idsgn (a design blog)

Parallels: Krispies & Bubbles

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July 31 2009

Rice Krispies in the United States (left) and Australia (right)

Eating a bowl of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies—and listening to it “snap, crackle, and pop”—is pretty much a requirement, growing up in North America. So when we first discovered Rice Bubbles (as they are known in Australia and New Zealand), we were intrigued enough to start a new blog series: Parallels.

Little more than puffed rice and sugar, the breakfast cereal was first launched in the United States in the late twenties. Perhaps most loved for its use in ‘Rice Krispie Squares,’ the brand's long advertising history has made Rice Krispies a household name for generations.

When Rice Krispies entered the market in 1928, everyone noticed the distinctive noise the toasted rice cereal made in milk—and an idea for the company's first (and longest lasting) spokescharacters was born. Snap! Crackle! & Pop! first hit the front of cereal boxes in the 1930s and have continued their Kellogg career in advertisements ever since.

-Kellogg's press release

Rice Krispies in the UKThe cereal was a success and quickly spread globally, with Australian newspapers as early as 1931 advertising for Kellogg's Rice Bubbles (rather than Krispies). Rice Krispies and Rice Bubbles are the exact same product, so why is it branded differently? I contacted Kellogg's (both in the United States and Australia) to see if they could tell me why, but unfortunately they didn't seem to have an answer. Curiously, the the rest of the world shares the Rice Krispies name, including the UK (see right).

Do Australians think the word ‘crispy’ is weird? I asked Australian designer Alex Charchar for his thoughts: “To be completely honest, there is something that feels very American about the word Krispies.” Is it that simple? It appears the ‘Bubbles’ name was, for whatever reason, chosen during the Australian launch in the late twenties or early thirties—and it just stuck. Although Alex admits: “I have the suspicious memory that me and my friends used the terms interchangeably when we were younger,” which he attributes to the influence of American television.

Also worth noting is how vastly different the popular Snap, Crackle and Pop characters are depicted across the globe: United States with its highly-polished (almost aggressive) energy, Australia with its youthful backwards hats, and perhaps most interesting, the UK with its simple charm. But it doesn't end there…

Rice Krispies around the world

Rice Krispies (L-R): Spain, Sweden & Finland, Italy, Germany, French Canadian

Related: Some lovely vintage Rice Krispies packaging from the Michigan Historical Museum, and from the UK: Rice Krispies through the ages.

Filed under: branding

By Skylar Challand