The Pop-Tart Bowl’s mascot named Strawberry captured hearts across the internet at the tail end of 2023.
At the Pop-Tarts Bowl game in Orlando’s Camping World Stadium on 28 December, Strawberry charmed viewers as the Kansas State Wildcats football team beat the North Carolina State Wolfpack 28-19.
Because of the Wildcats’ victory, the team won the right to eat some delicious strawberry Pop-Tarts.
Towards the end of the game, Strawberry returned to the top of a giant toaster – where a ginormous edible pastry pop-tart popped out with a winking face for the winners to enjoy – holding a sign that said “Dreams really do come true”.
“We will always love you, Strawberry,” the game announcer said as the edible version of Strawberry was lowered into the toaster.
“Can’t wait to eat you.”
After it was toasted and confetti rained down, Strawberry’s edible counterpart was quickly devoured by the Pop-Tarts Bowl champions and their family members. By the time the victors were all done, all that remained of the giant Pop-Tart was a lone eyeball.
Sports fans found Strawberry’s excitement at being sacrificed to the winning team hilarious, with one commenting on X: “Not the hero we deserved but the hero we needed.”
Some jokingly wrote that Strawberry’s sacrifice made them “proud to be an american”.
Some of Strawberry’s other antics went viral including clips of the pop-tart running circles round referees, nearly being licked by a football player, and feeding crowdgoers Pop-Tarts.
All the while, Strawberry charmed everyone with its smile and bubbly, infectious energy – even enchanting those who aren’t fans of college football or of pop-tarts.
In one post, which has since garnered over 42,000 likes, Strawberry is seen shoving a blueberry Pop-Tart into sportswriter Rodger Sherman’s mouth. Although he wasn’t sure if Strawberry was intentionally grunting, he noted that it was certainly audible.
“The mascot was very, very excited to create slightly disturbing, uncomfortable, strange interactions with people,” Mr Sherman told the Washington Post.
He added on X: “I asked if it was offensive to eat a Pop-Tart in front of the @PopTartsBowl mascot and then its handler yelled out ‘ITS THEIR DREAM’ and then the mascot grabbed a Pop-Tart out of my hand and started force-feeding it to me while making soft grunting noises.”
“For sixty years, Pop-Tarts has been challenging convention and bringing Crazy Good to everything we do. It’s in our DNA, so why would we approach college football any differently?” Pop-Tarts senior director of brand marketing Heidi Ray said of Strawberry’s popularity in a statement.
“When we began to think about game-day rituals, the mascot was obviously a big moment that we wanted to reimagine and bring to life in a way only Pop-Tarts can, and in a way our fans have come to expect.”
Originally called the Blockbuster Bowl, the Pop-Tart Bowl is a college football bowl game that has taken place each year in Florida since 1990. In previous years, the game was hosted in Miami, but the event has now found a home at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium, according to the Pop-Tarts Bowl website.