Pillsbury Doughboy, sometimes known as Poppin' Fresh, is an advertising icon who serves as the mascot of the Pillsbury Company and appeared in many of their commercials. Several commercials and advertisements from 1965 until 2005, then from 2009 to 2011, concluded with a human finger poking the Doughboy's stomach. The Doughboy responds when his stomach is poked by giggling (Hoo-Hoo!, or earlier on, a slight giggle "tee hee".)
History with the Macy's Parade
Although the Pillsbury Doughboy is mostly known as a giant balloon fixture in the Macy's Parade to many, his history with the Parade extends beyond that. The Doughboy appeared as a costumed character from 2005 to 2007, where he appeared aboard Pillsbury's Holiday Lovin' Oven float. This costume also made an appearance at Macy's Inflation Celebration 2007, where he greeted Parade fans and visitors alike.
After a year of absence from the Parade, Pillsbury would continue to inspire Thanksgiving bakers across the U.S., as the classic Pillsbury Doughboy made his Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade debut in 2009, rising to the occasion as a brand-new balloon. The balloon featured the Doughboy raising his arms in the air, after being poked in his 500-pound tummy, as he sports his iconic chef's hat and handkerchief. The balloon would make five consecutive appearances before retiring after the 2013 Parade. The balloon was later disposed of, and a swatch of the fabric was put on display at a conference room at Macy's 34th Street department store.
In 2014, General Mills commissioned the Macy's Parade Studio to produce a brand-new Pillsbury Doughboy for the 2014 edition of the Parade. Initially, Senior Director of the Parade Studio, John Piper, was disappointed to hear of this as the original balloon "flew like a gem". However, the company requested to have it be the exact same shape and size as the previous balloon, much to Piper's pleasure. As a result, a brand-new Pillsbury Doughboy balloon flew for the first time in the 2014 Parade.
The character has come to be known as a Parade staple, and even gained internet notoriety for the balloon's appearance in the 2018 Parade. During this appearance, a chamber inside of the Doughboy's mouth was popped during preparation and caused the balloon to become unsightly to some, with one Twitter user claiming "He needs botox now. Look at those wrinkles."
The Pillsbury Doughboy was set to make an appearance in the reimagined 2020 Parade, and was to be flown with a specialty five-vehicle framework. However, rising COVID-19 cases in November 2020 caused many balloons to be demoted to pre-recorded appearances, including the Pillsbury Doughboy balloon.
The Pillsbury Doughboy balloon made a return in the 2021 Parade.