General Mills Resurrects Jolly Green Giant; What Other Characters Deserve A Second Coming?

Like a lot of older actors who just assumed had died years ago, we didn’t realize until recently that the frozen veggie-shilling Jolly Green Giant had gone missing for most of the last decade. But after eight years of lying dormant in the back of the freezer with that block of peas you don’t remember buying and never quite feel like eating, General Mills has decided to bring back the 84-year-old character in a move to get kids eating vegetables.

From AdAge:

In recent years, the giant had been relegated to low-profile appearances, appearing only as a shadow in some spots. Stuck in a standing position for decades, he will transition from a protector of the land to a kind-friendly “wingman” for parents to help make healthy eating fun, said Yumi Clevenger-Lee, marketing manager for the Giant brand. On Facebook and at an augmented-reality event in New York City in October, he will ask kids to take “One Giant Pledge” to eat one more vegetable a day. “We’re bringing the jolly back to the Green Giant and helping him get his mojo back,” she said.

General Mills is also bringing back the Cheerio Kid, which we at Consumerist HQ only recognize from clip shows of vintage ads.

But all this nostalgia got us wondering which other former advertising characters deserve a resurrection. For instance, our inner kid would get a kick out of seeing actor David Leisure revive his Joe Isuzu act — though it might be a bit difficult since the only place you’ll see an Isuzu in the U.S. is in a used car lot. On second thought, that might make the ads even funnier.

Or maybe it’s time for the Charmin folks to bring back Mr. Whipple. Granted, the actor who played the character has passed away — so maybe Mythbusters’ Adam Savage can recreate his legendary character of Jimmy the stock boy?

Perhaps you say “good riddance” to any and all ad characters. Whatever your position on this topic, go ahead and share it in the comments.


Edit Your Comment

  1. RandomLetters says:

    Joe Camel. But selling something that actually goes with his looks. Condoms maybe.

  2. dush says:

    Look how big the peas and corn are in his arms. He’s not a giant. He’s a pixie.

  3. Quirk Sugarplum says:

    The Frito Bandito! He’ll be hugely popular with the growing Hispanic population in America! They’ll see him as cute and ironic. Right?

    • StarKillerX says:

      This made me laugh, although I’m not sure if I’m supposed to feel bad because of that or not. lol!

    • frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

      I had a Frito Bandito eraser that fit on the end of my pencil.


    • Snowblind says:

      And Sambos!

      I remember eating there as a kid.

      • MuleHeadJoe says:

        Holey cow, I haven’t thought of Sambos in ages! I remember eating pancakes there when I was just a wee tyke and I loved going there and seeing the story of the boy and the tiger!

        • arcticJKL says:

          I ate at one in Santa Barbara a couple of years ago. I also loved the boy and the tiger story, and the tiger butter.

  4. mauispiderweb says:

    I always liked Charlie the Tuna for StarKist.

  5. raydeebug says:

    We need to bring back the horrifying mascots of the past. The ones that are racially or culturally insensitive. The ones that are the complete opposite of politically correct. The ones fraught with sexism and elitism.

    People are really stretching these days to find reasons to be offended. Let’s give ’em some obvious ones.

    • Chuft-Captain says:

      So, Cherry Clan?

    • Sarek says:

      Like the Pillsbury Funny Face drinks (competitors to Kool-Aid) that were racist.

    • TerpBE says:

      Go to youtube and search for “australia commercial steel wool”. I can’t imagine there are any worse than that.

    • MarkFL says:

      Like the Cleveland Indians mascot? I mean the character, not the name.

      The University of Mississippi did away with Colonel Reb a few years back, so a year or two ago they had a poll for a new mascot. (The nickname is still “Rebels.”) There was a popular movement among the students to elect Admiral Akbar (“It’s a trap!”), but of course the school wouldn’t have any of it. I don’t know what George Lucas thought about it.

  6. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Can they unfreeze “Where’s the beef?” Clara Peller?

  7. Shinchan - Please assume that all of my posts are sarcastic unless indicated otherwise says:

    Quisp and Quake. Yummy Mummy! Frute Brute!!!!!

    • redskull says:

      Quisp cereal is still around. It showed up in various areas of the country in the 1990s, then was sold online only in the 2000s and now is available at most Targets.

      • StarKillerX says:

        Yeah, Quisp started showing in in Tops markets in my region, although it’s only occasionally.

        • longfeltwant says:

          Same here. I’d never heard of it until I saw the old-looking packaging at my local Woodman’s grocery story (Wisconsin). I bought it. It was delicious(ly sweet).

  8. NightSteel says:

    Tangentially related: I always thought in one of the Hulk movies, they should have destroyed a grocery store and had the Hulk covered by or otherwise confronted with cans of Green Giant.

    • raydeebug says:

      I agree; this would have been spectacular.

      • Friendly Curmudgeon says:

        He could pick up a can, pause to look at it closer, shed a tear, and yell in a garbled but longing voice “Uncle Jolly!”

        Then get even more mad and continue to demolish everything in the store.

  9. infinityspiral says:

    GROW SOME FREAKING PANTS! That hem rides way to close to the edge of the forest.

  10. Hoss says:

    Both the Kool Aid Man and the Hawaiian Punch Guy
    The original Ronald McDonald
    Sugar Bear and Capt Crunch

  11. redskull says:

    Has there ever been a more appropriate name for a food marketing manager than “Yumi?”

  12. aweirdguy says:

    I need to see Domino’s put the Noid back into commercials, I really miss him.

  13. ingramje says:

    Mother Nature from Chiffon Margerine –

  14. JustJayce says:

    Cookie Jarvis – The original wizard from Cookie Crisp Cereal, and/or Cookie Crook and Officer Crumb – same cereal

  15. Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

    GEICO Cavemen. All day. That is all.

  16. cantiloon says:

    I’d rather see the Noid than those Dominos employees in the ads. Still haven’t tried the new recipe, but strongly doubt it’s improved enough to be good.

    I was a fan of Max Headroom as a kid.

  17. norska says:

    Once upon a time there was an engineer, Choo Choo Charlie was his name, we hear.
    He had an engine and he sure had fun – He used Good & Plenty candy to make his train run.
    Charlie says…

  18. BradC says:

    I am uncomfortable with Big Vegetable advertising to children with animated characters. These kids are not ready to make decisions that will affect them for the rest of their lives!

  19. Wireless Joe says:

    Orson Welles for Birds Eye frozen peas.

  20. sth9669 says:

    Avoid the Noid, Avoid the Noid!!

  21. AnonymousCommenter says:

    Reddy Kilowatt, and Woodsy Owl,

  22. AnonymousCommenter says:

    Perhaps we could create some new ones like the Monty – the Monsanto Mutant.

  23. You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

    The California Raisins.

  24. RDSwords says:

    How about the nightmarish original Ronald McDonald:

  25. yospiff says:

    Someone beat me to Quisp & Quake.

    How about “Cookie Man” from Chips Ahoy?

  26. ovalseven says:

    As my avatar might suggest, I miss Bathroom Duck.

  27. HoJu says:

    Steve Jobs.

  28. some.nerd says:

    Didn’t realize he was gone… last few Green Giant ads I saw included his trademark “ho ho ho…” jingle, at least. I guess if he’s more prominent now, then, that’s cool.

  29. Worstdaysinceyesterday says:

    Spuds McKenzie…beer and dogs just go together.

    • MarkFL says:

      Am I the only who noticed that the beer ad with the dog named “Wego” is a direct ripoff of Alex the Stroh’s dog?

  30. momoftwokids says:

    Frighteningly enough, a local farmer has built a Jolly Green Giant (circa 1976 looking) in front of his house just outside our town. I don’t know if he sells to General Mills or he just likes it???

  31. kaleberg says:

    Why not bring back the Green Giant’s female counterpart, BF Goodrich’s Radial Tire girl? She could do a cameo in the Austin Powers reboot.

  32. Press1forDialTone says:

    The new giant is gonna be big and pleasingly buffed up, and kind and smart and have
    perfect teeth and will be great husband material for either sex!

  33. Press1forDialTone says:

    I want a new Mr. Whipple and a new “Good to the last drop” Maxwell House lady and
    a new Mrs. Olson whose kitchen smells like hot cinnamon and apples and Folger’s
    coffee because it’s mountain grown…..

    • MarkFL says:

      You do realize all of those actors are dead, right? So is the Dunkin’ Donuts guy, but then so is the concept — the donuts aren’t baked at the store anymore.

  34. ZombieWoof says:

    Billy Mays…too soon?

  35. pamelad says:

    The Pillsbury Doughboy. Oh I take it back! No, no, no! Thank goodness I haven’t seen the creepy little beer belly for years, but maybe it’s come back from the dead for all I know. Here’s a punny/funny obituary:

  36. MarkFL says:

    As I’m typing this, I’m watching Stephen Colbert showing the new logo for USA Today. It’s a blue circle. I bring this up because the first thing I thought of was the Pan Am logo.