Ad Nausea: General Mills Breakfast Cereal Makeover
If you’ve been watching kid-vid networks like Nickelodeon lately, you’ve undoubtedly noticed some new commercials for General Mills cereals such as Cocoa Puffs, Trix, Lucky Charms, Reese’s Puffs and Cookie Crisp. Apparently after nearly a century of these mascots acting out their own individual shticks in their own respective commercials, lately General Mills has opted to place their various mascot characters together (except for Lucky the Leprechaun, who still appears in his own spots) in a new series of ads promising to “make it Saturday morning everyday”. Cartoon Network should be receiving a royalty for these spots, since they owe more than a little inspiration from their shows’ respective titles and visual aesthetics. Peep out this spot, which call to mind CN’s Uncle Grandpa and The Amazing World of Gumball, right down to the use of the 04b30 font and the voice of Kevin Michael Richardson as a talking orange.
-OK, I just figured out that the big blob is supposed to be a Reese’s Puff; at first I thought he was distant cousin to Gloop and Gleep from The Herculoids.
There’s also these new Lucky Charms spots, which are more than a tad reminiscent of CN’s Adventure Time.
-Now of course, whenever a company or studio does something new with an existing set of characters or a franchise, especially when said characters are ones people 21 and older grew up with, there comes the usual rallying cries of “CHILDHOOD RUINED!!” and “They’ve destroyed my memories!!”. Now as an adult who grew up watching the General Mills commercials, I suppose I’m now supposed to be all butt-raged and insane with anger at this new campaign. Am I? Let me see….
Yeah, this isn’t a big deal for me. Yeah, the company is bandwagon jumping onto the Adventure Time/Gumball/Uncle Grandpa visual aesthetic like so many of CN’s shows are employing right now, but that’s apparently what’s selling with kids these days, and lest we forget, the goal of every commercial product is to SELL as much as possible. Few things are simultaneously sadder and more hilarious to me then reading comments from people crying about how some new cartoon or movie or TV show or something or other has raped their innocence or whatever. That ain’t the case, for 2 reasons: First, your childhood memories haven’t been ruined by these new spots, because that’s not how memories work. You can still remember the old spots and they’re archived in many places, these newer ads haven’t wiped the older commercials from existence. Second, and this is the big one, these spots are aimed at KIDS, not at you. This is no different than Cartoon Network hiring different voice actresses to play the Powerpuff Girls in their upcoming reboot…
…Or Disney giving the Seven Dwarfs new designs for The 7D.
In the case of each, while I’m not 100% certain why these changes were made (though I have my theories), the fact that they were made isn’t sending my world crashing down around me. The children whom these spots are aimed at aren’t whining about the changes, since they barely remember the older spots; it’s doubtful they’ve even seen them all unless they regularly visit them on YouTube or Retro Junk. Nostalgia doesn’t work on a generation that doesn’t know of its’ existence. Keep in mind that General Mills has been doing many of these shticks for years now, in some cases, decades; they probably just figured it was time to try something different. they might have just felt like they’ve done all they can do with the “Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids!” or “Catch Lucky!” premises.
And I know that we’ve made a couple of these points before in other entries, to that I’ll say this: I’ll make you a deal…
We’ll stop commenting on this crap when you stop saying it.