By Heather Taylor
A couple of weeks ago, we got to know more about one of Keebler’s most famous icons: “chief spokeself” Ernie Keebler. While Ernie takes questions from curious visitors from the window above the front door of the Hollow Tree, few have glimpsed the inner workings of this magical bakery until today. Come join us on an exclusive “factree” tour filled with magic ovens, a subterranean fudge river, rainbow cannons, and a peek at how the elves do movie night!
Outside, the Hollow Tree is deciduous and never drops its leaves even in winter. Inside, it’s a hub of elfin activity and incredibly vast with dozens of rooms, levels, hallways, and anti-chambers. The elves get around quite easily too, with perfectly pint-sized staircases, bannisters, and balconies at every turn. When Ernie’s visitors stop by, they get to check out the baking that occurs in the main room behind him. All sorts of scrumptious delights are created here with the magic oven baking everything from cookies to crackers, tortilla chips and even popcorn over the decades. This room is ever changing, depending on what activity is being featured in it, and inventory is well stocked. Ingredients ((flour, fudge, nuts, chips), supplies (cooling racks, tables, chairs, whisks, pots, pans, spatulas, rolling pins, aprons), and equipment (carts, wagons, wheelbarrows) are always in abundance.
Every now and then, visitors may spot the Fudge Shoppe out on the main floor. This is where the most indulgent cookies, like Fudge Stripes and Grasshopper, are produced. Our elves are dedicated to baking everything by hand, including drizzling cookies with fragrant chocolatey fudge and maintaining the mouthwatering toffee waterfalls.
Perhaps nothing stands out more than the flowing fudge river, the “Fudgeterranean Spring.” Designed by animation director Sam Cornell, the spring is tapped into in order to fill fudge fountains. Look closely, as you might be able to spot a submarine!
While we may never know what all that goes on in the Hollow Tree, it has been speculated that deep within its roots is a cellar. Inside that cellar are secrets and prized elfin recipes. In this commercial, two Secret Service-esque agents accompany Ernie as he rides an elevator deep inside of the tree. He’s on a mission to make Fudge Stripe cookies irresistible. All it takes is the help of a secret ingredient, which may or may not be revealed in this spot…
Heading back upstairs, some of the more common rooms we’ve seen in commercials have included the bedrooms of elves like Ernie, Zoot, J.J., and Elwood. The Hollow Tree also has a deck where the gang gathers to celebrate fresh baked Town House crackers and seems to only be accessible via trap door.
There’s even a bit of technology in the Hollow Tree, by way of a rotary telephone for Ernie to make calls to the team when a non-believer in elves has been spotted. Whenever that happens, the Rainbow Cannon is fired up to send an insta-rainbow in their direction to sway their minds.
However, shooting the rainbows outside of the Hollow Tree is rarely done. The Cannon’s primary use is to collect the beams of a rainbow and separate them with a prism crystal to focus individual colors on candy-coated gems.
Once in a great while, the elves will step away from baking to gather together for a movie night. Held on the main floor, such an occasion has only been seen in commercials promoting “The Ernie Awards.” Here, the elves put their feet up and enjoy snacks while viewing black and white cinematic classics on a projector. Funnily enough, these films also include cameo appearances from the Munch ‘Em snack crackers causing Ernie to swoon with delight at the magic of the silver screen meeting uncommonly good treats!
So… What’s the Hollow Tree’s address? Somehow, even though the location has never been divulged, people always manage to find it. According to the campaign’s creators at Leo Burnett, the tree can be found in a sylvan glen, in the Bosky Dell. While we don't have a map or a GPS pin that you can drop to find that glen, if you believe in elves and go where there’s a sumptuous scent of chocolate in the air you’re sure to end up in the right place.