What does a wisecracking stork have to do with selling pickles, anyway? Ever since 1974, a friendly, funny stork has been delivering pickles into the homes of families and pickle enthusiasts everywhere. He’s the Vlasic Stork, who also goes by Jovny as his first name (according to his social media profiles) and was even inducted into our Madison Avenue Walk of Fame in 2010. Let’s find out more about this character’s backstory and how his look has shifted over the decades.
During the 1970s, the national birthrate was dropping and managers at Vlasic dreamed up a Spokesbird to represent the Vlasic pickle brand, using the old wives’ tale that women often crave pickles during their pregnancy. The character wore glasses on his beak, a red bowtie, a blue mailman hat bearing the brand’s name, and had Groucho Marx-inspired vocals courtesy of voice actor Doug Preis. He marketed Vlasic as “the pickle pregnant women crave” because of how delicious they were.
In this spot, the Stork passes around dill pickles for everyone to taste test. As everyone crunches into their pickles, they wave them in the air like cigars, a nod to how the Stork himself does it, and declare, “Now that’s the best tasting pickle I ever heard!”
The Vlasic stork was an overnight hit with consumers, who loved this newfound pickle connoisseur. Over the years, everything from his character design to his tagline has been tweaked for the next generation of consumers. There was a tagline revamp in 2008 in a campaign from Publicis & Hal Riney switching out “the best tasting pickle” for “that’s the tastiest crunch I ever heard.” And in 2010, the Vlasic Stork underwent a dramatic new redesign from Merkley + Partners into a slender, CGI-Spokesbird. However, the edgy new look didn’t pan out in the long run with consumers. Rather than get caught in a pickle, Vlasic chose to return to his original design and tagline.
These days, you can catch up with Jovny on YouTube where he reveals what life at the Vlasic HQ is really like including behind the scenes glimpse at how cucumbers become pickles, copy machine mishaps, and what he’s actually snacking on during lunch. (Big hint: they’re crunchy, green, and come in a jar.)