Cheesy Rider: A Look Back at the Cheetos Mouse

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Before Chester Cheetah proclaimed his favorite orange dusted, cornmeal snacks to be “dangerously cheesy,” another character represented the Cheetos brand. He was the Chee-tos Mouse, and he loved the “cheese that goes crunch.”

That’s not a typo in his name either. Before 1998, the Cheetos brand was stylized as “Chee-tos” with a dash for historical accuracy. The Chee-tos Mouse made his debut in the early 1970s and was originally designed by illustrator Paul Coker Jr. His commercials were brought to life by creatives at the ad agency Phil Kimmelman & Associates.

His campaign was one that was full of adventure, as the Chee-tos Mouse loved to travel with a bag of his crunchy snacks by his side. Howard S. Kaplan, a former copywriter at Phil Kimmelman & Associates, wrote in his book Ninety Degrees at 49 that the Chee-tos Mouse dabbled in a bevy of worldly occupations. He was an astronaut landing on the moon and completely fine with discovering the planet wasn’t made from cheese because he already had the delicious baked cheese that goes crunch. He portrayed “Julius Cheeser,” eating the noblest cheese of them all from his chariot. And in the above commercial spot, the Chee-tos Mouse was able to “fly through the air with the greatest of cheese” as a WWI flying ace.

But the Chee-tos Mouse might be best known for one of his most famous spots, “Cheesy Rider” which was a lighthearted play off of the film Easy Rider. Bill Peckmann designed the storyboards alongside Kaplan who provided the character’s narrative as he sped through the desert on his motorcycle. “They call me… Cheesy Rider. Why? Because I ride with cheese that goes crunch: Chee-tos brand cheese-flavored puffs. Two for the road: quick-fried to a crackly crunch and baked to a delicate crunch. Chee-tos… Cheese that goes crunch.”

Unfortunately, the Chee-tos Mouse was phased out at the end of the 1970s to make way for Chester Cheetah’s debut in the ‘80s. But we kinda like that one of our last memories of the Mouse was of him heading off into the sunset on his bike. On the road, yet again — and with an extra Cheetos bag for the trip.

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