Sunday, April 15, 2007

Del Monte Country Yumkins

In September of 1982 the Del Monte Corporation debuted a new premium campaign now recognized as marketing genius. To encourage the consumption of canned fruits and vegetables, the company created a collection of plush fruit and vegetable characters known as the Country Yumkins. For a mere 50 labels one could acquire Reddie Tomato, Sweetie Pea, Cobbie Corn, or Lushie Peach.

Reddie Tomato (1982, Trudy Corp.)

Sweetie Pea (1982, Trudy Corp.)

Cobbie Corn (1982, Trudy Corp.)

Lushie Peach (1982, Trudy Corp.)

The premium campaign proved a success, and other characters including Juicie Pineapple, Snappie Bean, Precious Pear, and Country Strawberry were released through the early 90s.

Juicie Pineapple (1983, Trudy Corp.)

Snappie Bean

Precious Pear

Country Strawberry

For those who did not appreciate food with eyes, Fluffy Lamb, Brawny Bear, Cocky Crow, and the ineffectual Shoo Shoo Scarecrow were also available.

Fluffy Lamb (1984, Trudy Corp.)

Brawny Bear (1985, R. Dakin & Co.)

Cocky Crow

Shoo Shoo Scarecrow

This campaign was a huge success and is even studied in casebooks of successful marketing strategies including Promotional Marketing by William A. Robinson, Christine Hauri, and Chris Sutherland (search inside for “Del Monte” to read the pages pertaining to the Yumkins). The number of labels required increased with each promotion. Families across America downed hundreds of cans of vegetables just to get these stuffed food characters. Well, at least my family did.

The Yumkins appeared in other incarnations over the years (you will have to wait until December for the Christmas ornaments). And in fact, they have entered the 21st century. Visit the Del Monte web page to color your own Yumkin!


Tracey said...

I just wanted to say thank you for this post! I have a "Fluffy Lamb", that has been my much loved favorite toy since I was a newborn in 1985. So happy to know that there is some information on this, and it is very strange to see what a "new" Fluffy Lamb looked like, as mine is now well worn.

Fred said...

I am 72 years old, and I spent four years in Vietnam during the war. I had never heard of these little guys until one day I came across eight of them on ebay. I bought them. Then I found out that there were more and I had to have them all. So, now I have the complete collection. I fell in love with them. I think I am in my second childhood. Thanks for this post of information on them.

Tanz_Fanatika said...

Another line from my childhood! I only ever got Lushie and Snappie. Still have 'em, still love 'em. I always wanted Sweetie. Wonder if she's on eBay...