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Kids everywhere get excited to see their favorite cartoon character come to life. Even adults get a kick out of watching a team mascot in costume. Since 1991, Plato the Publixaurus has been the mascot for Publix. But how did a teal and green dinosaur land the role?

It all started with an idea to create a character that would appeal to children. Publix artist Warren Dossey, was asked to work on sketches for two characters — a farmer and a dinosaur. Today, Warren is an art director for Publix’s Creative Services Department, but at the time he was coordinating the label designs for Publix’s private label products. Farmers have an obvious tie to Publix, but in the end the dinosaur won. Known as the Publixaurus, he would represent education, nutrition and environmental awareness.

Warren said, “We thought he needed a real name rather than just Publixaurus. I named him Plato, and it seemed to work.”

After he had a name, Plato needed a story. That’s where Publix’s ad layout artist Stacy Smith,08_Post1_History_Plato_image1 took over. She said, “Once Warren did the illustration, it was easy to write about Plato. He has so much personality.”

Plato was introduced in a coloring book called “Fun with Food.” The premise to his story is that Plato was a good little dinosaur who learned all about nutrition and exercise. The other dinosaurs wouldn’t listen, and Plato became frustrated. So he left his swampy home and began a journey to talk to the folks at Publix. He knew they would listen to what he had to say. Tired from walking all day, he went to sleep that night and slept right up to the 20th century. Construction workers building a new Publix store found Plato and called Publix about their amazing discovery. Of course, the people at Publix were so impressed with Plato they asked him to be their spokesdinosaur.

 

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Since his debut at a store opening in Savannah, Georgia in 1991 (Publix’s first Georgia store), Plato has made hundreds of appearances at store openings and other Publix events. He is loved by adults and children alike. Plato is even a movie star! During the last 10 minutes of the 1998 movie, “There’s Something About Mary,” you’ll spot Plato sitting in the entryway of Mary’s apartment!

1579 Largo FL Family Night Plato with Kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever met Plato? We’d love you to share your photos with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

 

Jennifer B.

Written by

Jennifer B. has been with Publix since 1980, when she started working part time in high school. She has held positions of Assistant Director of public relations and Director of media relations, but her current role as the Company Historian is the highlight of her career. She loves sharing Publix trivia, telling stories about Mr. George and solving Publix’s history mysteries. In her life outside of Publix, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her husband and catering to the whims of their cat Jackson, who is master of all he surveys.

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