Thursday, February 18, 2010

Giveaway Winner and Today's Post: Childhood Cereal Commercial Characters

First things first--I am pleased to announce the winner of the first ever Children of the 90s Giveaway: Lauren Kelly from Walk With Me on this Journey Called Life!

*Winner was selected using a randomized shuffled spreadsheet and an online random number generator*
Congratulations, Lauren Kelly!! I will contact you later today for your mailing information (or you can shoot me an email at when you see this), and your 90s care package should be on the way sometime next week!

To everyone else, thank you all so much for entering, and don't worry--this isn't the end of giveaways at Children of the 90s. I heard a rumor someone (okay, me) has a blogaversary coming up, so keep checking back for more fun giveaway opportunities. I can't tell you how fun it was assembling these items, and I can't wait to do it again soon!

Please excuse the interruption. Now, for today's post:

Childhood Cereal Commercial Characters

Forget what anyone says. Cereal mascots are the hardest working guys in show biz. They're arguably among the most dedicated, single-minded characters in modern media. They never can just pick up a box of their favorite sugar cereal at the local supermarket like the rest of us. These guys are constantly battling the forces of cereal-related tyranny and oppression in an eternal struggle to get their hands on the much-coveted cereal. For those of us whose parents refused to buy us sugary breakfast cereal, we could relate to their plight.

The aim of these characters was to convince a demographic of hungry, sugar-crazed children that these cereals were so desirable that fictional characters would go to extreme lengths to get their hands on them. At the time, it seemed like a fairly viable quandary; what's one expected to do if denied their sugary fuel? Looking at them now, though, I wouldn't be surprised if one of these cartoons showed up on A&E's Intervention. They're not only incredibly desperate for their fix but also seem to be going through some sort of physical withdrawal symptoms. You'd almost expect for them to airlift Honeycomb Crazy Craving to the nearest treatment facility and run a glucose IV through his furry little arm. I'm not a professional, but even I can see that guy needs some seriuos help.

These cartoon characters were by no means the only cereal advertising stars. There were plenty of live-action commercials directed at older children, but few of them managed to equal the intensity and desperation encapsulated by these sugar-starved animated critters. Many of these characters have been around since before our time, though they often been through more reinventions than Cher. You'd better hurry up and get your reminiscing in before the remaining mascots go the way of Cookie Crook and Officer Crumb. Blink and they'll be replaced by cooler, hipper characters.

Fruity/Cocoa/Dino Pebbles: Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble

When the Flinstones debuted as Post Cereal's Pebbles-brand spokescartoons in the 70s, no one could have known they'd still be out hawking cereal decades later. Throughout the years, the story lines have been fairly one-dimensional: Fred Flintstone eats Fruity or cocoa Pebbles. Barney sees said Pebbles. Barney attempts elaborate and ill-thought-out scheme to obtain Pebbles. Fred screams, "BAAAAARNEEEY!" End scene. The only thing I'm not so clear on is what Dino Pebbles are made of. That name still sounds pretty suspicious.

Cocoa Puffs: Sonny the Cuckoo Bird

Sometimes time really does bring progress. In the original 50s and 60s ads, Sonny was chilling with his grandpa. He still went cuckoo, sure, but with his grandpa. Not exactly the stuff cool kids are made of.

Ad writers wised up in the 80s and 90s, making Sonny go cuckoo with kids and eventually pressure other kids into going cuckoo themselves. Yes, you heard right. Sonny worked his way up from user to dealer. At least he wasn't trying to pull his Gramps into it anymore. He did, however, get Joseph Gordon Levitt on the cuckoo train. See evidence above.

Frosted Flakes: Tony the Tiger

Tony the Tiger may have been born decades earlier, but he probably started his amateur frisbee career in the above 90s ad. The "They're Grrrreat!" slogan has been around for ages, but in the 80s and 90s they tried incorporating some hipper phrases. They promised to bring out the tiger in us or to put the tiger on our team, but perhaps none were as resigned and half-hearted as "The Taste Adults Have Grown to Love." You know, you used to hate it, but over the years the virulence of your hatred has lessened. Buy Frosted Flakes!

Trix: Trix Rabbit

Talk about prolonged disappointment. The Trix rabbit has been up to his, well, tricks for over 50 years. It's always the same old schtick: he'd try to trick the kids into sharing their cereal, but they'd continually admonish him with the ultimate brush-off: "Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!" Jokes on the Trix rabbit, though. In elementary school, a friend and I fed some Trix to her pet rabbit, Munchers. He totally went for it. He had no idea they were just for kids. Not a clue.

HoneyComb: Crazy Craving

This is probably one of the more frightening 90s cereal characters, if for nothing other than the sheer voracity of his need. The weird hopped-up rodent thing's name was Crazy Craving, and I believe he has since been retired. He premiered as Honeycomb's official mascot in the mid-90s, preceded by the HoneyComb Hideout gang. According to these 90s ads, you could actually become Crazy Craving if you went long enough without your fix. Scary indeed.

Cookie Crisp: Cookie Crook and Officer Crumb

This commercial lied to me. I wanted so badly to enjoy what was promised to me as the sweet taste of cookies for breakfast but when my parents finally caved and threw it in the grocery cart to quell my tantrum, it just wasn't what I'd expected. Cookie Crook and Officer Crumb had hyped it to a level they just couldn't achieve. It turns out the most inspired thing about the cereal was Chip the Dog's howling of "Cooooookie Crisp!"

Lucky Charms: Lucky Leprochaun

Children first met Lucky in the 60s, but he's steadily tempted our sugar impulses with his endless pushing of marshmallow-laden cereals. He promised them to be magically delicious, and for the most part they were. If only they could have made them magically nutritious, too.

Froot Loops: Toucan Sam

Toucan Sam was born in the 60s, though he did undergo some beak work a decade or so later. I think I saw it on E!'s Celebrity Plastic Surgery Nightmares but I can't be sure. Whatever the situation surrounding his nose, he followed it to some delicious fruity sugar cereal. How 90s is that Rapping Rhino ad, too?

Cinnamon Toast Cruch: Wendell, Bob, and Quello

Who exactly were Wendell, Bob, and Quello, you ask? According to General Mills, Bob and Quello don't technically exist. They name main baker Wendell, but it sounds like the other two were using the role to pad out their resumes with bit parts like "Baker #2: illustrates taste he can see." They make fun of adults in a Bubble Tape/Apple Jacks sort of way, mocking their inability to see what makes the cereal so compelling. For the record, it's the swirls of cinnamon sugar in every bite.

Honey Smacks: Dig 'Em

Sugar Smacks have been through a lot over the years. Well, a lot of names at least. In our day, they were Honey Smacks, but now they're just Smacks. That sounds pretty suspiciously close to Smack, even when you take into consideration the child-friendly Dig-Em frog mascot.. I guess as long as no kids are injecting the cereal intravenously, we're alright.

Rice Krispies: Snap, Crackle, and Pop

These guys have been around since the 1940s, but they underwent a serious 90s makeover for the Razzle Dazzle edition of the cereal. In case you're unfamiliar with cereal speak, "Razzle Dazzle" is code for "heaps of additional sugar". I couldn't find any video of those ads, though, so you'll just have to settle for watching a kid in a safari outfit get really pissed off at a dinosaur for kidnapping Snap, Crackle, and Pop.

I don't know about the rest of you, but this post has left me with a serious hankering from some good old-fashioned nutrition void sugar cereal. It may not have been substantive, it may not have been nutritious, heck, it may not even have been totally honest when it claimed to be part of a balanced breakfast. But it was endorsed by our animated spokescartoons, and darn it that was more than enough to convince us. So excuse me as I go cuckoo following my nose as I make a serious effort to elude the sanctimonious Officer Crumb: I'm off to get my fix.


Tara said...

Now I really want some Lucky Charms instead of the Raisin Bran that's in my pantry.

Melanie's Randomness said...

Ohh Congrats to the winner!! What a prize!!

I'm still obsessed with these cereals. I blame the 90's. hehe. I was so sad when i found out they replaced the "Cookie Crisp" dog with a wolf. The dog friggin rocked!!

The Honeycomb thing kinda used to freak me out a bit, but the cereal was amazing!! hehe!

Charlotte said...

I always felt bad for the poor Trix Rabbit, suffering discrimination like that. Learning that Munchers got to enjoy it does make me feel a little better, though.

stealthnerd said...

This post made me soooo hungry. Do they even make Smacks anymore? I don't think I've seen them in awhile and of course I am totally craving them now! you remember Cinna Mini Buns? Those were my all time favorite 90s breakfast cereal.

Anonymous said...

Cinna Mini Buns were good but they had nothing on French Toast Crunch and Rice Krispy Treat cereal!

Lil' Woman said...

Mmmm I love me some cereal but Frankenberry & Booberry are missing!

RAY J said...

I LOVED Fruit Loops so naturally Tucan Sam and Co. were my favorites.

I am disappointed these days though that they changed the Cookie Crisp advertising to focus on just Chip the dog - no more officer and crook on the box or in the ads... I was kind of sad when I first learned of that!

RAY J said...

Oh and I too always felt bad for the Trix Rabbit - all he wanted was some cereal - the kids in the commercials were so mean to him! I remember yelling at the TV that they should share, lol...

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