Hanna-Barbera and Kellogg’s had a relationship you couldn’t miss. Yogi, Snagglepuss, Quick Draw adorned cereal boxes. Jinks and the Meeces pushed Raisin Bran. The Kellogg’s rooster was the centre-piece of the opening of the Huckleberry Hound Show then handed off to Huck by knocking on a dressing room door. And, during the closing, Huck’s jalopy picked up virtually all of the cereal maker’s characters as announcer Art Gilmour reminded us who picked up the tab for the cartoons.
Of course, that was really before and after all the action. Kellogg’s didn’t worm its way into the plots of those loveable seven-minute cartoons, did it?
Kellogg’s didn’t only make food for kids and adults. It made food for dogs, too. One of its products, created in 1938, was Gro-Pup Dog Food. And in 1953, it developed Gro-Pup T-Bone Form Protective Dog Biscuits.
Right. Dog biscuits. And you know who loved those.
Snuffles was featured in eight H-B cartoons, starting with Quick Draw McGraw’s ‘Bow-Wow Bandit’ in 1959. In that one, Snuffles didn’t have a name, and neither did his orgasmic dog biscuits, but they had the unmistakeable ‘y’ shape of Gro-Pup.
It was no coincidence. Joe Barbera explained in 1960:
“...we have a new dog called Snuffles who eats a powerful kind of dog biscuit. ... Well, the sponsors like Snuffles. He’ll decorate their packages and help sell their product. So we have to write three new Snuffles stories.
The new stories contained a little more obvious tie-in with the sponsor. In ‘Bronco Bustin’ Boobs’ (1960), the name appears right on the screen.
And that wasn’t enough. The actual box was replicated in ‘Dynamite Fright’, ‘Mine Your Manners’ and in Snuffles’ last appearance in the Snagglepuss cartoon ‘Tail Wag Snag’ (all 1961). Incidentally, the last cartoon was animated by Allen Wilzbach, who had no problem with the box but he has one scene of a Snuffles that is tall and stretched like he’s an oversized dachshund.
One can imagine the reaction of Ed Benedict if he got the assignment of doing a model sheet for the Gro-Pup box.
Ah, but Gro-Pup wasn’t restricted to Snuffles alone. It makes an appearance in ‘Nuts Over Mutts’ as Huck uses it to lure a snickering dog.
Kellogg’s, of course, was heavily into TV advertising back then, and Snuffles appeared in at least one Gro-Pup spot. This must be part of an ad, since it only runs about 20 seconds. Hal Smith is the doctor, Daws Butler is, as usual, Snuffles.
While Snuffles surreptitiously sold dog food in cartoons, one thing he apparently didn’t do was “decorate their packages.” For some reason, Kellogg’s or the Leo Burnett ad agency picked someone who never touched dog food—Augie Doggie.
Snuffles also sold something else—himself. He was available just in time for Christmas 1961, according to this newspaper display ad (which seems to think Quick Draw’s sidekick is a sheep).
Dog biscuits weren’t included. Though I’ll bet Snuffles could tell you what kind to get.