When Kellogg’s Sugar Pops Cereal entered the market in the early 1950s, advertising campaigns encompassed both print ads and television. The advertising characters, or mascots, had to appeal to both audiences. Kellogg’s hired the Leo Burnett Agency and, in 1959, the agency invented a funny little mascot named Sugar Pops Pete.
Pete was a furry prairie dog whose favorite phrase was, “Sugar Pops are Tops!”. Dressed in western style, he wore a ten-gallon hat and a holster with a red and white striped six-shooter gun.
In the Sugar Pops television commercials, Pete was usually shown in a western town where he would fight crime. Pete would chase after his evil enemies – the outlaw Billy the Kidder and the newspaper editor Bad News Daily. When Pete shot his gun a spray of sugar would cover the criminals and turn them into harmless sweeties. Then the background music would play, “Oh, the Pops are sweeter and the taste is new. They’re shot with sugar, through and through!”
Sugar Pops Pete was the advertising icon for Kellogg’s Sugar Pops until 1967, when he was replaced by a life-like whip-snapping cowboy. The cowboy lasted until 1977, when a cartoon cowboy named Big Yella took over. This is also when the cereal changed its name to Kellogg’s Sugar Corn Pops.
In 1981, a porcupine named Poppy graced the font of the cereal box, carrying a suitcase with a full table setting. She was advertising that the cereal was “part of a complete breakfast”.
In the late 1980s people began to worry about the sugar content in many of their foods. In response, Kellogg’s once again changed the name of the cereal to Kellogg’s Corn Pops.
Although the mascots have changed and the advertising campaigns are different, the cereal has remained the same. Made from milled corn and toasted with a light sugar glaze, Corn Pops continues to be one of America’s favorite cereals.