The Pillsbury Doughboy - The Birth of an Icon March 21 2015

The Pillsbury Doughboy was the brainchild of Rudy Perz, a copywriter for Pillsbury’s advertising agency,Leo Burnett. Legend has it that he was sitting at his kitchen table in 1965 when he came upon with the idea of a plump figure, made of dough; that would pop out refrigerated rolls tubes. Since then, Pillsbury has used The Pillsbury Doughboy, also known as “Poppin' Fresh”, in over 600 commercials advertising more than 50 of their products.

The original idea had been to animate the dough boy, but Perz changed this after being inspired by the stop-motion tilting technique being used in the opening credits for "The Dinah Shore Show." The team then set out to create a 3-D Doughboy figure of clay which initially cost $16,000. The high cost to develop the first Doughboy was because he needed five bodies and 15 heads in order to create the various positions and movements in the ad. Prior to becoming the digital creation he is today, it took 24 individual shots for every single second on film to create the Doughboy’s stop-motion animation.


The Doughboy was an instant hit with consumers, and his cute plump body and signature belly poke and giggle appealed to adults and children alike. Through the last 50 years, the Doughboy’s appearance and style of advertising have changed very little. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was depicted as a friendly assistant and instructor to household cooks. The Doughboy has had an extensive selection of careers over the years including: an opera singer, a rock star, a rapper, a poet, a ballet dancer, a painter, a skydiver, and professional skateboarder. He is also a virtuoso musician, he has been seen expertly  playing the accordion, harmonica, electric guitar, bugle, and violin.

According to General Mills, as of 1998, Poppin’ Fresh received over 200 fan letters a week, and Pillsbury received 1,500 appeals for signed photographs. In 2015, Poppin’ Fresh will celebrate his 50th Birthday, and he has not aged a bit.

The Poppin' Fresh Family

The Poppin’ Fresh Family

In the 1970s, the Poppin’ Fresh family  was born; a new selection of doughy characters was brought into existence in order to support the dough boy in his daily life.  His wife (possibly sister) was named “Poppie Fresh”; they had two chubby little children named Popper (a son) and Bun (a daughter). The extended family included; GrandPopper and GrandMommer, a cat named Biscuit, a dog named Flapjack and even an uncle (called Uncle) who owned a bright blue car called Rollie (the two together are called Uncle Rollie). Unfortunately, the family did not stay around for long but when Pillsbury issued the Doughboy family vinyl doll collection, the toys became so famous that Playthings Magazine named it "Toy of the Year" in 1972. Today these dolls are considered quite a prized collectible.

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