The Birth of Tony the Tiger
Tony the Tiger was created by the Kellogg's Advertisement Department in the 1950s as one of four possible mascots for Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes of Corn, a new product created to compete with Post's Corn Fetti.
Why a Tiger?
Behavioralist Konrad Lorenz had recently published Studies in Animal and Human Behavior. In the book, Lorenz stated that children favored things with big eyes and broad foreheads. The easiest way to get this type of physical characteristic in something was to animate it, and an animal would most easily fit the part so Kelloggs came up with four possible animal mascots: Tony the Tiger, Katy the Kangaroo, Newt the Gnu, and Elmo the Elephant. Each one had a catchprase. Unknown to most people, Tony's full catchphrase is, "I'm here to loudly state, Sugar Frosted Flakes are Gr-r-reat!" They opened test markets in 1952 with each animal representing the cereals equally. Newt and Elmo quickly disappeared, while Tony and Katy competed against eachother for most boxes sold. Eventually, Tony the Tiger won the race and became the official spokesman for Frosted Flakes.
Kellogg started making TV ads for Tony the Tiger, and they needed an animator and a voice actor. They found Howard Swift, a former Disney animator, who reinvented Tony as the tiger we see on the box today. For the voice, they cast Thurl Reavenscroft (sometimes spelled Ravenscroft). They still use his voice for "They're Gr-r-eat!" even today. Tony was an instant success. Shortly after, Kellogg tried to reproduce the miracle mascot with dupicates such as Mrs. Tiger, Tony Jr. and Tony Sr. but did not recieve similar fan support. Tony went on to become the recognized logo of the entire Kellogg Company and even has his own balloon in the Annual Macy's Day Parade.
Tony was the inspiration for a wave of cereal marketing creations such as: Trix Rabbit, Lucky, Snap, Crackle, Pop, and Toucan Sam.
Official Kelloggs Site: http://www.kelloggs.com/company/marketing/history/tony.html