Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles are brands of breakfast cereal introduced by Post Foods in 1971 featuring characters from the animated series The Flintstones as spokestoons. Cocoa Pebbles contains chocolate-flavored crisp rice cereal bits, while Fruity Pebbles contains crisp rice cereal bits that come in a variety of fruit flavors with a sugar content of 9 grams per serving for Fruity Pebbles and 10 grams per serving for Cocoa Pebbles. It is the oldest cereal brand based on characters from a TV series or movie.
Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles Cereal were reintroductions of a low share of market Post children's cereal brand called Sugar Rice Krinkles. The Product Group Manager at the time, Larry Weiss, licensed use of The Flintstones for cereal from Hanna-Barbera in an attempt to reinvigorate the children's cereal business for Post Cereals. Prior to that time, character licensing had been used for promotion, but there had never been a brand created around a media character. The brand was marketed despite internal concern it would be a fad and not last more than a year. Cocoa Pebbles and Fruity Pebbles were simultaneously introduced on the West Coast in 1969 and strong consumer demand led to national distribution. The brand has been one of the most consistent best sellers ever since.
The original working names for the companion cereals were Flint Chips and Rubble Stones, consistent with the appearance of the cereal and The Flintstone's Stone Age imagery. Frank Corey, Benton & Bowles' creative head for the Post Cereal business suggested the alternative names Cocoa Pebbles and Fruity Pebbles, which were adopted.
The basic product retained the Sugar Rice Krinkles form, using the existing expander process and Battle Creek production facilities. The flavors, colors and other product formulations were carefully developed by Battle Creek product experts supported by marketing using the Linescale research technique. The objective was to create product characteristics which matched the expectations of both children and parents for what The Flintstones cereals should look and taste like. After many iterations, the Cocoa Pebbles formula was set and has remained largely unchanged over the years. Fruity Pebbles also remained essentially unchanged for decades. In recent years some additions and variations have been made to the Fruity Pebbles product formulation. The Canadian version came in the form of corn puffs in Pebble shapes.
Unlike its sister cereal Cocoa Pebbles, Fruity Pebbles has undergone many formula changes, additions and variants. The cereal started out with three colors—orange, red, and yellow—and natural orange, lemon and tangerine flavors, but were later flavored in natural orange and artificial lemon and cherry. New colors were added over time: purple in 1980, green in 1984, "Berry Blue" in 1994, "Incrediberry Purple" in 1995 and "Bedrock Berry Pink" in 2005.
Variants have included "Half Sugar Fruity Pebbles," "Dino Pebbles" (late 1980s- early 1990s), "Marshmallow Mania Pebbles," and "Bamm-Bamm Pebbles." A berry cereal called "Bamm-Bamm Berry Pebbles" was released in 2007, featuring only berry flavors. The formula for both versions of Pebbles had a major addition in 2006: polydextrose became a key ingredient. As of 2012, polydextrose was not listed as an ingredient in any Pebbles varieties.
The earliest commercials produced by Post's ad agency D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles with cooperation from Hanna-Barbera featured the animated Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble (as voiced by Alan Reed and Mel Blanc, respectively) interacting cheerfully with live-action children, eating the cereal around a typical household breakfast table; others showed Fred and Barney enjoying the cereal with their wives around their Bedrock breakfast table or in other locales and situations in Bedrock. Commercials after about 1978 were entirely animated, and would have a typical skit and plot. Fred would be eating some Pebbles while Barney would want some as well; to that end, Barney would either disguise himself or distract Fred from his bowl of the cereal using various creative and increasingly outrageous means. While Fred was distracted, Barney would eat some Pebbles, but Fred would quickly discover Barney's lies, usually due to Barney's excitement at eating the cereal would cause his costume to be destroyed. Angry about his breakfast being stolen, he would normally exclaim, "Barney! My Pebbles!" Barney would then chuckle and deliver a comedic line while running away from the angry Fred, and Fred would give chase.
A 1989 Christmas commercial had changed the theme in which Barney attempts to steal Fred's Pebbles by disguising himself as Santa Claus. However, his plot was foiled as the real Santa Claus was already inside the Flintstone house (and Fred serves him a bowl without question). Barney as the imposter Santa is immediately discovered by an annoyed Fred, until Santa reminds Fred this is the time of year to be sharing, to which Fred willingly serves Barney a bowl and remarks "Happy Holidays, pal".
In a similar Christmas commercial to the original one where Fred forgives Barney by urging of Santa, Barney tries to again steal the Pebbles by pretending to be Dickens' Ghost of Christmas Present (with both Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm as the Ghost of Christmas Past and Dino as the Ghost of Christmas Yet-To-Come) and saying that if Fred did not forfeit his cereal to Barney he would have a bad future. Fred agrees but soon realizes that Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm and Dino are helping Barney steal the cereal from him by the disguises and when shouting at Barney in anger Pebbles Flintstone reminds him that "Santa is watching." This revelation instantly leads Fred to officially confirm to Barney that he can always have some Pebbles cereal when he wants to and no longer has to steal them.
In 2009, Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm became more prominent in the commercials. The commercial launching Bamm-Bamm Berry Pebbles had a slight twist on the skit; when Fred said "Barney! My Pebbles!" Barney interrupted him and replied, "My Bamm-Bamm Pebbles!" happily as Bamm-Bamm carried his father away from the angry Fred. One of the most recent commercials featured Pebbles eating the Fruity Pebbles cereal along with Fred and Barney; Bamm-Bamm created a Barney-like distraction in the form of a giant fruit-loving robot, much to Pebbles' delight.
From 2010 to 2012, the commercials for Pebbles cereal are produced (by ad agency Burns Group) using stop motion animation. They currently feature the tagline "Rocks your whole mouth!" in which 64 Pebbles pieces can be held over your whole tongue to rock your whole mouth. In these spots, Barney no longer tries to steal Fred's cereal, but does try to use a smaller amount than the cereal pieces Fred uses to cover his tongue; instead of his mouth being rocked as Fred's is (with Fred bobbing his head to a hip hop beat in enjoyment of the cereal's taste), Barney changes into different forms, such as a bird or elephant, unable to properly enjoy the cereal. Fred then responds to the mishap with a witty remark. Mr. Slate and a policeman have had the same thing happen to them as well.
WWE professional wrestler John Cena is now officially endorsed by Fruity Pebbles as the result of references to the cereal made by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson over the course of 2011, where Rock nicknamed Cena (a bowl of) Fruity Pebbles based on his bright shirts.
From 2012 to 2014, Pebbles commercials changed to a scene where two children, Bamm-Bamm and Pebbles, are doing kung-fu, then the box appears and a person says "Flavors so intense it's part of this nutritious breakfast. It's Fruity Pebbles/Cocoa Pebbles/Fruity Pebbles Extreme!"
Since 2014, Pebbles commercials prompt viewers to take a side with either Team Cocoa or Team Fruity, and each individual advertisement includes a different child exemplifying their devoutness to one of the teams. Various celebrities, such as actress Bella Thorne, retired professional basketball player Shaquille O'Neal, and professional soccer player Alex Morgan have been chosen as mascots for either group, as well. Since then in its whole history The Flintstones characters have been retired.
Box cover illustrations
The box covers for the various Pebbles boxes have been illustrated by commercial artist Seymour Schachter [Seymour Schachter Illustration] since 2006.
In May 2010, a controversial commercial of Cocoa Pebbles led to a lawsuit by Hulk Hogan. In spring of 2010, a commercial where Barney and Fred face off against a wrestler named Hulk Boulder aired on TV. The commercial ended with Hulk Boulder getting smashed to pieces after losing the wrestling match. Hulk Hogan sued Post, saying they stole his image to promote the pebbles, he used the name Hulk Boulder early in his career until his name was changed to sound more Irish, and that his image had been damaged by the commercials. The suit was settled in June of 2010 with a condition of not airing the commercial again.
For the 1998 holiday season the Fruity and Cocoa flavors were altered and renamed "Bedrock Blizzard." The limited edition cereal had two different flavors: the "Fruity" flavor had red and green frosting; the "Cocoa" flavor had white "snow sprinkles." This cereal was replaced by Winter Fruity Pebbles in 2002.
In 1998, Cinna-Crunch Pebbles were introduced. Unlike the other Pebbles which were crisp rice, Cinna-Crunch Pebbles were described as "sweetened oat, corn and wheat cereal baked with a touch of real cinnamon." The box claimed that the cereal had the "Best Cinnamon Sweet Taste In Bedrock" and a "Cinnamon Sweet Taste That Goes Crunch!". Cinna-Crunch Pebbles was introduced as a Limited-Edition cereal and was only available for a limited time. They were discontinued in 2001.
Winter Fruity Pebbles
In 2002, Winter Fruity Pebbles were introduced. This cereal had red and green Pebbles and was only sold for a short time.
Marshmallow Mania Pebbles
Debuting in 2005, Marshmallow Mania Pebbles were a combination of original Pebbles and marshmallows.
In 2006, IceBerry Pebbles were released for a limited time. The pieces were green, red, yellow, and orange. They were described on the box as "sweetened rice cereal with artificial strawberry flavor."
Dino S'mores Pebbles
In 2008, the Dino S'mores were introduced. These had an object such as a bone, a marshmallow and a chocolate nugget. This was a limited edition, discontinued in 2009.
In 2010, Post introduced a new cake batter flavor of pebbles called Cupcake Pebbles. The cereal is white with small rainbow sprinkles, and has the aroma of cupcakes. It was discontinued in 2011.
In 2010, a new flavor of pebbles was released called Marshmallow Pebbles. The cereal contains rectangular vanilla-graham flavored shaped pebbles and marshmallows. In 2012, the formula for Marshmallow Pebbles changed to the typically shaped Pebbles cereal pieces; the flavor is a sweetened rice cereal rather than vanilla/graham. A new variety that arrived in 2012 features 'Wilma Flintstone' on the box (as part of a 'Meet the Flintstones' promotional campaign), and features sweetened orange, red, and white rice cereal pieces with white marshmallows that match the 'rock' necklace that Wilma wears.
In 2011, Pebbles Boulders were introduced, being a limited edition only cereal, featuring two new flavors called "Stone Age Caramel Apple" and "Chocolate Peanut Butter".
In 2011, a Pebbles snack bar called Pebbles Treats (a variant of rival Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats) was released with flavors Fruity and Cocoa.
Ice Cream Pebbles
In the summer of 2015, Ice Cream Pebbles, a Rainbow Sherbet-flavored cereal, was launched.
List of commercials