As a longtime Pillsbury Doughboy aficionado, nothing piques my curiosity or excitement quite like discovering more members of the pastry mascot family tree. I couldn’t be more excited to write about Janet, the mascot for the British pastry manufacturer Jus-Rol, who has a cute backstory of her own as our first featured international brand icon.
Janet made her debut in 2009 for Jus-Rol puff pastry sheets.
In her first TV campaign for Jus-Rol, Janet can already be found in the fridge, parachuting out of it with the help of a puff pastry sheet. She’s slender, wearing an apron with her name on it and sporting a coiffed hairdo. Janet uses everyday ingredients like tomatoes and mozzarella to help a fellow cook make a pizza from scratch – or as she calls it, “a proper tasty meal.”
However, her debut commercial does have a twist ending that you wouldn’t expect to see. After garnishing the pizza, Janet is briefly pursued by a dog (!) and neatly avoids becoming a chew toy. It’s a far cry from commercials where the Doughboy gets poked in the stomach, that’s for sure!
Who’s the inspiration behind Janet’s look?
Janet Bishop, an independent home economist, serves as the real-life inspiration for the animated Janet. Bishop was such a fixture at UK food exhibitions that the sales and marketing teams would refer to her as “Just-Rol Janet.”
It was a nickname that stuck, so much so that Tracy Roberts, Marketing Manager at General Mills, later called her to discuss naming a character after Bishop. (On the cutting room floor were the names “Jenny” and “Jane” neither of which stuck as much as “Janet.”)
Is Janet related to the Pillsbury Doughboy?
Yep! The General Mills History Tumblr says Janet is Poppin’ Fresh’s UK cousin, just as recognizable and adored overseas as he is in the United States. I don’t know about you, but I would love to see a crossover commercial starring these two together for an extra-special holiday campaign.