Vintage Toronto Ads: Puffins Have Landed for Froyo
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Vintage Toronto Ads: Puffins Have Landed for Froyo

One corporation's attempt to cash in on the popularity of frozen yogurt in the late 1980s.

Source: NOW, September 10–16. 1987.

Like a viral epidemic, frozen-yogurt chains and franchises-in-the-making are spreading across the city. Every few seconds, a new froyo parlour opens or papers an empty storefront with its logo. The craze has filled in spaces closed for years, like the former Demetra’s restaurant on Danforth Avenue, where place settings appeared untouched for at least a decade.

A quarter of a century ago, the first wave of frozen-yogurt purveyors spread across the city.

Perceived as a healthier alternative to ice cream due to its lower fat content and presence of bacterial cultures, frozen yogurt began popping up in malls. Chains like TCBY and Yogen Früz dotted the landscape, and among the companies attempting to cash in was Silcorp, owner of Mac’s convenience stores. Apart from today’s ad and patent information, we uncovered little information regarding their Puffins Yogurt Emporium concept. Perhaps it was folded into another chain Silcorp launched in 1987: Yogurty’s Yogurt Discovery.

According to a Calgary Herald article, Yogurty’s original target market was the “18-to-45-year-old yuppie with a female skew.” The piece noted that “the public, men in particular, still needs to be educated to the virtues of 30 flavours of frozen yogurt, garnished with one of 40 toppings.” It was hoped that the chain’s mascot, “a young, moustachioed explorer, with a bird on his shoulder, searching the world for new yogurt flavours,” would help break consumer resistance to the product.

Run for a time alongside Silcorp’s Baskin-Robbins franchise, Yogurty’s wound up in the hands of Yogen Früz in the early 1990s and lingered until it was revamped as a self-serve chain. The intrepid explorer was given his walking papers long ago, his educator role filled by tiny paper sample cups. As for Puffins, its Yonge and Eglinton location has seen a succession of eateries over the years, including current tenant Gourmet Burger Co.

Additional material from the June 28, 1989 edition of the Calgary Herald.