Business Strategies / Humor / Industry News / Ingredient Trends

Pillsbury Doughboy: Still Ticklish After 50 Years

By Lauren R. Hartman, Product Development Editor

Nov 09, 2015

Hard to believe, but the Pillsbury Doughboy is 50 years old. He first appeared in television commercials for crescent rolls and has since appeared in more than 600 Pillsbury ads for more than 50 products as a ticklish, giggling, unbaked dough boy.

Wearing a chef's hat and neckerchief, he has been ranked one of the country's most widely recognized company mascots. Poppin' Fresh, the Pillsbury Dough Boy, an icon of American Baking, was invented in 1965 for Minneapolis-based Pillsbury by Rudy Perz, a Chicago ad copy writer, who passed away earlier this year.

General Mills, which bought the Pillsbury brand in 2001, says Perz was sitting at his kitchen table one night with a canister of dough when the idea struck him. Since the dough pops out of the container, how about a little dough guy popping out of a Pillsbury can?

Today, Poppin Fresh's voice has changed a bit, but he still looks the same. He has reached milestones since his youth as a little kitchen helper, appearing in commercials with movie stars, screened through airports on his way to a baking convention and even considered wearing pants. Serving as the face of numerous Pillsbury refrigerated dough products, the Doughboy has evolved into popular culture, with references to him in sitcoms like The Simpsons.

Officially 8 3/4-inches tall (with his hat), he was celebrated at General Mills, which bought the brand in 2001, with a party on Nov. 5. He remains a fixture in marketing Pillsbury’s refrigerated dough.