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Introduced in 1953, the cereal has undergone several name changes. It started out as Sugar Smacks. In the 1980s, it was renamed Honey Smacks. In the early 1990s, perhaps because the product mascot, Dig'em Frog, had customarily been portrayed as calling the cereal "Smacks", the word "Honey" was dropped from the name and the product was then simply called Smacks. That name is still used in Germany, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France, where a box was featured in the film Alphaville. However, in the US the name reverted to Honey Smacks in 2004. In the UK, a similar product called Sugar Puffs debuted; it was formerly produced by the Quaker Oats Company and now by Big Bear trading as Honey Monster Foods.
In Australia, the cereal had been known as Honey Smacks since the 1970s. However, Kelloggs Australia no longer markets the brand. GoldenVale currently markets this cereal under the name Honey Wheats with a bear and a honey bee as mascot. In 2007, a minor consumer petition was launched calling for the re-instatement of the product. Honey Smacks are no longer sold in Italy or Mexico either.
In a 2008 comparison of the nutritional value of 27 cereals, U.S. magazine Consumer Reports found that both Honey Smacks and Post Cereals' Golden Crisp were the two brands with the highest sugar content, more than 50 percent (by weight), commenting "There is at least as much sugar in a serving of Kellogg's Honey Smacks [...] as there is in a glazed doughnut from Dunkin' Donuts". (The cereals are both sweetened puffed wheat.) Consumer Reports recommended parents choose cereal brands with better nutrition ratings for their children.
Ever since the cereal was introduced in 1953, there have been various different mascots.
Cliffy the Clown
Smaxey the Seal
In 1957, a sailor-suit-wearing seal named Smaxey became the mascot.
Quick Draw McGraw
The Smackin' Bandit
The Smackin' Brothers
The Smackin' Bandit was replaced in 1966 by the Smackin' Brothers, two boys dressed in boxing shorts and boxing gloves. These ads usually featured the brothers wanting Sugar Smacks but wind up smacking each other instead. Also during 1966, promotional box designs were briefly introduced featuring characters from Star Trek. Later commercials were similar to most Cheerios commercials as they demonstrated how the cereal was "vitamin-powered". Paul Frees narrated these ads.
In the early 1970s, an Indian Chief appeared briefly, replaced by Dig'em Frog in 1972. He continued as spokesfrog when the cereal was rechristened Honey Smacks in the early 1980s. In these ads, Dig'em would appear in front of a group of kids, and they would have some cereal together.
This character was a loveable heart shaped dog, which was featured in 1982 giving hugs to children.
Wally the Bear
Dig 'em was replaced by an animal more associated with honey, Wally the Bear, in 1986 (1984 in France). These ads would feature Wally (not to be confused with the Wally Bear from Wally Bear and the NO! Gang) pestering a kid eating a bowl of Honey Smacks and doing anything to get some, and the kid would always refuse or just ignore Wally completely. These commercials didn't do too well since they seemed too much like the Trix commercials, plus Wally was not a very attractive character, and Dig'em Frog was brought back the following year by popular demand.
Dig'em Frog (redux)
During the 1990s, advertising campaigns for the cereal featured Dig'em attempting to have a bowl of Smacks while trying to outsmart his nemesis, Kitty. By 1997, these commercials were discontinued. Dig'em's voice was provided by Len Dresslar and for present the character is voiced in commercials by Frank Welker. While ads for Honey Smacks don't air in the US as of lately, more recent ads in other countries depict Dig'em as a character who's crazily addicted to Smacks.
In the United Kingdom, the cereal was promoted with the character Barney Bee and rivaled Quaker's Sugar Puffs brand. However, due to Sugar Puffs' long established popularity, "Puffa Wheats", as they are now called, are only available in Poundland or other Pound stores in the United Kingdom.