August 13, 2009

Wrigley Zoo Pop-Up Ads

I was recently reading an article in the L.A. Times from 2002.  Yeah, that’s right 2002 – I’m catching up on the backlist.  A Career That’s Still Unfolding by BettiJane Levine chronicles the work of Waldo Hunt, the legendary pop-up entrepreneur that by many accounts single-handedly ushered in the Second Golden Age of Pop-ups starting in the late 1960’s.  Wally Hunt is the man responsible for creating Intervisual Books Inc., which was the premier novelty and pop-up packager for decades in the United States.  Almost every major paper engineer has either works for or with Intervisual on creating some of the most outstanding examples of pop-ups.  (I almost landed a job with them in 2000, but was unable to make the transcontinental relocation.)

I’m a total nerd about pop-up history so when I learned from the article that the first promotionals created by Wally Hunt’s earlier company, Graphics International, was a series of pop-up ads for Wrigley’s gum in the mid-1960’s, I had to do some digging.  There were a total of 14 separate pop-up ads in the series focusing on a different animal in the “Wrigley Zoo”, which appeared to be an animated television series.  There is virtually no information on the program but it may have been linked to the Captain Kangaroo series.  Like many cartoons of today, this show was a thinly veiled attempt to sell products.  I was able to come across a transcript of a Wrigley Zoo TV advertisement from the 1960’s on UK television.   Check out the catchy lyrics below:

Clap hands, one, two,

Let’s take a trip to the Wrigley zoo,

Chitter chatter, yakety yak.

When you talk to the animals they talk back.


We’ll talk to Melvin Monkey today,

let’s hear what Melvin has to say:


“My mummy says I should realize

That monkeys all need exercise,

But teeth need exercising too

And my mum makes it fun to do,

For when I swing she gives me some


It helps to keep teeth clean and bright

And never spoils my appetite.

My mum’s my favourite swinging chum,

We both like Wrigley’s spearmint gum. “

Mr. Hunt claims that each ad was a run of 1 million making this a huge campaign.  The single spread pop-ups were attached to national magazines like Jack and Jill via a small flap that was removed from the binding in order to remove and open the advertisement.  Due to such a high volume of ads printed these pop-ups are not too uncommon and I have been able to collect seven of the series.  “Melvin Monkey” is good but my favorite of the bunch is “Karol Kangaroo”.  Despite the fact that I’m a big Aussiephile, this pop-up stands out from the rest of the series since it does not use any glue tabs to create the pop-up scene but instead uses fold-overs and slotted tabs into the basepage.  The rock behind the boy’s head is one example of these slotted tabs.  It’s an interesting solution to manufacturing a high volume of movable spreads and it’s curious that this is the only one I have that uses this technique.  Hopefully I can collect the remaining seven pop-up ads to compare the full series to this one.  And that is where you, dear readers, come in.  Can you help identify the missing three animals?

Animals showcased in the Wrigley Zoo pop-up ads:
















*Missing from collection.

Drop me a comment if you can fill in the blanks on the pop-up ads or TV shoe and be sure to savor this monster blog post like a delicious stick of Wrigley’s gum as I will be out of commission for a bit while I enjoy the last gasps of summer. 




Anonymous said...

Hildy Hippo popup is on eBay now.

Anonymous said...

I definitely remember these ads from my childhood! I don't think there was an actual TV show that went along with them, though - I think it was just a series of TV commercials plus the print advertising. I happen to have one of the Wrigley Zoo ads inside an old Jack & Jill magazine - can't remember which animal was featured, as it's now packed away and I haven't seen it in a couple of years. I remember I bought the old magazine at a flea market because that ad was so striking! Early example of marketing a product very directly to children, which of course is very common now but wasn't so much then. Thanks for the lyrics - that brought back some memories! Funny how snippets of ad jingles stick in your memory from when you're young. As I recall, the "song" was actually sort of a spoken patter, to a beat -- not really a tune. Very interesting, creative and colorful campaign for the period! I wonder which of the "Mad Men" came up with it? -- Mary

Anonymous said...

Hello Matthew! My name is Ed Spencer. I'm 52 years old and I remember the song to the Wrigley Zoo TV commercials from the 1960's. You are correct, these Wrigley ads ran during Captain Kangaroo, guessing 1964-1965? They were "still" cartoons, no animation, with two zoo animals featured per ad. After the two animals sang there parts, the commercial concluded with: "Now please remember this, There's always fun at the Wrigley's Zoo and Wrigley's Spearmint is fun to chew, younger folks and grown-ups too, enjoy some while it's helping you". And I remeber the melody, the song! The song is still there and I can sing it! If I knew how to write music I would write it here, LOL!

The missing animals from your list are a Rhino, a Tiger and a Zebra; as best as I can remember after all these years.

Anonymous said...

I don't have all of them...but I have a racoon and a sloth one and also the the following you already have elephant,hippo,bear,seal,camel, lion. kept them from my JACK AND JILL MAGAZINES and put them in a scrapbook of my favorite pictures when I was a kid...unfortunately I glued the back page to I don't have the rhymes. suzanne

Anonymous said...

wow - I can remember the song too - and yes, there was singing followed by verse spoken to a beat - what an effective ad campaign

Mary Jane Sawyer said...

I have the beaver pop-up.