Jolly Green Giant: $754 Million Dollar Man

As happens in December, there is a buzz around the return of a certain mythical figure, able to stop children in their tracks, bring adults to attention, and known to bellow “Ho Ho Ho”.

This time around though, it’s not a man in red with a white beard. This one is green. He is currently on a cross-country road trip and his goal is to change children’s behavior and maybe some grown ups’ habits too.

The Green Giant first appeared in ads in 1928 for the Minnesota Canning Company. At the time, he had a stooped posture, a scowl on his face, and wore a crude bear skin. He is now one of the most recognizable brands in TV – last year it was sold for $754 million by General Mills.

The Giant gained fame and household attention in the 1950s thanks to an effort by Leo Burnett to make him jolly. Burnett dressed him in a uniform of leaves, and and put him in TV commercials. The Jolly Green Giant, a somewhat scary giant, was not a favorite among kids, so the creative team used him sparingly: in silhouette, or in an obscured view. However, he gained traction with consumers and fans, and in a list of the top ten icons of the 20th century, Ad Age placed the Jolly Green Giant at number three.

A new $30 million ad campaign featuring the Giant began in September of this year, with an ad that aired in cinemas. In line with the ads from the 60s, the giant was obscured from view. This time around, his footprints were shown, and he cast shadows across tall buildings. The goal remains the same, to encourage kids and grown ups too to eat more canned and frozen vegetables.

Through the fall and into December, more has been revealed. Keeping with modern times, there is an Instagram account, and a Spotify playlist.

Watch for his big reveal later this month. Until then, here is an oldie from the 1970s, from the Valley of the Jolly Green Giant:

And a newer one:

Ho Ho Ho!

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