Tony was born in 1952 as part of a quartet of characters for Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes. Tony wound up being the most popular and quickly pushed the others into oblivion. After all who remembers Newt the Gnu or Elmo the Elephant? Katy the Kangaroo was the fourth character and she did share some early box-front space with Tony.
Tony was originally drawn by Martin Provinsen and his growl has been Thurl Ravenscroft throughout the years.
Battle Creek, Michigan:
Battle Creek, Michigan has been the home for Kellogg's since the company was started in 1906, although the name Kellogg's dates back even earlier to Dr. John Kellogg's health care institute, (brother of founder Will). Today the brands include Kellogg’s, Keebler, Pop-Tarts, Eggo, Cheez-It, Rice Krispies, Special K, Murray, and along with many others. Several of the top advertising icons world-wide are associated with Kellogg's: Tony the Tiger, the Keebler Elves and Snap, Crackle and Pop.
The Rest of the Family:
Tony is a family man, but apparently he likes to keep it quiet. There was Tony, Jr who first appeared in the early days, then in the seventies we met Mama Tiger (mother) and Mrs. Tony, his wife. In 1974 Mrs. Tony had a daughter tiger-- Antoinette.
Tony Through the Years:
He started out with a "football" shaped head (see early ads) and his eye color has changed from green to gold. But the most important change of all was his pussycat demeanor -- walking on all fours, to his now towering stance of 6'6". He's also racked up lots of airline miles, as Tony has been seen in more than 42 different countries.
Dolls, watches, bowls, towels, radios and more. Many were premiums that could be redeemed with just a few box tops, later UPC's, and a small amount of cash. But Kellogg's does warn that the ultimate collectible -- their famous Tony the Tiger Hot Air Balloon cannot be redeemed -- no matter how many UPC's have been collected!
The Bottom Line:
One of our most enduring and recognizable advertising icons, Tony is still Grrreat and you don't have to be a kid to appreciate him. Just don't confuse him with the Humble/Esso/Exxon Tiger -- they're not the same!