Making the Grade: Classic Cereal Mascots

cereal-tonythetigerTony the Tiger
Salt of the earth, that Tony. And so active! Considering the cereal he hawks is basically just Corn Flakes with enough sugar on each individual flake to send a platoon of preschoolers into a chemically induced frenzy, he sure is a health-obsessed mascot, much more so than certain lazy-assed leprechauns we could mention. Just one gripe, though: let’s say you and I were kayaking down the Colorado River, and we make fun of this 10-year-old kid for not having the cajones to beat us in a race. Now, suppose he gets Tony as a partner and whips our sorry bully butts. Are you and I going to say, “Wow, that kid can race!” like they do in the commercials, or are we going to say something more like, “Yeah, well, we’d be King of the World, too, if we had an eight-foot talking tiger on our team!!” Nice try, Kellogg’s. Still, it is a snazzy bandanna. B+

cereal-luckyLucky the Leprechaun
Speaking of the little green guy, I never got the appeal of using leprechauns as spokespeople. They’re notoriously late for auditions, invariably flub their lines and, well, let’s just say a highly placed industry insider has lots to say about their backstage shenanigans. I personally think Lucky Charms would be a lot cooler if they got another leprechaun as their spokesguy, like the one from Leprechaun 4: Leprechauns in Space, or something. Instead of playfully hiding from the kids, he’d sneak up on them with a ball-peen hammer and cackle, “Aye, and you’ll be needin’those purple horseshoes right about now, boyo.” Anyway. I doubt the local leprechaun’s guild would allow their members to use their powers to make common cereal “magically delicious,” so shame on Lucky for selling out his Gaelic heritage for a wee bit o’ the Man’s filthy lucre. C-

cereal-trixrabbitThe Trix Rabbit
Someone explain to me, just why the hell is Trix just for kids? What kind of world are we raising our children in, when seemingly innocent cereal commercials teach them lessons like, “You got yours, so screw them crazy rabbits who got none”? I’ve personally gotten about eight, maybe nine bowls out of just one box, so there’s plenty to go around. What’s next, kids in the McDonald’s ads kicking the crap out of Grimace? It’s just plain wrong. If the rabbit could only get his fair share of our society’s wealth, then maybe he might just give up his life of thieving and conniving — not to mention his unhealthy cross-dressing fetish — to become an honest, productive member of society. Viva socialism. B+

cereal-capncrunchCap’n Crunch
In a business dominated by anthropomorphic animals and imaginary sprites, it’s gratifying to see an old codger like the Cap’n plugging away. Only two embarrassing incidents mar his otherwise reputable service record: his outer-space adventures against the Sogmaster’s platoons of alien Soggies ­– a sad chapter in his life best left forgotten — and that very brief time during the start of the Ninja Turtle era of our pop culture when he adopted “dude” as part of his vocabulary. If there’s any cosmic justice, the other ad executives are still teasing the mastermind behind that one at their company softball games… right after he fetches their water and dusts off the home plate with his toupée. BONUS RANDOM WIKIPEDIA QUOTE: “According to a 2013 Wall Street Journal article, the mascot, whose full name is Horatio Magellan Crunch, was born ‘on Crunch Island in the Sea of Milk – a magical place with talking trees, crazy creatures and a whole mountain (Mt. Crunchmore) made out of Cap’n Crunch cereal.’ The mascot wears a ‘Napoleon-style’ hat, leading to speculation that he may be French.” In fact, “Horatio Crunch: Français ou non?” was by far the most contentious panel discussion at San Francisco’s CrunchCon 2012. A-

cereal-toucansamToucan Sam
A perfect example of the startling differences between cartoons and real life. In cartoons, Sam finds youngish jungle animals, sticks a beak-like implement on their schnoz, implores them to “follow his nose,” and leads them to the land of Froot Loops, where they all have a big laugh and a complete breakfast. In real life, we’d be demanding the police warn us when his parole is up and he moves back into the neighbourhood. Kids would be told not to accept fake noses from strangers, and they’d be shown 30-year-old filmstrips in school about the dangers of sampling the great tastes of orange, lemon, cherry and lime. I realize these scripts aren’t Sam’s fault, but you’d think the bird would show a little self-respect before lowering himself to these instructional guides for wannabe child-nappers. C-

cereal-snap-crackle-pop
Snap, Crackle and Pop

Is it just me, or is there a serious gender disparity in cereal spokespeople? Tony the Tiger, Cap’n Crunch, Toucan Sam, this elfin trio — ever since Strawberry Shortcake’s cereal concoction got honey-smacked off the shelves, it’s been one big all-boys club. I never even imagined cereal to be a particularly macho thing to eat, but there it is. Just think how many young girls are damaged by the lack of positive role models in their breakfast companions. Not that I’m pinning this on Snap, Crackle and Pop; they’re just working stiffs like the rest of us. I’m sure if they had the option to add a gal to the gang, they’d be all over that idea, and they’d drive her by the Keebler elf tree just to rub it in. Bonus points, too, for making what are basically just rice burps sound like a fun and happenin’ breakfast cereal. That’s quality salespersonship. A

cereal-sugarbearSugar Bear
Aside from the fact his name sounds like a pimp from a 1970s blaxploitation flick, what’s not to love? B+

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One response to “Making the Grade: Classic Cereal Mascots

  1. For some reason, I was reminded of the Nostalgia Critic.

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