Quisp is a sugar-sweetened breakfast cereal from the Quaker Oats Company. It was introduced in 1965 and continued as a mass-market grocery item until the late 1970s. Sometime afterward, the company sold the item sporadically, and upon the rise of the Internet began selling it primarily online. Quisp made its return to supermarkets as a mass-market grocery item in late 2012.
Quisp and the similarly marketed cereal Quake were originally released in 1965 in the United States by the Quaker Oats Company and generally advertised together (during the same commercial) with their character mascots competing against each other. The successful ads were cartoons created by Jay Ward, who also created the cartoon characters Rocky and Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right, and many others, and the Quisp ads used some of the same voice actors as the Rocky and Bullwinkle series, including Daws Butler as the voice of Quisp (an alien) and William Conrad as the voice of Quake (a miner). In an interview, Ward's creative partner Bill Scott described Ward's involvement in cereal advertising: "When the cereal company approached Jay about doing this stuff--I think it was in 1961--he said, 'We’ll only do it as long as it’s fun.' "
The commercials often asked children to choose which cereal was better, and to compete over taste or premiums. The competition reached its peak in 1972, when a series of commercials asked children to vote for which cereal should remain on the shelves. Quake had a makeover in 1969, slimming down and changing his miner hat for an Australian bush hat and Australian accent, but that was not enough. Quisp was the winner and Quake was discontinued. The character Quake, however, reappeared as a sidekick of an orange kangaroo named Simon in an orange-flavored cereal called Quangaroos. In 1976, Quaker Oats ran another contest, this time asking children to choose between Quisp and Quangaroos. Quisp won again and Quangaroos was discontinued.
In the late 1970s, Quisp was discontinued due to low sales. It was brought back in the mid 1980s, then again in the 1990s and in 2001, where it was relaunched as the "first Internet cereal". Consumers were encouraged to visit the Quisp Web site to view animated endings to cartoons on the back of the cereal box. The online Flash animation was produced by John Kricfalusi and Spümcø, featuring Quisp and his sidekick Quunchy (voiced by Corey Burton and Matt Danner, respectively).
Quisp has remained in limited distribution, with Quaker Oats distributing the product in "guerrilla displays" that would appear in a store and last until the product sold out. Even in the late 2000s, it could occasionally be found in grocery and discount chains such as Dollar General, Marc's, SuperTarget, and Food Lion. Quaker Oats also sells Quisp directly to the public through an online store. Also, Quisp began selling as a mass-market grocery item in late 2012.
Quisp is a baked paste of corn meal and syrup shaped like saucers. The taste is similar to fellow Quaker Oats cereal, Cap'n Crunch. Quake cereal was produced by the same process and ingredients, but shaped like the letter Q. Packaging as of 2012 carries the tagline on the front panel, "Crunchy Corn Cereal", and on side panels, "QUAZY Energy Cereal".
Main ingredients: Corn flour, sugar, oat flour, brown sugar, coconut oil, salt. Vitamins and other additives: niacinimide, reduced iron, zinc oxide, yellow 5, yellow 6, thiamin mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, BHT, riboflavin, folic acid.
- "Quisp Lives!", Promo Magazine, Jun 1, 2001
- "Bullwinkle Speaks! An Interview With Bill Scott," Hogan's Alley #17, 2010
- Vintage Quisp & Quake cereal commercial. YouTube. 29 November 2009. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- "Quisp", Mr Breakfast, Aug 25, 2010
- "Quisp Cereal". MrBreakfast.com. 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- "More Products from Quaker - Quisp", Quaker Oats website, Aug 25, 2010
- "Quaker Oats Online Store". Quaker Oats Company. 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- Quake TV commercial 1966, Aug 25, 2010
- "Cerealebrity of the Month: Quisp", Breakfast Cereal Hall of Fame, Aug 25, 2010
- Quisp Quaker website product profile