If you grew up with Hasbro’s Play-Doh, chances are you probably remember the little guy clad in the red beret on the packaging. His name was Play-Doh Pete and he was one of the brand mascots for the famous modeling compound. Where has Pete disappeared to and who are these other characters I’m talking about? Get your bright Play-Doh colors ready to sculpt and mold as we head back in time down the toy aisle to find out more!
Pete wasn’t the first character to represent the Play-Doh brand. In his book Timeless Toys: Classic Toys and the Playmakers Who Created Them, author Tim Walsh writes that the company’s earliest cans in the 1950s featured the Play-Doh Pixie. Walsh notes that the Pixie “looked like a cross between Elmer Fudd and Peter Pan” — and we agree that it’s an accurate description.
Play-Doh Pete made his debut in 1960, taking over the Pixie’s position. His initial appearance on canisters and in print advertising featured a full-bodied character in an artist’s smock.
Throughout the next few decades, Pete would enthusiastically leap out of Play-Doh canisters to tell moms everywhere about all the neat things their kids could do with the colorful stuff. You could squish, squash, and roll it while making anything you can imagine!
As kids enjoyed their Play-Doh creations, Pete received a few more design revamps. He would be cropped down significantly to just his head and beret as part of the company logo. In 2002, his entire look was overhauled to reflect a cooler, more contemporary Pete who wore a backwards baseball cap.
Pete’s revival was short-lived as the mascot was phased out and replaced by “The Doh Dohs.”
What are The Doh Dohs exactly? According to Steve Block, a former associate creative director for UPROAR!@DDB NY who helped bring the campaign to life, these silly characters are ambassadors of Play-Doh fun. Every color had its own quirky personality. Purple was Mr. Popular, Red was a cheerleader, Orange was the resident goofball, Blue’s antics made him their prankster, Pink was a little bashful, Green was the “strong man,” and Play-Doh Plus was the party guy.
To date, The Doh Dohs still serve as the brand’s mascots and they take their job quite seriously. After all, they’re creating ways to save the day in their own Play-Doh way!