Friday, October 14, 2005

My theory on cereal mascots

My theory on cereal mascots: they're friggin' NUTS! Psycho! Insane in the membrane, so to speak...

Although there are certain some wholesome, upstanding citizens out there (e.g. Tony the Tiger), the vast majority of birds, leprechauns, rodents, and other members of the animal kingdom who have become cereal spokesman have some serious psychopathology going on. In most cases, their various illnesses have mellowed to some degree since the late 70s/early80s (my childhood), which I suppose we can attribute to the dramatic strides we have made in the development of antidepressants (e.g. Prozac) over the past few years.

Examples, you say? Let's start with the obvious, that bird who hawks Cocoa Puffs. For whatever reason it seems like he's been banned from eating Cocoa he must spend his life in a desparate search for a Cocoa Puffs fix. When a spoonful of the Cocoa Puffs finally enters his mouth, the dude just FREAKS OUT. It appears as if he's having some serious hard-core hallucinations. He's clearly a drug addict, and it's clear why he's been banned in the first place.

The Trix Rabbit is somewhat similar to the Cocoa Puffs bird in that he is restricted to the cereal of his dreams, yet he still spends most of his life hoping to pilfer some Trix. The key difference is that "Trix is for kids"--why General Mills felt it appropriate to make the cereal expressly forbidden to adults is not entirely clear--and the Trix Rabbit (who is presumably an adult rabbit) is constantly foiled by a band of children seeking to protect their Trix. The rabbit is a tragic figure--he yearns to have his youth back (which was likely scarring and inadequate due to being denied Trix as a child) and yet his attempts to get it back inevitably end in failure (unike the Cocoa Puffs bird, the Trix Rabbit is never allowed to actually eat the cereal). At the end of each commericial, the rabbit slips into a deep depression.

And how about that Lucky the Leprechaun, who labors under the unhealthy delusion that people are always after his Lucky Charms? If that's not a clear indication of paranod schizophrenia, I don't know what is.

Even some of the cereals which don't have mascots will occasionally have evidence of psychopathology. Take for instance the "Gotta Have My Pops" campaign for Kellogg's Corn Pops several years ago...the show depicts young men and women who look like they're about to strangle their parents with piano wire when they are led to believe that the last Corn Pop has been eaten by somebody else...fortunately a bloody catastrophe is averted when somebody whips out an extra box and the spectre of a violent crime of passion is averted. And they say that marijuana is a "gateway drug"....according to their commercial, it's CORN POPS!

So there it is. My theory on cereal mascots.

During my "research" for this article (which took a good 5-10 minutes, I can assure you) I came across this excellent study of the history of cereal mascots focusing on the so-called "Monster Cereals" (e.g., Count Chocula). That's it for tody, folks!


Blogger John said...

Wow. Bloodless surgery & Jehovah's -> I'm Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, all in the same week. That, my friend, is a new blogging record.

A year ago while in the hospital having Lars, a young resident doc came in. Not a single glimmer of any kind of personality whatsoever. Before he left he made one last glance at his cue card and mumbled "Do you have any questions?"

"Yes. Is there any part of this job that resembles anything like the guys in 'Scrubs'? I'm trying to figure out if that show is as much of a hit for those folks 'In the biz'?"

"Uhhh...I'm not familiar with that show."

All doctors should have blogs.

5:51 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

I'm a little surprised, really. Your postulate of nutz-o cereal mascots is intriguing, but you seem to have left out the head of the class, the captain himself, Cap'n Crunch. What might you suggest are his issues, if any?

11:19 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

I myself have taken to eating high-fiber cereals, such as Fiber One and Crunchy Corn Bran.

They aren't bad, but they lack the appeal to the younger generation.

Some suggestions:
The Fiber-One Ferret: Roams from town to town threatening "colonoscopies for the lot of you" (he's british).

Cap'n Corn Bran: The cap'n is getting old. If he's still eating that stuff he's likely having to add prunes to maintain his intestinal fortitude.

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