via Mental Floss

We know that American pop culture comes in many forms. In this case, however, our leading ladies didn’t emerge from any TV show or movie.

California Raisins became superstars with a 30-second commercial – yes, it only took 30 seconds – in the mid-1980s. This story was driven by the California Raisin Advisory Board (CALRAB), who intended to make raisins cool to eat.

However, it was initially not very successful until Will Vinton – an Oscar winner – was approached to design clay animation figures for a commercial using Marvin Gaye’s ’86 hit “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”

 

The Unexpected Success

The first commercial was such a success that the president of the label, Priority Records, proposed to the much-loved raisins a real chance in the music world by creating their album.

The first commercial was such a success that the president of Priority Records proposed to the much-loved raisins a real opportunity in the world of music by creating their album. And that’s not all the music videos aired on both MTV and VH1.

But wait till you read this, even Ray Charles and Michael Jackson joined the raisins to sing their versions of “Grapevine” and have their plasticine characters. And it doesn’t end there, the success was so great that the company monetized through merchandise with the characters’ images on it, from lunch boxes and apparel to video games.