Retro Commercials: Fruity Pebbles Christmas

I don’t know about you, but commercials can often take me back to my formative years as quickly as any song or movie can. That is why we will continue this semi-regular feature on ’80s commercials that I consider particularly memorable, noteworthy, or forgotten. Television commercials were much more influential back when we were forced to watch them without the luxury to fast-forward through and/or stream shows with limited or no interruptions. This issue will cover some Fruity Pebbles cereal Christmas commercials from the ’80s.

As I have said before, some of my most memorable commercials from the ’70s and ’80s are cereal commercials. We saw them all especially during Saturday morning or weekday afternoon cartoons. This was even true during the Christmas season. The most effective and memorable were the ones that would be used for multiple years in a row.

Cocoa Pebbles and Fruity Pebbles cereals were simultaneously introduced by Post on the West Coast in 1969 and strong consumer demand led to national distribution beginning in October of 1971. The cereal was built around The Flintstones cartoon by Hanna-Barbera. Prior to that time, character licensing had been used for promotion, but there had never been a brand created around a media character like this. So that makes Pebbles the oldest surviving cereal brand that is based on characters from a TV series or movie. It is not just surviving, but Pebbles cereal is still hugely popular with Fruity Pebbles ranking as the 10th best-selling cereal of all kinds in the U.S.

The animated television commercials for Pebbles cereal always revolved around the same premise. Barney was always trying creative ways to get Fred’s cereal, but always seemed to get discovered. The ’80s commercials featured the voices of Henry Corden (who took over after Alan Reed’s passing in 1977) as Fred Flintstone and Mel Blanc (until his passing in 1989) as Barney Rubble. There were countless versions of these commercials for both Cocoa and Fruity Pebbles, but the ones that stick in my memory the best were the Christmas commercials. That could be because they would re-use the same commercial for several years which definitely is a great way to build nostalgic feelings during the holidays. Most of the Pebbles cereal commercials end with an angry Fred chasing Barney off often followed by the tagline “They’re Yabba-Dabba-Delicious!” But the Christmas commercials end in a nicer way, since when reminded Santa is watching, Fred is more likely to demonstrate the spirit of the season.

This first commercial began airing for the Christmas season in 1980 and used for several years after that. It sure takes me back to the early ’80s giving warm fuzzy holiday memories…

“Ho, ho, ho, I’m hu, hu, hungry!” Then a new version was created in the mid-80s that I remember almost as well as the original. They began using it for the Christmas season in 1986 again running for at least several more years after…

In the ’90s, an updated re-cut version of this same commercial was used with the major difference being Santa’s voice was now provided by Jim Cummings, who many will recognize as the voice of Winnie the Pooh (beginning in 1988) and Tigger among many other characters. I am just fine with the original from the ’80s. Another Christmas commercial was created I believe in ’90s (but I am not entirely sure when it first aired) that plays off of the Dickens’ holiday classic A Christmas Carol with the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future and even ends with Pebbles exclaiming “Bless us, everyone.” Earlier, Pebbles scolds Fred saying, “Be nice, Daddy, Santa’s watching you,” which might be a call-back to Barney’s line in that very first commercial from 1980. Even though it is not from the ’80s, I wanted to share this one with you as well…

Nothing like sugary breakfast cereal commercials to remind you ’tis the season. And it doesn’t even bother me that the Flintstones is supposed to take place in the Stone Age and well B.C. and anything that would be considered “Christmas”.

There you go, another trip down memory lane in the form of TV commercials. I have seen some of these commercials hundreds of times, maybe more over the years. Some cereal commercials can transport me back to the ’80s in an instant. It’s even better when they can transport me back to Christmas in the ’80s like these do.

More Retro Commercial Features on TRN

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About OldSchool80s 87 Articles
Old School Tim has an adoring devotion to the awesome '80s decade. He loves to relive and share that nostalgia on a regular basis. The Kickin' it Old School blog site has been retired, but you can still get daily doses of '80s goodness on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and anywhere else they let him.

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