For decades, we’ve spent lazy summers sipping on flavored frozen beverages from ICEE and SLUSH PUPPiE. Illustrated on each cup was a different mascot to represent the brand. ICEE has its ICEE Bear, staying cool in shades, blue pants, and a red shirt with a capital “I” stitched on it while SLUSH PUPPiE stars a pup in a blue shirt (with the capital “S”) and beanie.
Despite their loyal fanbase, it’s not likely that many know much about these two characters and their personalities. And what’s the difference between a slush from ICEE versus that of a SLUSH PUPPiE drink? Grab your favorite drink and join us as we uncover the stories behind these sweet treats.
Created by The ICEE Company, a subsidiary of J & J Snack Foods, ICEE Bear is a polar bear that hails from Coffeyville, Kansas. This is the same city where an entrepreneur named Omar Knedlik accidentally invented the ICEE drink. Knedlik owned a Dairy Queen in Coffeyville and one day his soda machine broke down. Rather than lose the drink to the heat, he put the soda into bottles and moved them to the freezer to stay cold. Eventually, Knedlik decided to sell the bottles to customers and discovered opening them that the soda was all… slushy. This was cool with consumers, who couldn’t get enough of the new treat.
Suddenly, Knedlik had a hit on his hands and he turned to artist Ruth Taylor to help him brand the beverage. Taylor drew the logo and came up with the name, ICEE. As seen above, the ICEE Bear was initially drawn as a baby bear cub. As time progressed (to the tune of 50 years), more flavors were added to the ICEE menu to slurp on and the character’s design developed into becoming an older brother to the baby bear. Coolness was also key, since one of ICEE bear’s hobbies is staying cool — which he’s able to easily do by enjoying ICEE drinks. The world according to ICEE Bear is one where everything is chill, fun, and adventurous and where his fans see their love for ICEE reflected in his attitude and behavior.
ICEE Bear was later inducted into the Madison Avenue Walk of Fame in 2015, along with Chester Cheetah from Cheetos. SLUSH PUPPiE was also nominated that year and joined the ICEE Bear at NASDAQ’s closing bell ceremonies alongside other nominated and previously inducted brand mascots.
Founded in 1970, The ICEE Company may own SLUSH PUPPiE but it differs from ICEE in that this drink is a non-carbonated beverage. Carbonation aside, SLUSH PUPPiE is packed with flavor and refreshing, even referred to as “fun in a cup” in early ads from the 1980s. Described on the company website as a “pure bred brand,” SLUSH PUPPiE hails from Cincinnati, Ohio. Much like his bear counterpart, SLUSH PUPPiE loves to drink Slushies but also embraces life as a pup by playing and barking. He’s even been quoted for saying, “I’m man’s best friend, but a slushie is a close second.”
SLUSH PUPPiE will turn 50 in 2020, and we’ve got our fingers crossed that by then he will join the ICEE Bear and be inducted into our Madison Avenue Walk of Fame lineup!
While I have fond memories of Slush Puppie from childhood, Icee is the far superior product. Not only is Icee carbonated, the flavoring is encapsulated in ice chunks. Slush Puppie is small chunks of ice that you squirt syrup over. Once it gets in your mouth the syrup is swallowed leaving unflavored ice. Also many stores dont use enough syrup. If you are lucky enough to find a self serve Slush Puppie location, use 2x as many pumps as they tell you to.
The 2nd generation Icee bear is my favorite. The 90’s and 2000’s were hard on many mascots. Everyone had to become “EXTREEEEEEEEEEEEME!”. Many otherwise lovable mascots suddenly got sun glasses and bad attitudes.