When did the Vlasic Stork arrive?
I'm not sure what I would do without my friends! A dear one reached out to me saying, "I was eating pickles and was curious about where the mascot came from, just in case you needed a Doodle idea"... she gets me!
Frank Vlasic moved to America in 1912 to build a better life for his family. Back then he made cheese—not pickles—so the success chapter of the Vlasic story took awhile. After saving every dime from his $2-a-day car foundry job, Frank established a creamery business in Detroit. He eventually turned it over to his son, Joe.
Fortunately, Joe expanded the family milk and cheese business into selling Polish pickles spiced with garlic and dill. During World War II, his supply of pickles dried up, so Joe started testing a new idea: selling Polish pickles in glass jars. Smart move. Joe couldn’t keep up with demand, and the Vlasic Pickle brand was born!
Joe’s son, Bob, joined the company after the war and became general manager of the Vlasic operation, which still included the creamery. Its first plant was built in Imlay City, Michigan. Over the next 20 years, Joe and Bob grew Vlasic into America’s number-one pickle. Not bad for a couple of cheese makers.
The Vlasics played an important role in shaping American eating habits with their glass-packed pickles. In 1933, per capita pickle consumption was 2.09 pounds. By 1974, consumption grew to 8 pounds. Joe and Bob became so successful at pickles that they dropped milk and cheese entirely. Vlasic Pickles became as American as apple pie.
The Vlasic Stork, named Jovny has been the official mascot of Vlasic Pickles since 1974. He is voiced by Doug Preis, imitating the voice of the comedian Groucho Marx. He holds pickles in his hand like cigars and bites down on them, triggering a loud crunching sound. He then waggles the pickle up and down. The wisecracking Vlasic Stork flew onto American television screens with the message that crunchy “Vlasic is the best tasting pickle I ever heard!”
According to Vlasic, he was introduced to capitalize on the falling birth rate at the time. He is based on the myths of storks delivering babies and pregnant women having an above average craving for pickles.