“Ladies and gentlemen, before your very eyes the Quaker Oats Company will now introduce two new cereals!”
In 1965, Quaker Oats created Quisp and Quake, two new corn-based breakfast cereals that differed only where their cereal shape and brand mascots were concerned. Quake advertised their cereal with a miner-themed superhero (voiced by William Conrad, who narrated Rocky and Bullwinkle) that wore a cape with a yellow hard hat. He advocated a “power cereal” with sweetness and vitamins hailing all the way from the Earth’s core.
But it was the pink alien that Quisp used as their brand mascot that stands out with fans as a beloved cereal icon. Voiced by Daws Butler, infamous for his Hanna-Barbera roster of animated characters including Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound, the Quisp alien came equipped with a propeller on top of his head to easily fly around. Quisp was marketed as the cereal from outer space where it was “the biggest selling cereal from Saturn to Alpha Centauri.” Much like Quake, Quisp came with plenty of sugary sweetness and vitamins, but also promised a “quazy” amount of energy after consuming a bowlful.
The truly “quazy” thing about Quisp was that the mascot was created before the cereal existed. Prior to creating the hit animated series Rocky and Bullwinkle, Jay Ward and Bill Scott worked together in cereal advertising. (One brand icon Ward created in 1963 still endures today – none other than Horatio Magellan Crunch AKA Cap’n Crunch.) Quaker reached out to Ward and Scott to create characters that cereal brands could be built upon and Quisp and Quake were born.
You might have noticed as far back as their first TV spot, Quisp and Quake were competing against each other over who had the best cereal. This “breakfast feud” left it up to fans to decide which cereal they liked best, eventually escalating with commercials in 1972 to vote on their favorite cereal to keep on the shelves.
And even though Quake had revamped his look – complete with a leaner build and cowboy hat – the voters had spoken. Goodbye Quake, Quisp was here to stay.
That is, until the late 1970s when Quisp cereal was discontinued due to declining sales. However, Quisp continues to remain incredibly resilient through the decades. Max Lomont, a former art director for Quaker was quoted for saying that despite best efforts, “A lot of people have tried to kill Quisp, but he survives. He refuses to die.”
Case in point? It was Quisp, not Quake, who found himself immortalized in a 2004 episode of The Simpsons.