The Green Giant first appeared, in order to describe "a new, larger, sweeter pea" that Minnesota Valley Canning Co. had developed. "To obtain a trademark for the product, a giant character was created" to use on can labels. He was neither green, nor giant, but instead was white and wore a bearskin.
Minnesota Valley Canning moves its advertising to Chicago-based Erwin, Wasey & Co., where the work was assigned to a copywriter named Leo Burnett.
When Mr. Burnett forms his own shop, the now leaf-clad Giant goes with him.
The Giant gets a green makeover and adds the word Jolly to his name at the suggestion of Mr. Burnett.
Green Giant commissions Norman Rockwell to create paintings for an ad campaign.
Minnesota Valley Canning announces its 1945-46 magazine advertising program will be its largest in history, including full-color insertions in Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Ladies' Home Journal, Life, McCall's
and The Saturday Evening Post
, plus a special campaign in The New Yorker
Minnesota Valley Canning renames itself Green Giant Co. in honor of the brand's growth. The company sponsors an Art Linkletter TV show on ABC.
Green Giant and Pillsbury alternate as sponsors of a new Mickey Rooney sitcom on NBC.
Green Giant returns to TV.
Green Giant takes out a full-page ad in Ad Age honoring Leo Burnett's 30th anniversary, with copy written by the agency's Robert Pride.
Green Giant gets a red scarf when the brand made its way from the canned foods section to the freezer case. He gets into a fun battle with Santa Claus. An ad explaining "drained weight" in cans is praised by a senator.
Green Giant selects BBDO
to handle new product line.
The Jolly Green Giant is joined by Valley Helpers, including Little Green Sprout.
Green Giant's fiscal year sales total about $500 million. Ad spending is around $19 million.
Pillsbury acquires Green Giant. Both brands do business with Leo Burnett.
Pillsbury is acquired by Grand Metropolitan (which merged with Guinness in 1997 to form Diageo).
Pillsbury relaunches the Green Giant as its advertising spokescharacter for Green Giant frozen and canned vegetables after an eight-year hiatus. The Green Giant is recognized by Advertising Age as the No. 3 ad icon of the 20th century.
General Mills announces plans to buy Pillsbury from Diageo. With Kellogg
as a major client at Leo Burnett, keeping Green Giant, a soon-to-be General Mills business, is seen as a conflict. Newspapers report that Bcom3 Group shifts the Green Giant account from Leo Burnett USA in Chicago to a sibling agency, N. W. Ayer & Partners in New York.
General Mills' acquisition of Pillsbury closes, giving General Mills brands including Green Giant, Old El Paso, Haagen-Dazs and Progresso.
The Green Giant returns to a TV role for the first time in eight years.