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Kellogg’s Cornelius Rooster for Corn Flakes

Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Cornelius Rooster Vinyl FigureIn 1906, Kellogg introduce it’s first product: Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. For the initial 50 years, Corn Flakes was advertised using various characters, such as the “Sweetheart of the Corn”. None of these “mascots” lasted long, though.

In 1957, Cornelius Rooster became the new spokescharacter for the cereal, representing waking up and starting each morning right. With his green body, red comb, yellow beak, and multicolored tail, Cornelius looks healthy and ready to start the day. He rarely speaks, but promotes the advantages of a healthy breakfast with his expressions, good attitude and healthy appearance.

In early television commercials, Cornelius isn’t able to crow until he eats a bowl of Corn Flakes as the narrator states, “Nothing gets you crowing in the morning like Kellogg’s Corn Flakes.”

Corn Flakes Box 1960s

Corn Flakes Box (1960s)

In later commercials, a little boy is eating his Corn Flakes for breakfast when all of a sudden Cornelius jumps off the box of cereal and takes the boy on educational adventures.  There is always an obstacle that needs to be overcome, and this is the point where Cornelius whips out his box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and sings to the boy, “Tall up and up and up and up and up with the tall corn taste of Kellogg’s!”  And so the little boy grows very tall and saves the day from whatever is threatening him and Cornelius.

Cornelius Rooster – as well as his image on the cereal box – is one of the most recognizable characters in advertising history. His image has changed little over the years, and wasn’t altered at all until the ’90s when the Leo Burnett Agency (his original creator) gave him an updated look.

For many, it’s Cornelius’ original look and the early ads that spark memories and warm the heart. Take a look at this mid-1960s commercial with the “Tall up” plot line:


And here’s another, wereas a little boy wishes to ride a dinosaur:

Which retro ad is your favorite?

Last updated: August 6, 2012
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  • The Rev. Philip Hunt

    Fifty years ago the Welsh Harpist, Nansi Richards, played in a concert in the States attended by Mr Kellogg. Either before or after the concert she was introduced to Mr Kellogg who sat near her at dinner. She told him that his name was coincidentally very close to the Welsh word for Cockerel, which is keiliog. And it was from the seed of that idea that the the Cockerel image for advertising Kellogg’s Corn Flakes was born. This is a well known and well established story in South Wales to this day where I was born and raised.

  • Carole

    I have heard this story as well. Is it an urban myth? Can someone from Kellogs please confirm or deny it!