Wednesday, June 20, 2007

war of the cereal mascots

i'm a few days late on this story, but considering the themes of some of my recordings, i'd be remiss if i didn't mention it. kellogg is going to stop using licensed characters to advertise sugary cereals.

The Kellogg Company said yesterday that it would phase out advertising its products to children under age 12 unless the foods meet specific nutrition guidelines for calories, sugar, fat and sodium.

Kellogg also announced that it would stop using licensed characters or branded toys to promote foods unless the products meet the nutrition guidelines.

The voluntary changes, which will be put in place over the next year and a half, will apply to about half of the products that Kellogg currently markets to children worldwide, including Froot Loops and Apple Jacks cereals and Pop-Tarts.

Frosted Flakes, for example and Rice Krispies with Real Strawberries will still make the nutritional cut, though regular Rice Krispies will not (too much salt).

The president and chief executive of Kellogg, David Mackay, said that the products that did not meet the guidelines would either be reformulated so that they did, or no longer be advertised to children.

while part of me mourns that i'll no longer get to see characters like toucan sam or dig'em on my tv, this is a great step. these characters are deliberately designed to appeal to young children, inspiring millions of kids to eat unhealthy crap.

but as far as cereal mascots go, the kelloggs mascots are pretty innocuous. tony the tiger, toucan sam, dig'em, and the holy trinity of snap, crackle, and pop—these characters might be nothing more than marketing tools, but at least their personalities are benign. as far as we know, tony the tiger and his pals are all cool dudes, regular chaps who just want to hook up their friends with some tasty cereal. the truly troublesome mascots belong to other brands.

consider the big G cereals. there's trix rabbit, who undergoes the constant job-like suffering of never being able to eat his favorite food. just who are all these kids who are so routinely cruel to trix rabbit, and who do they think they are? moreover, where do they get off? let the rabbit have a damn bowl of cereal, already.

still more troubling is lucky, the lucky charms mascot, who does everything in his power to deprive children of the sugary cereal they crave. and worst of all is post's legendary sugar bear, who not only refuses to share his cereal, but beats the living crap out of anyone who dares to ask. share your cereal, asshole!

these characters not only shill for unhealthy products, but they simultaneously promote unhealthy, anti-sharing messages. in comparison, toucan sam is a saint.

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