Whatever Happened to Gramps from Cocoa Puffs?

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“I’m cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!”

Ever since his debut in the 1960s, cereal fans everywhere have been smitten with Sonny the Cuckoo Bird and his zany enthusiasm for Cocoa Puffs. But Sonny wasn’t the only character crazy for that munchy, crunchy, and chocolatey taste. Glimpse at the earliest commercials for Cocoa Puffs and you’ll see Sonny accompanied by his grandfather, Gramps.

Whenever Sonny and Gramps were stuck, Gramps would come up with a solution — which typically involved Sonny chowing down on a bowl of Cocoa Puffs for an extra burst of energy — to get them out of a jam. Gramps went on hiatus in the early 1970s, but we’ve uncovered this bird’s whereabouts with the help of Pat Giles, Chief Operating Officer at Danger Pigeon Studios, who helped bring him back into the spotlight.

In 2010, Gramps made his return to TV under the supervision of Giles, then the Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi. While most people would assume that Gramps was brought back for strategic reasons or because of a focus group, Giles insists that he came back for one simple reason. He was funny.

“He was the best foil for that character. We all looked at the classic spots and agreed there was something really magical about their chemistry.” Giles says.

Through a stroke of luck, Chuck McCann, who voiced both Sonny and Gramps from 1962 until 1978, was available and excited to reprise his vocal role as Gramps for a series of commercial spots. “Cuckoo Court” was a reunion of all three of the actors who played Sonny. Chuck McCann (as Gramps in this spot), Larry Kenney (the current voice of Sonny who also voices Count Chocula), and Chris Phillips (as the breakfast announcer and one of the vocal talents behind Boo Berry).

The return of Gramps was well received by audiences and Cocoa Puffs fans everywhere. While there were many popular spots on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, one of the Giles’ favorites was for “Chez Chocolate.” Not even a fine dining experience with Gramps can teach this bird new tricks as Sonny bounces all over the room and swings from chandeliers, ecstatic for a bowl of his beloved breakfast cereal.

Commercial Credits:

Cuckoo Court

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Copywriter: Adam Kline
Art Director: Brad Rodriguez
Producer: John Catapano
Creative Directors: Pat Giles and Manny Galán
Chief Creative Officer: Gerry Graf
Production company: Primal Screen
Director: Jeff Fastner
Producers: Susan Shipsky and Jim Threlkeld

VOICES: Larry Kenney (Sonny), Chuck McCann (Gramps), Chris Phillips (Announcer)

Chez Chocolat

Agency/Production Company: Saatchi & Saatchi/Pat-Man Studios
Copywriter: Adam Kline
Art Director: Brad Rodriguez
Producer: John Catapano
Director: Mike Foran
Creative Directors: Pat Giles and Manny Galán
Chief Creative Officer: Gerry Graf
VOICES: Larry Kenney (Sonny), Chuck McCann (Gramps), Robb Pruitt (Waiter)

Heather Taylor

Icon Researcher & Blogger at Advertising Week
Heather Taylor

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