The Story of Green Giant’s Sprout

 

Heather Taylor, Advertising Week

“Up in the Valley of the Jolly Green Giant
Lives the guy they call the Little Green Sprout.”

In September 1972, a mysterious new visitor arrived to the Green Giant’s Valley. Much like the beloved harvest icon, this new character was green and dressed in leaves. He was also pint-sized, to the point where he could easily fit into the palm of the Jolly Green Giant. He’s the Little Green Sprout and his arrival meant big things for introducing kids to the healthy goodness of veggies.

Designed and conceptualized by Green Giant’s then-advertising agency Leo Burnett, Sprout was first introduced in commercials as being about “the size of a twig.” However, according to the brand’s narrative, this is exactly the size that all Green Giants start out at!

The Little Green Sprout shared similar characteristics with children. He was optimistic, approachable, and playful. From day one, he wanted to learn how to be a Green Giant and was eager to learn all he could about vegetables and their recipes.

Some of the lessons the Green Giant imparted onto him included advice for growing crisp green beans and golden corn, how to pack vegetables into cans,  and freeze delicious sauces. Sprout even brushed up on how to nail the Giant’s “ho ho ho!” catchphrase!

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, actor Ike Eisenmann voiced Sprout in commercials. In many of these spots, a famer can be seen educating the little fella on the Giant’s new products. Paul Frees, who also provided vocals for the Pillsbury Doughboy, was the voice behind the farmer.

Later on, General Mills would own both the Green Giant and Pillsbury brands.  Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, the outgoing tiny duo became good friends and started hanging out together in print advertisements. In this 1983 ad, they’re battering up for a quick game of baseball. Sprout’s the shortstop, Poppin’ Fresh is the pitcher, and the Green Giant is covering the outfield on behalf of his farm team, the Valley Giants.

Where is Sprout today? After B&G Foods acquired the brand from General Mills in late 2015, they decided to bring back Sprout when they reintroduced the Green Giant in fall 2016. Sprout received his own Instagram account (@sprout) where he documented going on a cross-country road trip with his tall pal. Together, they made stops and snapped pics at some of the world’s largest items including a rocking chair and a fork. All of these photos were taken by Sprout, of course, who notes in his bio that when your best friend is 70-feet tall, you see the world a bit differently than most!

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