The Pillsbury Doughboy is one of the iconic advertising creations of the 20th century. But did you know that General Mills in the United Kingdom also has “Jus-Rol Janet” among its brand characters?
Like the Doughboy – but svelte – Jus-Rol Janet is an appealing animated character who gets busy in the kitchen showing UK consumers that pastry is versatile, fun and easy to use.
She’s every bit as recognizable in the UK as the Doughboy is in the U.S. Jus-Rol Janet appears on the brand’s website, in commercials and on packaging.
And she is actually based on a real Janet – Janet Bishop, an independent home economist we work with regularly.
Bishop has been a fixture at food exhibitions in the UK for years. It was at these events where she was first referred to as “Jus-Rol Janet,” which became a bit of a joke with the sales and marketing teams.
“When marketing manager Tracy Roberts called me and explained about the little character they wished to name after me, I was slightly bemused,” says Bishop. “She said they had tried ‘Jenny’ and ‘Jane,’ but nothing seemed as good as ‘Janet,’ which was quite flattering.”
According to Bishop, the character’s hairstyle is similar to hers but the similarity ends there: “I tend to wear more than just an apron, for instance!” Her friends and family “find it all rather hilarious, although I suspect they are secretly quite impressed.”
“Many people think of pastry as being used only for pies and special occasions, but Jus-Rol Janet demonstrates that pastry is an everyday ingredient,” says Mark Brown, marketing manager. “When we watched Janet Bishop cook with pastry, we wanted to have a go ourselves, and we wanted to share that excitement with consumers. Our intention is to help women in the UK develop the baking skills their mothers may not have given them.”
Jus-Rol was founded in the mid-1950s, when women began to embrace easier, more convenient food preparation but still wanted to cook the meals their families loved.
So, where did the Jus-Rol name originate? When asked what they did with the pastry cuttings, the women who worked in the company bakery would reply: “We just roll it out!”
The company’s frozen Yorkshire puddings became an overnight success and were even served on a royal yacht. A series of product innovations followed, including potato croquettes, sausage rolls and pizza dough.
General Mills purchased Jus-Rol with the Pillsbury acquisition in 2001. There are 23 products in the Jus-Rol line, including pizza dough, croissants, cookie dough, breads and many types of pastry.