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Poppin' Fresh, more widely known as the Pillsbury Doughboy, is an advertising icon and mascot of the Pillsbury Company, appearing in many of their commercials. Many commercials from 1965 until 2004 (returned in 2009 to 2011 and 2013 in a Geico Commercial) conclude with a human finger poking the Doughboy's stomach. The Doughboy responds when his stomach is poked by giggling (Hoo-Hoo!, or earlier on, a slight giggle "tee hee").
The Pillsbury Doughboy was created by Rudy Perz, a copywriter for Pillsbury's longtime advertising agency, Leo Burnett. Perz was sitting in his kitchen in the spring of 1965, under pressure to create an advertising campaign for Pillsbury's refrigerated dough product line (biscuits, dinner rolls, sweet rolls and cookies). Perz imagined a living dough boy popping out of a Pillsbury Crescent Rolls can. To distinguish the dough boy from the rolls, he gave it a scarf, a chef's hat, two big blue eyes, a blush, and a soft, warm chuckle when poked in the stomach. The Doughboy was originally designed by Milt Schaffer and brought to life using stop motion clay animation. Today, CGI is used. The first CGI commercial was directed by Tim Johnson who at that time was working for PDI.
Perz originally conceived the Doughboy as an animated figure, but changed his mind after seeing a stop motion titling technique used in the opening credits for The Dinah Shore Show. A three-dimensional Doughboy puppet was then created at a cost of $16,000. Veteran cartoon voice actor Paul Frees was chosen to be Fresh's voice. Veteran stop-motion animator George Pal was hired to animate him. The first Poppin' Fresh commercials aired in October 1965. Since then, Pillsbury has used Poppin' Fresh in more than 600 commercials for more than fifty of its products. He also appeared in a MasterCard commercial, with the Jolly Green Giant, the Morton Salt Girl, the Vlasic stork, and Count Chocula, as some of the ten merchandising icons, depicted as having dinner together. He even appears in ads for the Got Milk? ad campaign and the Sprint Phone Company.
In the 1970s, a Pillsbury Doughboy family was created and sold as dolls individually and in the form of various playsets.
Included in the family are:
- Poppin' Fresh
- Poppie Fresh (a.k.a. Mrs. Poppin' Fresh, Pillsbury Doughgirl). It is debated among collectors as to whether Poppie is Poppin's wife, girlfriend or sister.
- Granpopper and Granmommer (grandparents)
- Popper (boy) and Bun-Bun (baby)
- Flapjack (dog) and Biscuit (cat)
- Uncle Rollie
In May 2016, Pillsbury's lawyers served a cease and desist notice to My Dough Girl, LLC. a Salt Lake City, Utah Cookie Retailer. Some reported that an attorney for General Mills instructed her not to talk to the press.
- Sam Roberts (2010-04-03). "Rudolph Perz, Creator of Pillsbury's Doughboy, Dies at 89". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-08-16.
-  Archived May 15, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Pillsbury Dough Girl-Poppie Fresh-Pillsbury Co". Advertisingiconmuseum.com. Retrieved 2015-08-16.
- "My Dough Girl In Trademark Trouble With Pillsbury". Salt Lake City Weekly. 2010-07-06. Retrieved 2015-08-16.
- "Pillsbury Sends Cease & Desist To 'Dough Girl' Bakery". Techdirt. 2010-08-03. Retrieved 2015-08-16.