Giggles Cookies (History, Marketing & Commercials)

Giggles cookies were made by Nabisco in the 1980s. They were sandwich cookies made with chocolate or vanilla outsides and two types of cream in the middle. They were called Giggles because the outside cookies had holes in the shapes of smiley faces. 

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Giggles were a slightly different take on a British biscuit (aka cookie) called Happy Faces. The American Giggles cookie contained two kinds of cream filling. Happy Faces were shortbread sandwich cookies filled with raspberry jam and cream. Happy Faces came in five different face designs with holes where the eyes and mouth would be and a stamp for the nose. Giggles cookies had a simpler design with just one face option and holes for the eyes and smile. 

Giggles Cookies

Happy Faces

Happy Faces biscuits were made by United Biscuits and were popular in the 1960s and 1970s. Around 2015, they were no longer sold as a product on their own and were instead found in packs with other cookie varieties, but they disappeared completely around 2020.

Giggles Cookies Logo

Jammie Dodgers

While Giggles cookies were a version of Happy Faces biscuits, there’s one more layer to this story. Enter Jammie Dodgers biscuits. Jammie Dodgers are similar to Happy Faces (and therefore similar to Giggles). They are shortbread cookies with jam inside, but no cream, and no smiley face. They had a heart in the middle. Still, they are considered a cookie of inspiration for Happy Faces and Giggles.  

Jammie Dodgers have been a biscuit staple in the United Kingdom for more than 60 years and remain a favorite. In fact, in 2009 they were the most popular cookie, not just with children but also with adults. While Giggles only came with chocolate or vanilla cookies and chocolate and white cream in the middle, Jammie Dodgers come in lots of flavors. These include lemon, orange, chocolate, berry and apple.

Rodger the Dodger

It’s pretty clear how Giggles and Happy Faces got their names. The outside of the cookies are smiling/laughing faces. Jammie Dodgers, on the other hand, are not named for what they look like. They are named for the Roger the Dodger character in the comic strip The Beano. Roger the Dodger came to popularity in 1953 and is one of the longest-running comic-strip characters. He is known for finding ways to circumvent his parents’ rules, and eventually gets caught, causing a bit of chaos along the way.

Roger the Dodger
Roger the Dodger

You can see the Roger the Dodger influence on the Happy Faces cookie designs. The five faces on the Happy Faces cookies have a bit of a mischievous expression, which connects to the Roger the Dodger character. By the time Nabisco started making its version, the face became decidedly less mischievous, with a simpler design with a strictly joyful expression.

United Biscuits

United Biscuits is the parent company for Happy Faces and Jammie Dodgers, and eventually spawned Giggles cookies. United Biscuits was founded in 1948 when two Scottish families merged their businesses. Eventually, United Biscuits acquired several more companies, making it one of the biggest corporations in the UK. Over time, United Biscuits was itself acquired, and in a shuffle of financial deals, ended up associated with Nabisco, which is the maker of Giggles cookies.

United Biscuits brands include Carr’s, Tasties, Wing Dings and Flipper Dipper. The Jacob’s brand, also part of United Biscuits, includes the following brands: Biscuits for Cheese, Mini Cheddars, Cheddars, Cream Crackers and Oddities. 

Who makes Giggles Cookies?

Where do Happy Faces come in? They are made by McVitie’s, a British snack food company owned by United Biscuits. McVitie’s is the top-selling snack company in the UK. It makes three of the top brands of biscuits and a best-selling cake called Jaffa Cakes. As of just a few years ago, McVitie’s outsold other popular snack companies by more than five times. 

Nabisco

Giggles cookies, the American version of Happy Faces or Jammie Dodgers, were made by Nabisco, also a snack powerhouse. Nabisco is an abbreviation of National Biscuit Company, though Americans refer to British biscuits as cookies. A biscuit in America is more akin to a fluffy bread roll. 

Nabisco’s has the largest manufacturing plant in the world. The plant is 1.8 million square feet and makes 320 million pounds of snacks every year. The plant, which employs about 1,200 workers, is in Chicago. While Giggles are no longer part of the manufacturing lineup, huge brands that are close cousins include Oreos, Belvita and Fig Newtons.

Nabisco has a history dating back to 1792, more than a century before Giggles came to the market in the 1960s. Between 1792 and 1971, the company had many different names, founders, leaders and acquisitions. Nabisco became the corporate name in 1971, though it was used for a cracker brand in 1901.

All-in-all, Nabisco is the maker of about 62 types of snack foods current and discontinued, including Giggles cookies.

Pictures of Giggles Cookies

Giggles Cookies Commercial

Giggles cookies commercials capitalized on their name. Typically, they featured a couple of children. In one commercial, an older boy is explaining what he likes about Giggles cookies – that they have two types of cream inside – and explaining that his little brother, who giggles uncontrollably, likes their funny faces. The older boy manages to take a few bites of his cookie and gushes over how great they taste, while the little guy is laughing so hard he puts his head down and slaps the table as he laughs at those funny faces.

Along the same lines, another shows two kids in the back seat of the car. A little girl is holding a cookie and is giggling and giggling while a box of Giggles cookies sits on the arm rest between her and her brother. “There she goes,” says the exasperated brother. He explains that she likes the funny faces, and he likes the two types of cream inside each cookie. The boy can’t get over his sister’s giggles, rolling his eyes at her behavior. But then, for just a second, he, too, lets out a giggle. He swears it wasn’t him, but his sister has caught him in the act of giggling over Giggles.

Another commercial, this one from 1987, stars what appears to be a super cool pre-teen boy talking about how he and all of his friends love the new fudge and peanut butter Giggles cookies, pointing to a poster reading “Today is Giggles Cookie Day.” When he struggles to find a way to describe the faces on the cookies, his nerdy counterpart (glasses, suspenders, pocket protector) helps by providing the missing word “amusing.” Cool Boy goes on to mention that the fudge and peanut centers taste … again, he is lost for the world he needs. Nerd Friend fills in the blank with “excellent.” 

As they talk, the boys walk toward the cafeteria at their school, and our Cool Boy says the commercials that show kids laughing uncontrollably are silly. “That just doesn’t happen,” he says as he opens the door. But lo and behold, when he opens the cafeteria door, he finds a room full of his classmates giggling uncontrollably. “It happens,” says his much wiser friend.

Happy Faces commercial

In a different approach, some of the McVitie’s Happy Faces biscuit commercials focused on the positive effects of eating the cookies rather than the hilarity that Giggles featured. Animated figures with cookie faces tumble onto the screen touting the Power, Intelligence, Health and Great Taste contained in the biscuits. The tagline: “Give Health a Smile.”

Jammie Dodgers commercials

Jammie Dodgers commercials have taken a very different approach. In 2011, a campaign featuring funky monkeys debuted. One commercial stars a cookie-headed monkey musician playing the piano and guitar and singing a heartfelt, over-the-top rock love ballad called “A Certain Gooey Thing” dedicated to the gooey center of a Jammie Dodger biscuit. The lyrics include these lines: “Well there’s a certain gooey thing that makes you glad to be alive … And there’s a certain gooey thing that helps us all to survive … Well it’s Jammie, yeah its Jammie.”

It’s hard to imagine what the youngsters in the Giggles commercials would do if they saw the Jammie Dodger monkey’s performance. The giggles would likely never cease.

An older, and less primate-focused commercial for Jammie Dodgers aligns more with the Roger the Dodger aspect of the biscuit’s history. This commercial shows a burglar making his escape, presumably trying to dodge the police. Unfortunately for him, rather than jumping into the backseat of his getaway car, he hops into the back of a police car. The police officers happen to be enjoying Jammie Dodger Dipz. The tagline is “How Jammy Can You Get?”

Comeback?

While Giggles cookies have been gone from the American market for decades, fans of the funny faces are lobbying for Nabisco to bring them back. One argument that might be persuasive: With the popularity of emojis, the Giggles cookies’ round, smiling faces would likely be a hit today. Message boards and social media platforms are seeing groups of people touting the flavor and face possibilities for a generation of children who have grown up in a smiley-face world. And some argue that at this time in history, we could all use more to Giggle about. 

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