Fred_fruity_box Fred_fruity_box
Cartoon Culture

END OF AN ERA: Fred Flintstone Replaced on Fruity Pebbles Box

I’m no one to tell Warner Bros. how to license their cartoon characters (well actually I’m probably qualified… but I digress) but according to Sharon Pupel, marketing director with Post Cereals, the Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment super star John Cena will be replacing Fred Flintstone on four million Fruity Pebbles boxes starting this week.

fruity pebbles“We’ve just been talking with kids. They wanted more variety,” she said. “Fred isn’t necessarily the … coolest or [most] relevant guy for kids who we are going after.”

What!? Fred Flintstone IS the coolest (at least in the first two seasons)… This is an outrage! Fred has been fronting the cereal since 1971. It’s the end of an era!

But hold on to your Corn Flakes; don’t get your Wheaties in a bunch – it’s only for a limited-edition promotion. However, Post warns, “Cena may return to the cereal box in the fall when school is back in session”.

The official WWE Press Release, below:


Parsippany, NJ / January 8, 2013 — Beginning today (for a limited time), WWE Superstar John Cena and Bamm-Bamm will replace Fred Flintstone on the front of more than 8 million Post Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles cereal boxes as part of a promotional partnership between Post Foods and WWE. Pebbles Cereal, WWE and John Cena started their partnership in 2012 after WWE Superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson teased Cena about the brightly colored ring gear he wore, saying Cena looked like he was “running around like a big bowl of Fruity Pebbles.” This led to fans chanting “Fruity Pebbles” in arenas whenever Cena would enter the ring.

In January 2012, Post printed more than 3 million Fruity Pebbles cereal boxes featuring Cena, including a sweepstakes to meet the WWE Superstar. Partnering with John Cena to communicate the powerful taste of Fruity Pebbles cereal resulted in the highest redeeming on pack promotion in recent Post history.

“Given the strength and fit of the two properties, we knew that the partnership would be successful since both brands share common consumer demographics,” said Sharon Pupel, Director of Marketing at Post. “WWE broadcasts are largely a family viewing event with more parents watching WWE with their children than any other sports league.”

Coming off the successful 2012 campaign, Post decided to build upon the partnership in 2013 with WWE and John Cena. In addition to making Cena more prominent on the packaging, which is currently on shelves, Post has developed several other marketing initiatives to be pulsed throughout the year. For example, fans can participate in a sweepstakes via the interactive gaming site to win tickets and a VIP experience to WWE’s WrestleMania 30 in 2014; all they need is the unique code found on specially marked boxes of Pebbles cereal. During the back to school window, Post will produce another 5 million packages of Pebbles cereal featuring a fun photo app where fans can create picture of themselves with Cena.

Additionally, young fans can participate in Pebbles’ tailgating-like experiences at three major WWE events in 2013, starting with Royal Rumble on January 27. Young fans will be able to jump into a ball pit designed to look like a giant bowl of Fruity Pebbles, create “Pebbles fan” posters used to cheer on their favorite WWE Superstars in the arena, and of course, sample Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles cereal.

“It’s been a life-long dream to be on a cereal box and I’m proud to represent WWE as part of our partnership with Post,” said WWE Superstar John Cena. “It’s an incredible honor to be recognized by Post, and I’m looking forward to joining millions of families at their breakfast table across the country.”

“We are excited to have a multi-year deal with Post and see the WWE and John Cena on the front of millions of Pebbles cereal boxes all across the country,” said Andrew Judelson, Executive Vice President, Sales and Partnership Marketing, WWE. “At WWE, we pride ourselves on delivering family-friendly entertainment and look forward to activating our partnership with Post even further at key WWE events later this year.”

“John Cena is definitely a favorite celebrity among many of our Pebbles Cereal fans,” said Ms. Pupel. “We are excited that he will temporarily flex his muscle on our boxes alongside Bamm-Bamm, one of the most-loved Flintstones characters. We’re looking forward to engaging with our fans in 2013 at premiere WWE events.”

What next? Howard Wolowitz on Froot Loops?

(Thanks, Pedro Nakama)

  • Ryan Maxwell

    At least it’s only temporary! Fruity Pebbles have always been a favorite of mine!

  • Tory

    Call Post and register a complaint, I did, we all need to before it is too late.
    1-800-431-POST (9am – 5pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays)

    • Richard

      No one cares. Don’t be a clown, man.

      • Apparently some people care. And at least they’re DOING something about it instead of just sitting around complaining, so kudos to Tory for standing up for a belief. Even if it’s just a cereal box.

        • Why do people care? Its a f****g promotion, it’s not like it’s becoming John Cena Pebbles

      • travelsonic

        You do know the difference between “nobody” caring, and you + X % not caring ,right?

    • Geoff

      The only thing they’ll hear is dollars. F sales go down, expect Fred to return in no time. If sales go up, expect this promotion to occur more frequently.
      Phoning in a complaint will annoy the operator at worst.

  • Mike K

    I’m going to go kill myself now. This seriously better only be for a limited time, I don’t want to see my Pebbles cereal with anybody other than good old Fred.

    • Wow. Either your joking, or that is some damn good cereal.

    • Nic

      There comes a time in everyone’s life where we must question our obsessions…

  • Walt

    Cena looks out of place next to Bamm-Bamm. At least give him something to wear that fits the “period.”

    • Why do they put Bamm-Bamm on the boxes anyway? You know, instead of Pebbles?

      • Zac

        Eating Fruit Pebbles is men’s work.

      • cst

        Maybe there was a screw-up, and it’s supposed to be Bam-Bam BIGELO on the box.

    • Not only is the style completely wrong, but he has FOUR fingers instead of THREE!

    • AM

      Precisely my thought. They could have at least designed this Cena person (whoever he is) in the Flintstone style.

  • Man, talk about your Wheaties consolation prize…

    • dbenson

      Champion athletes on Wheaties; pro wrestlers on Fruity Pebbles. Insert your own nutritional analogy here.

  • Patrick smith

    It’s temporary.. There’s no story here Jerry. And bam bam is still there representin’

  • Matthew Koh

    I can’t imagine Cena shouting “Barney, you stole my Fruity Pebbles!”.

  • James Fox

    John Cena is a joke and a poser
    The last 2 wrestlers that were serious business were Stone Cold Steve Austin and Chyna

  • bird brained



  • Toonio

    I don’t see an issue in replacing one caveman with another.

    Now if .they are messing with Fred Flintstone, it’s time to rabble, rabble, rabble.

  • Kelly

    John Cena and Bamm-Bamm don’t make any sense together. And why is Bamm-Bamm more relevant than Fred?

    • Brian Kidd

      It’s likely because this particular box is being marketed towards little boys. Hence, Cena and Bamm-Bamm.

      • Kelly

        Well, that makes sense. But I’m still surprised any Flintstones characters are meaningful to young children.

        But… I’m putting too much thought into this. A five-year-old is probably just thinking “Ooh, a cartoon caveman boy” rather than “Ooh, Barney and Betty Rubble’s son.”

  • Would it have been a big hassle to draw Cena in a somewhat Hanna-Barbera style? Even like ScoobyDoo/Archie or something?

  • Nic

    I’m not surprised they felt the need to walk away from the character on occasion. Frankly, it’s intelligent marketing.

    Fred Flinstone is /not/ relevant to children anymore. Kids don’t really watch the Flintstones, and I haven’t seen it air even on Cartoon Network for a very long time. It’s not surprising that they want to swap Fred out every once in a while for more relevant figures.

    Of course, whether or not Cena is really that relevant, what with wrestling having already reached it’s peak in the 80s/90s, is up for question.

    I guess I’m just not seeing the outrage. The cereal will always have pretty blatant connection to the Flintstones, so the characters will never be gone forever. Branching out won’t harm the character’s standing at all. And they’re right, Fred Flintstone isn’t relevant to kids anymore.

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    Cena already looks like a cartoon character who works in a cartoon form of entertainment. Honestly, why couldn’t they get Wreck-It Ralph to shill the product? He’s ALREADY a cartoon character.

  • William Stilwell

    If I recall correctly, Cena was on the cover of the box at some point last year as well, although I think that was a hurried layout just slapping a photo on the cover somewhere. This is just the next step, and it makes good marketing sense, since the January through March period is the build-up to WrestleMania.

    It’s all an offshoot of Duane “The Rock” Johnson comparing Cena to a “big fat bowl of Fruity Pebbles” in reference to the multitude of brightly-colored t-shirts that Cena wears (and sells by the truckload, mostly to younger—and perhaps cereal choosing—fans) back in 2011. The reference has resurfaced many times in the last couple of years, even including full box shots in some of the promo segments.

    And since it’s only temporary, my only nitpick (echoing the comments of others) is the confusing inclusion of Bamm-Bamm.

  • wever

    ………..who is this guy’s business butting in on Fred’s acclaim!? What’s really odd is that Bam-Bam is still on the box too. I’d hardly call this a big enough change to cause the end of an era.

  • Marvin O

    This is Warner Bros own fault. Since buying Hanna-Barbera, they’ve been keen on regurgitating every possible mutation of “Scooby-Doo” and ignoring other, potentially more valuable crown jewels of H-B’s second rate crappy cartoon kingdom. They let Fred Flintstone slip right off his cereal box while developing ‘Wacky Races’ properties and thinking way too much about Dick Dastardly as a human being, the true icon of our times.

  • Clutch

    …so you have a super buff wrestler on the box and the caption says “FRUITY PEBBLES”? Nobody thought that one through?

  • TimeForTimer

    Hopefully when Fred Flintstone returns to the Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles boxes, he will be drawn by someone other than a 4 year old. The character art used now has sucked for quite some time.

  • Klyph

    I liked it better when Fred was hocking Winston Cigarettes.

    • Ted Herrmann

      Fred was hawking Winstons – but probably hocking too – not to mention hacking.

  • Altair

    I don’t like Froot Loops, but if there’s a Howard Wolowitz edition, I’ll buy a box.

  • Rufus

    Yay! Poorly drawn pseudo-sportsmen to the rescue! They’ll make your boxes uglier! AND THAT’S A PROMISE!

  • Jeans

    Hahahaha the marketing needs to stop talking to kids. It makes me question how broad did they go asking kids about this stuff? was it one school? one city or many cities? one state or many states? neighbors’ kids? kids of the marketing team employees? what what? And did the kids actually say they want more variety??? Or was that something that the marketing team WANTED to hear? And they came up with John Cena for their solution???? Good Lord. I am no marketing expert, but i can clearly see “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is being ignored here. The cereal is gonna taste the same no matter what cartoon character you put on it!! Fred is at least appealing.

  • Dave

    How is Fred more out dated than the other classic cereal cartoon characters.

    Anyway if Michelle Obama has her way there will be no cartoons on any sugar filled foods.

    • Ted Herrmann

      Good point – especially since Pebbles is still on the box.

      • AM

        Bamm Bamm is – Pebbles isn’t.

  • Glowworm

    Strangely enough, I don’t really care too much. I remembered eating Fruit Pebbles once in my life. I do not recall liking it. I’m certain this is only temporary.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    While awaiting the end of an era indeed, let’s take some time to remember the good ‘ol days with prehistoric ‘chums’…

  • Lala_Marin

    So, why don’t they just rerun the Flintstones on Cartoon Network? Kids would know Fred Flintstone–problem solved.

    Really, this is just stupid and lazy.

    • Dan

      Yeah, I’m with you all the way, man. Also, I don’t get why they want to distance themselves from The Flintstones now that they are making a new Flintstones primetime series. It’s supposed to air on FOX… I’m not sure when, though…

      • IJK

        That’s been “cancelled” for quite some time now.

        And by cancelled I mean Seth dropped out so they can’t find anyone to replace him at the moment.

  • Bud

    Boy, the design/composition/drawing/rendering of the wrestler is BAD. Just as bad as all the Flintstone boxes and tv commercials from the late ’80’s thru recently. LOVE the Flintstones, but the cereal hasn’t really captured them. Ever.

  • Fruity/Coco Pebbles is one of the reasons why there is a Obesity epidemic in American children

  • So they wanted something “cooler” and they came up with THAT!?

  • Wouldn’t it have made more sense to have put Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on a box of ‘Fruity Pebbles?’

    Wait, no, I take that back… he would probably have to change his catch-phrase, “DO YOU SMELL WHAT ‘THE ROCK’ IS COOKING?” to, “Looks like cereal for dinner again, kids.”


  • Fred Should Sue

    Ugh? Trashy wrestler? DO NOT WANT.

  • Giovanni Jones

    To those who have said “Fred Flintstone is irrelevant,” first of all, are you from the Post marketing department — or worse, from Warner.

    Second of all, whether kids know Fred from The Flintstones series, the cereal boxes or the vitamins, they still know him. Saying he is “irrelevant” is like saying Tony the Tiger or the Trix rabbit are irrelevant. The fact is that Fred Flintstone has been selling millions of boxes of Pebbles for decades, with or without a TV show. How many characters, actors or sports stars could say the same?

    As for Mr. Cena, I’ve seen him in the piercingly shrill “Fred” movie on Nick. Getting the box gig is a big step up.

  • Dave

    I’ve never had Fruity Pebbles in my entire life…but I hope they keep Fred on there.

    Now…if they were to replace Anthony the Tiger with, say, Kim Kardashian on Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, or take Sugar Bear off Sugar Pops (or whatever they’re PC called now)…
    Hey! Why don’t they make Post Honey Boo Boos? Part of your complete breakfast?

  • ekedolphin

    Everyone needs to seriously get a grip. “I’m going to go kill myself now”? Really?

  • Ugly! Bring back Fred.

  • Josh

    I find this lack of faith disturbing.

    Completely tangential references aside, if they were going to replace good ol’ Fred, why replace him with that hideous goddamn drawing? I may not be a wrestling fan but I know who John Cena is. Couldn’t guessed that was him, let alone a cereal mascot. Yeesh!

  • Andrew Hager

    Oh, dear God, no! No! Noo!! NOO!!! NOOO!!!! NOOOO!!!!! NOOOOO!!!!!! NOOOOOO!!!!!!! NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO!!!! NO!!!!! NO!!!! I’m projecting my “no” at you!!!!! NO!!!! NO!!!! NO!!!! NO!!!! NO!!!! NO!!!! NO!!!! NO!!!!

  • aj

    I say call them on false advertising. If you eat that stuff you don’t end up looking like Cena – you end up looking like Fred.

  • Mac

    At least Bamm Bamm would never be in on a fix.Possible that BB’s biological father is….nevermind.Next your going to tell me that Bayer(owner of the old Miles Labs)makes chewable vitamins for adults who grew up with Flintstone vitamins. Oh.They do?

  • CC-O’12

    at least have John Cena with Fred Flintstone!!!

  • Fruity Pebbles

    I always talk to Fred when I eat Fruity Pebbles. I even introduced him to Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Good eating Fruity Pebbles and Cinnamon Toast Crunch mixed together.