The Truth About Culver's Mascot, Scoopie

Fast-food mascots. Whether you find them downright weird or have fond childhood memories of them, one thing is certain: "Chief Happiness Officer" Ronald McDonald, Burger King's gigantic plastic head-wearing King, or Chick-fil-A's pro-chicken, bad spelling cows have been branded into our brains as representative of our favorite greasy meals. You'd think it wouldn't take such a motley crew of characters for us to crave a good, juicy burger and fries, but fast-food chains love creating these sometimes cute, sometimes creepy characters to lure us in. Some of our most well-known mascots, the iconic Colonel Harland Sanders of KFC for example, have even been reinvented to attract our favorite "me generation" millennials (via Pop Icon).

One such chain, Midwest Butterburger gem Culver's, has its own official mascot in the form of a smiling, blue-eyed, frozen custard cone with the adorable moniker of Scoopie. Who is Scoopie anyway? Does Scoopie have a human wife like Jack in the Box's Jack? Can Scoopie speak through sign language like the BK King? Let's take a look at how this sweet, frozen character came to be.

Scoopie is the mascot for the entire town of Sauk City, Wisconsin

The first Culver's opened its doors in 1984 in the small town of Sauk City, aka the "cow chip throwing capital of Wisconsin" (yes, a cow chip is what you think it is), and their menu is an homage to all things dairy. The Butterburgers are still finished with that dollop of butter on the crown of each bun giving them their namesake, and they've offered over 60 different flavors of frozen custard over the years. Since the custard is made fresh daily, you can walk into any Culver's and treat yo' self to a chocolate, vanilla, or flavor of the day scoop(ie) whenever you feel like it.

In an interview over at Advertising Week 360, one advertising guru who grew up in Sauk City referred to Culver's and Scoopie as the town's "pride and joy." Like other community-centered mascots, Scoopie really embraces "face-to-face (or more like face-to-mask) connection to the people who support their business." Scoopie's own Twitter account is based in Sauk City, but with only four followers and one retweet celebrating the chain's 500th store in 2014, Scoopie's account hasn't been used much. Clearly Scoopie is a powerful custard cone of few words.

Scoopie was created by a mascot costume company called Olympus Group

Scoopie the mascot wasn't born right in 1984 along with the first Culver's location. It took awhile for Culver's to grow beyond its south Wisconsin roots. According to Olympus Group, the Milwaukee mascot costume company that created Scoopie, Culver's had less than 100 locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois when the mascot was released to the public, and there were only two costumes available across all of these locations. That's right, two. Um, we're feeling a little sorry for all of those smelly, Midwestern teenagers donning that original Scoopie garb right about now. Of course now, most franchises each have their own Scoopie for smelly teenagers to share.

Olympus Group's creative idea behind the 6-foot, 1-inch mascot was simple — the chain wanted Scoopie to bond with the community, and a nonthreatening ice cream cone was a much less cry-inducing character than, say, a clown or a creepy, mute king. From the company's early sketches of Scoopie, it looks like not much has changed from the original design to Scoopie in the wild, from the blue eyes all the way down to the costume's light gray Converse high-top knock-offs. Quick question though: Is Scoopie a boy or a girl? We wholeheartedly agree with this redditor's comment, "in my opinion Scoopie doesn't have a gender. He's just a freekin' custard cone." Let's just ignore the use of "he" there, okay?

The mascot makes an effort to be part of the community

The Culver family's mission has always been centered around people in local communities, and "give local" has always been a mantra (via Culver's). One way the chain supports the community is through "Scoopie Night." On this special night, you can stop by your local Culver's, meet Scoopie, and chow down on a delicious Butterburger, fries, and your favorite frozen custard cone. Culver's will donate a percentage of the night's sales to a chosen nonprofit organization, school, or other cause deemed worthy by the community. How cool is that! We hear that Scoopie is a big hugger, and sometimes walks with a certain strut, so be sure to say "hey."

For some fans like Cassie G., per Culver's, meeting up with girlfriends at the local Culver's was the thing to do in high school, and meeting their favorite frozen mascot made these hangs more special. "Ever since we could drive, our small group of friends would go to Culver's whenever possible to catch up or hang out. Meeting Scoopie just made our love for Culver's grow." As they bonded over patty melts and crinkle cut fries, Scoopie was always their constant. Now, when they make it back home as adults, they always make it a point to grab a meal at Culver's, reminiscing about times past and hopefully getting a Scoopie hug.

Kids can buy cool stuff with Scoopie tokens

Instead of using plastic superhero or Disney character tie-in toys to prompt kids to pester their parents for nutritionally challenged foods, Culver's does something pretty unique with the Kids' Meals menu. According to the Culver's website, each Kids' Meal comes with one paper certificate for a free scoop of frozen custard AND one Scoopie Token, inspired by yours truly. 

Once you save up 10 Scoopie Tokens, you can bring them back to your local store and choose a prize that might actually be useful. Kids can score things like footballs or basketballs, another free kids' meal, or they can procure their very own plush Scoopie figure for Scoopie hugs any time of the day.  Apparently, adults are even into buying Kids' Meals at Culver's for the Scoopie Tokens. One Wisconsin Redditor even posted a PSA explaining in detail why buying a Scoopie meal off the kids' menu should be your only logical decision any time you visit the chain.

One Sauk City, Wisconsin, counselor from Camp Gray took Scoopie Tokens so seriously, he conjured up a dream. A dream to save up enough Scoopie Tokens one day to feed the whole camp staff with delicious Butterburgers and fries. It took six years, but this dream was finally realized. And on the day the entire camp staff made it to their local Culver's, guess who was there to greet them? Scoopie, with open arms of course. 

Scoopie inspired three more Culver's mascots

Scoopie isn't the only anthropomorphic food figure representing Culver's. Over the years, Scoopie inspired three more short-lived mascots who never would have existed without their OG. There was happy, red-nosed Fudge the Dog, Curdis the "Cutest Nerd" Curd, who had a lively blog for a while, and his lady Goldie (also a cheese curd). But, these guys just came in small plushie form for purchase at Culver's, holding nowhere near the same reverence as our tall, personable frozen friend Scoopie. 

According to one Culver's worker in a Reddit thread, Fudge the Dog is actually Scoopie's lifelong companion, and there was considerable concern about Fudge's whereabouts when a drive-thru attendant in the thread realized Fudge plushies were no longer being ordered at their Culver's. "I think he got sent to a nice farm out in the country," they wrote. Culver's wouldn't dare let this happen to our Scoopie, right? If you're one of the lucky ones to have met Scoopie, though, we're sure this custardy mascot lives in your heart forever.