Is It Good to be Green?
The most fearsome of all commercial mascots is tall and green. Yet he was the original green (now signifying “all natural”) trademark. Nonetheless, as a child I was terrorized by his monumental countenance. Every time I ate a pea, it shivered my timbers. His Jolly-ness was a ruse. The Valley of the Jolly was run by an iron fisted strongman (echo of “Jack and the Beanstalk’s” wicked giant).
The Jolly Green Giant was created by the Leo Burnett agency as the mascot of the Green Giant food company in Le Sueur, Minnesota. The green dude first appeared in advertisements in 1928; the name originally came from a variety of large pea called the “Green Giant.”
The first black and white TV commercial that aired in 1953, featured a Green Giant puppet menacingly marching through the Valley of the Jolly.
He stops outside a small farm and holding out his hands, in which two Green Giant canned products are seen spinning into view: in his left hand, a can of his famous Niblets, and in his right, a can of peas. He then holds them out as the camera slowly backs out.
One of the more lasting and successful commercial mascots, the J. G. Giant still gives me the creeps. “Ho Ho Ho, Green Giant!”