This year, Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS) will mark the 60th anniversary of the company’s official “spokes spud,” the Mr. Potato Head character.
A classic rite of passage for most preschoolers, the Mr. Potato Head toy is one of Hasbro’s most cherished characters with more than 100 million toys sold in more than 30 markets around the world, says the company.
Through the past 60 years, the timeless tater has evolved from a toy box classic into a pop culture icon and has kept himself relevant by tapping into trends and entertainment.
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“For the past 60 years, the Mr. Potato Head toy has inspired imaginative play in young children and charmed fans of all ages through his roles in movies and on television.” said Jerry Perez, senior VP and Global Brand Leader, Playskool. ”We’re thrilled to see that he has evolved from classic parts and pieces to a household name that is ‘rooted’ in pop culture and entertainment.”
The Mr. Potato Head character will celebrate this milestone year on his Facebook page enjoying a year of adventures with the Mrs. Potato Head character, starting with a birthday bash at American International Toy Fair in New York City.
The Mr. Potato Head character hit the U.S. market in 1952 when he became the first toy ever advertised on television, paving the way for millions of other toy commercials in the six decades since.
Key moments in Mr. Potato Head character’s history since its launch reflect trends at that time, for example:
When antismoking campaigns were raising awareness in 1987, Mr. Potato Head surrendered his signature pipe and became the official “spokespud” for the American Cancer Society’s annual Great American Smokeout campaign.
Americans started to pay more attention to their waistlines and Mr. Potato Head gave up his “couch potato” status, receiving a Presidential Sports Award from the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in 1992.
As “tweets” and “likes” became part of our vernacular, Mr. Potato Head became one of Hasbro’s first brands with a Facebook page and gave fans across the world the chance to communicate with the character through social media.
Mr. Potato Head character became a star after his 1995 performance in Disney-Pixar’s “Toy Story” and has also appeared on television in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and an advertising campaign for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, which aired during the Super Bowl in 2009.