have the same kick as a bowl of artificially flavored chocolate puffed balls. Must be the marshmallows.
5. Mikey (Life)
Even though he’s not a cartoon, Mikey makes the list for two reasons: longevity and legend. Here’s an ad campaign that ran for more than a decade (1972-1984) using only one commercial: a kid who didn’t like anything suddenly likes Life cereal. It’s a miracle. Even better is the urban legend that claims Mikey died from mixing Coke and Pop Rocks. He didn’t, but it’s nice to know a bogus story about death by junk food can make its way around the country without the help of the Internet.
4. Snap!, Crackle!, & Pop! (Rice Krispies)
The top four starts with a trio of diminutive gnomes, elves, um…little men? Whatever they are, they’ve been selling Rice Krispies since before World War II, which makes them the oldest original cereal box characters on shelves today. Apparently, it’s their hats that define them: Snap! is the baker, Crackle! is always ready for a nap, and Pop! is a soldier…who dresses like a band leader. There’s no camouflage in breakfast cereal.
3. Cap’n Crunch (Cap’n Crunch)
Another of Bullwinkle’s cousins, Cap’n Crunch’s early adventures were the stuff of kid legend: searching for treasure, fending off sharks, and matching wits against a dirty, barefoot French pirate. About the time Quaker starting making the ’toons in color, the Cap’n lost his way, which is why he ranks only number three on the list, despite fronting one of the best-selling children’s cereals of all time.
2. The Trix Rabbit (Trix)
The tagline, “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids,” is not entirely accurate; our hero did manage to scarf a few bowls of Trix, once in 1976 and again in 1980. But in almost 50 years of begging for handouts on television, he’s never been given a proper name. He’s still just “silly rabbit.” Despite this setback, Mr. Rabbit sells cereal like a champ, and has maintained one of the more consistent ad mantras in history (sharing is for punks, kids). Silly rabbit, indeed.
1. Tony the Tiger (Frosted Flakes)
Meet the original cereal super-salesman, the tiger with the catchphrase heard around the world. There’s little doubt Tony would have been a hit no matter who was voicing the character, but Kellogg’s struck gold when it hired Thurl Ravenscroft. A constant for almost 50 years, his friendly deep growl was a voice that made kids sit up and pay attention. When Tony told us his cereal was g-r-r-r-eat, we believed him. Great character design, great voice, great catchphrase—Tony was simply, well, you know.