Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles are brands of breakfast cereal introduced by Post Foods in 1971 featuring characters from the animated series The Flintstones as spokestoons. Cocoa Pebbles contains chocolate-flavored crisp rice cereal bits, while Fruity Pebbles contains crisp rice cereal bits that come in a variety of fruit flavors with a sugar content of 9 grams per serving for Fruity Pebbles and 10 grams per serving for Cocoa Pebbles. It is the oldest cereal brand based on characters from a TV series or movie.
Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles Cereal were reintroductions of a low share of market Post children's cereal brand called Sugar Rice Krinkles. The Product Group Manager at the time, Larry Weiss, licensed use of The Flintstones for cereal from Hanna-Barbera in an attempt to reinvigorate the children's cereal business for Post Cereals. Prior to that time, character licensing had been used for promotion, but there had never been a brand created around a media character. The brand was marketed despite internal concern it would be a fad and not last more than a year. Cocoa Pebbles and Fruity Pebbles were simultaneously introduced on the West Coast in 1969 and strong consumer demand led to national distribution. The brand has been one of the most consistent best sellers ever since.
The original working names for the companion cereals were Flint Chips and Rubble Stones, consistent with the appearance of the cereal and The Flintstone's Stone Age imagery. Frank Corey, Benton & Bowles' creative head for the Post Cereal business suggested the alternative names Cocoa Pebbles and Fruity Pebbles, which were adopted.
The basic product retained the Sugar Rice Krinkles form, using the existing expander process and Battle Creek production facilities. The flavors, colors and other product formulations were carefully developed by Battle Creek product experts supported by marketing using the Linescale research technique. The objective was to create product characteristics which matched the expectations of both children and parents for what The Flintstones cereals should look and taste like. After many iterations, the Cocoa Pebbles formula was set and has remained largely unchanged over the years. Fruity Pebbles also remained essentially unchanged for decades. In recent years some additions and variations have been made to the Fruity Pebbles product formulation.
Unlike its sister cereal Cocoa Pebbles, Fruity Pebbles has undergone many formula additions and variants such as "Half Sugar Fruity Pebbles", "Dino Pebbles" (late 1980s- early 1990s), "Marshmallow Mania Pebbles", and "Bamm-Bamm Pebbles". The cereal started out with three colors: orange, red, and yellow. New colors were added over time such as purple in 1980, green in 1984, "Berry Blue" in 1994, "Incrediberry Purple" in 1995 and "Bedrock Berry Pink" in 2005. A berry cereal called Bamm-Bamm Berry Pebbles was released in 2007; although they are like Fruity Pebbles, they feature only berry flavors. The formula for both versions of Pebbles had a major addition in 2006: polydextrose became a key ingredient.. As of 2012, Polydextrose is not currently listed as an ingredient in any Pebbles varieties.
The box covers for the various Pebbles boxes were illustrated by commercial artist Seymour Schachter [Seymour Schachter Illustration] since 2006.
The earliest commercials produced by Post's ad agency D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles with cooperation from Hanna-Barbera featured the animated Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble (as voiced by Alan Reed and Mel Blanc, respectively) interacting cheerfully with live-action children, eating the cereal around a typical household breakfast table; others showed Fred and Barney enjoying the cereal with their wives around their Bedrock breakfast table or in other locales and situations in Bedrock. Commercials after about 1978 were entirely animated, and would have a typical skit and plot. Fred would be eating some Pebbles while Barney would want some as well; to that end, Barney would either disguise himself or distract Fred from his bowl of the cereal using various creative and increasingly outrageous means. While Fred was distracted, Barney would eat some Pebbles, but Fred would quickly discover Barney's lies. Angry about his breakfast being stolen, he would normally exclaim, "Barney! My Pebbles!" Barney would then chuckle and deliver a comedic line while running away from the angry Fred, and Fred would give chase. It was only during a Christmas commercial where Fred by the urging of Santa Claus forgave Barney for stealing the Pebbles and agreed to share them.
In a similar Christmas commercial to the original one where Fred forgives Barney by urging of Santa, Barney tries to again steal the Pebbles by pretending to be Dickens' Ghost of Christmas Yet-To-Come and saying that if Fred did not forfeit his cereal to Barney he would have a bad future. Fred agrees but soon realizes that his entire family is helping Barney steal the cereal from him by the disguises and when shouting at Barney in anger Pebbles Flintstone reminds him that "Santa is watching." This revelation instantly leads Fred to officially confirm to Barney that he can always have some Pebbles cereal when he wants to and no longer has to steal them.
In 2009, Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm became more prominent in the commercials. The commercial launching Bamm-Bamm Berry Pebbles had a slight twist on the skit; when Fred said "Barney! My Pebbles!" Barney replied, "My Bamm-Bamm Pebbles!" as Bamm-Bamm carried his father away from the angry Fred. One of the most recent commercials featured Pebbles eating the Fruity Pebbles cereal along with Fred and Barney; Bamm-Bamm created a Barney-like distraction in the form of a giant fruit-loving robot, much to Pebbles' delight.
Beginning in 2010, the commercials for Pebbles cereal are produced (by ad agency Burns Group) using stop motion animation. They currently feature the tagline "Rocks your whole mouth!" in which 64 Pebbles pieces can be held over your whole tongue to rock your whole mouth. In these spots, Barney no longer tries to steal Fred's cereal, but does try to use a smaller amount than the cereal pieces Fred uses to cover his tongue; instead of his mouth being rocked as Fred's is (with Fred bobbing his head to a hip hop beat in enjoyment of the cereal's taste), Barney changes into different forms, such as a bird or elephant, unable to properly enjoy the cereal. Fred then responds to the mishap with a witty remark. Mr. Slate and a policeman have had the same thing happen to them as well.
Since 2012, Pebbles commercials have been changed into a scene where two children, Bamm-Bamm and Pebbles are doing kung-fu, then the box appears and a person says "Flavors so intense it's part of this nutritious breakfast. It's Fruity Pebbles/Cocoa Pebbles/Fruity Pebbles Extreme!"
For the 1998 holiday season the Fruity and Cocoa flavors were altered and renamed "Bedrock Blizzard." The limited edition cereal had two different flavors The "Fruity" flavor had red and green frosting; the "Cocoa" flavor had white "snow sprinkles." This cereal was replaced by Winter Fruity Pebbles in 2002
In 1998, Cinna-Crunch Pebbles were introduced. Unlike the other Pebbles which were crisp rice, Cinna-Crunch Pebbles were described as "sweetened oat, corn and wheat cereal baked with a touch of real cinnamon." The box claimed that the cereal had the "Best Cinnamon Sweet Taste In Bedrock" and a "Cinnamon Sweet Taste That Goes Crunch!". Cinna-Crunch Pebbles was introduced as a Limited-Edition cereal and was only available for a limited time. They were discontinued in 2001.
Winter Fruity Pebbles
In 2002, Winter Fruity Pebbles were introduced. This cereal had red and green Pebbles and was only sold for a short time.
Marshmallow Mania Pebbles
Debuting in 2005, Marshmallow Mania Pebbles are a combination of original Pebbles and marshmallows.
Dino S'mores Pebbles
In 2008, the Dino S'mores were introduced. These had an object such as a bone, a marshmallow and a chocolate nugget. This was a limited edition, discontinued in 2009.
In 2010, Post introduced a new cake batter flavor of pebbles called Cupcake Pebbles. The cereal is white with small rainbow sprinkles, and has the aroma of cupcakes. It was discontinued in 2011.
In 2010, a new flavor of pebbles was released called Marshmallow Pebbles. The cereal contains rectangular vanilla-graham flavored shaped pebbles and marshmallows. In 2012, the formula for Marshmallow Pebbles changed to the typically shaped Pebbles cereal pieces; the flavor is a sweetened rice cereal rather than vanilla/graham. A new variety that arrived in 2012 features 'Wilma Flintstone' on the box (as part of a 'Meet the Flintstones' promotional campaign), and features sweetened orange, red, and white rice cereal pieces with white marshmallows that match the 'rock' necklace that Wilma wears.
In 2011, Pebbles Boulders were introduced, being a limited edition only cereal, featuring two new flavors called Stone Age Caramel Apple (introduced in 2011) and Chocolate Peanut Butter (introduced in 2012).
- Larry Weiss, former Product Group Manager, Post Cereals
- Larry Weiss, former Product Group Manager, Post Cereals