Pringles accidentally named its mascot after a harmless Wikipedia hoax

The Ballad of Julius Pringles.

PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images

In 2006, Justin Shillock and Michael (Mikey) Wiseman were sitting in their freshman college dorm room, watching football and eating Sour Cream & Onion Pringles. At one point, Justin jokingly asked what Mikey thought was the mustachioed Pringles guy’s full name. His friend since the third grade paused momentarily while watching the Carolina Panthers’ then-defensive lineman, Julius Peppers, on TV.

“Julius Pringles,” he answered assuredly.

This was Wikipedia’s Wild West Era, mind you — back when you could get way with adding a lot more brazen, obviously incorrect information. Justin, an active user with enough positively received edits to not appear suspect, logged in and headed to the official Pringles entry. A few keystrokes and one forged “source” article on the Wikipedia parody site, Uncyclopedia, later, Julius Pringles was officially the potato chip mascot’s full name.

Well, not officially, of course, but no one seemed to notice. By then, it was too late.

(Left) Justin and Mikey in their freshman college dorm, approx. 1 month before Julius Pringles (Right) Justin and Mikey, together in December 2021Justin Shillock / Michael Wiseman

Lost in transaction — In 2012, Kellogg’s bought up Pringles from Procter & Gamble. “I always assumed that after the sale of the brand... some intern didn't know ‘Mr. P’’s first name and looked it up, assuming that P&G came up with this, and used it, thus setting all of this in motion,” Shillock theorizes over Twitter Direct Message. As ReviewGeek also confirms, “After a few years of floating around the internet, the fake name was finally acknowledged by the Pringles company in 2013.”

Although Julius Pringles is the fake-turned-real moniker that wound up as the answer to a Jeopardy! question, Wiseman recalls a few other Wikipedia “facts” of theirs that never stuck. “Other things we tried to launch: Mikey Wiseman co-wrote “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” Mikey Wiseman was on the TV series Roots, [and] Mikey Wiseman helped create Robitussin.”

Shillock and Wiseman are still close friends — the former working as a software engineer while the latter as a training development manager and freelance writer — but they still haven’t given up on future branding possibilities. “I've always been really addicted to Nacho Cheese Doritos, so I'd like for them just to have a mascot,” says Wiseman. “And if I could help, that'd be amazing! Nacho Nelly the Dorito?”