The Top 10 Greatest Cartoon Cereal Mascots Of All Time

It’s not the trisodium phosphate or the hydrogenated cottonseed oil that keep kids coming back for another bowl of cereal. Nor is it the secret decoder ring wrapped and buried at the bottom of a box. There is, however, a direct correlation to the popularity of the cereal and its cartoon mascot. Mascots come in all forms — human, animal and even magical being — and their very existence hinges on this breakfast option in a variety of ways. Dig in with us here as we rank the top 10 greatest cartoon mascots of all time.

#10 – Dig’em Frog, Honey Smacks

He doesn’t have much of a vocabulary. This frog basically just repeats his name over and over again. Kids are always delighted to see him at their breakfast table nonetheless, overlooking his lack of conversational skills. The Smacks themselves speak for him, we guess — first preceded by the word “Sugar” when the cereal was introduced in the ’50s, then renamed with a healthier sounding “Honey” three decades later. Dig’em’s a hip dresser with a fly baseball cap — no pun intended — sitting sideways on his sleek head. And when he slaps both your hands in a gesture of friendship, the most important meal of the day is complete.

#9 – Sonny the Cuckoo Bird, Cocoa Puffs
Addiction is no laughing matter. In the cereal world, it seems, this affliction can also run rampant in the animal kingdom. Case in point, Sonny — yes, genetically a cuckoo bird, and thus wired for behavioral impediments — but no less deserving of our sympathies to his struggle. Sonny is just trying to live a straight and narrow life, finding creative schemes to keep this chocolate monkey off his back. But the temptation for a heaping bowl of Cocoa Puffs is too sweet, perhaps because of its distressingly high sugar content. And a steady stream of enabling children who appear determined to keep Sonny off the wagon. We’ve seen it time and again, a brave front then pitiful fall when presented with this cocoa-kissed demon. Sure, all part of a nutritious breakfast we’re reminded, but for Sonny, a twelve step recovery is long overdue and should be set far, far away from a particular grocery aisle.

#8 – Buzz Bee, Honey Nut Cheerios

We are constantly told that the world’s bee population is in decline. It is strange, then, that one of few surviving cartoon mascots still appearing in commercials today is the little black and yellow-clad bugger promoting Honey Nut Cheerios. Comparatively, he came late to the game, flying onto the scene only in the late ’70s and remaining nameless until 2000 when a contest produced the moniker BuzzBee. Shortened to Buzz, the name is now as familiar as his tireless efforts to convince cereal eaters of all ages that just a little drop of honey flavor makes a perhaps boring bowl of Cheerios into something worth buzzing about.

#7 Trix Rabbit – Trix
A repeat victim of the most condescending catchphrase in all cerealdom, Tricks the Trix Rabbit would be considered a master of disguise if any of them managed to keep his identity hidden. Always on the hunt for a bowl of this fruity bounty, the floppy-eared go-getter has been getting denied his desired breakfast from selfish children since his creation in 1959. Somehow these snot-nosed brats have taken it upon themselves to deny rabbits Trix under any circumstances, even when that rabbit is the product’s spokesman. Sure, he may be a bit silly, especially clothed in some feckless costume, but to torment him mercilessly with this taunt and then go a step further to refuse him sustenance is the worst thing one can do to a rabbit short of a “Fatal Attraction”-style boiling.

#6 Toucan Sam – Froot Loops

If their commercials are to be believed, tropical forests are littered randomly with boxes of Froot Loops waiting to be discovered, opened, and enjoyed. And for a mascot, they’ve got a capable hunter on the trail. Toucan Sam is his name and he boasts a colorful beak decorated with the cereal’s original three colors: red, yellow and orange. And though over the years that beak has shrunken in size, Sam’s uncanny sense of smell has never wavered. With a well-mannered Englishman’s accent — maybe a remnant of the country’s penchant for colonization — this proud bird has been instructing peckish children to follow their noses to a colorful breakfast since the ’60s. And while the misspelling correctly suggests that no real fruit has been added as an ingredient in the cereal, the flavor recalls a bountiful tropical paradise.

#5 Cap’n Crunch – Cap’n Crunch
While each mascot on this list falls somewhere within a wide spectrum of pedigree, impressively this one ranks as an officer in the armed forces. A naval man who’s been successfully protecting his cereal from the clutches of nefarious pirates since 1963 and adorned with a serious white mustache and emblems heralding a lifetime of service, Cap’n Crunch — full name: Horatio Magellan Crunch — is a calm, steady hero who obviously isn’t offended by the public contraction of his hard won military title. Piloting the S.S. Guppy with a crew of children — which at first does indeed come off as disturbing — and a human-sized dog, his repeated proclamation that his cereal stays crunchy in milk is as sound a welcome as a foghorn on a visually challenging night.

#4 Lucky the Leprechaun – Lucky Charms

Despite his name, this mascot always finds himself in the same unfortunate situation time and again. A pair of troublesome kids — usually a white boy and girl — blatantly try to steal his cereal in broad daylight. Yet with the aid of a leprechaun’s magic, Lucky then devises an escape and reliably takes that time to remind whoever might be watching this tense scenario about the alluring colored, shapely marshmallows to be found in Lucky Charms. These mortal children, however, tend to still somehow best their prey’s otherworldly abilities, landing him and his beloved breakfast into their unrightly possession. But Lucky is a forgiving soul and will end up sharing a meal with his former pursuers, now captors, justifying the whole ordeal by the fact that Lucky Charms are indeed magically delicious.

#3 Count Chocula – Count Chocula
In all, Monster Cereals have five spooky mascots touting five separate brands, though two are doubtlessly obscure. Of the three more widely known, it is Count Chocula who leads the pack in overall popularity. No doubt Saturday morning cartoon fans remember him and comrade Franken Berry endlessly debating whose product tastes best; said debates never saw conclusion. However, since these skittish monsters were invariably scared off themselves by something otherwise non-threatening — once, for instance, an upwardly collapsing umbrella. Boo Berry seems the bravest of the trio, sometimes himself a catalyst for the other monsters’ fright. Cereal lovers tend to have the opposite reaction when happening upon any of the three at the grocery store since their availability is now limited to the Halloween season, their monstrous faces therefore a very welcome sight.

#2 Snap, Crackle, & Pop – Rice Krispies

Snap came first — appearing on the box in 1933 — which seems logical since he is a chef. Brothers Crackle and Pop joined him almost a decade later, forming an enduring and clamorous triumvirate. There’s science behind why this cereal makes its signature sound once bathed in milk, but we’ll leave that lesson to Alton Brown. Instead we’ll honor these three friendly gnomes who, unlike most of their counterparts, don’t find much trouble whatsoever while flaunting their cereal, just satisfied youngsters. These are the oldest cartoon characters of any Kellogg’s brand. And when their handiwork gets baked with regular-sized marshmallows, it’s time to make noise of our own.

#1 Tony the Tiger – Frosted Flakes
Tigers are not indigenous to the U.S., but there is something nonetheless nationalistic about Tony. He’s not flashy, his only clothing is a red bandanna, yet his bold orange and black stripes would make heads turn alongside even the most exclusive fashion runways. He’s a family man and has brought his brood into the cereal business as mascots themselves. Heck, son Tony Jr. is now the face of Frosted Rice, whatever that is. But children remember Tony most as a mentor, watching him give their peers — aided by a bowl of Frosted Flakes — the confidence, encouragement and nourishment needed to achieve their goals. We don’t require his lofty baritone to declare Tony the Tiger the greatest cereal mascot of all time. And we’ll use his most favored adjective meant to describe his beloved Frosted Flakes in description of him instead. Tony the Tiger is truly Gr-r-reat!