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Silly rabbit, diabetes is for kids!
June 14, 2007 12:55 PM   Subscribe

Poor Sean Clifton, age 6, doesn't know the difference between a cartoon and an ad. "They just, um, taste so fruity to me." "They taste fruity, the Fruit Loops? What about real fruit? How do you like real fruit?" "Mm... I don't really like it." Kellogg agrees to major changes in the marketing of foods that are considered of "poor nutritional quality". Executive Director of CSPI Michael Jacobson explains.
posted by phaedon (79 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 

Some background information on what may have prompted this settlement:

98% (53/54) of Kellogg’s advertisements on Saturday morning television show foods of poor nutritional quality.
84% (67/80) of Kellogg’s food products with on-package marketing directed to children are of poor nutritional quality.
100% (3/3) of Kellogg’s advertisements in children’s magazines show foods of poor nutritional quality.
100% (21/21) of Kellogg’s websites for children feature foods of poor nutritional quality.

A trip down memory lane:

Nintendo Cereal system is a super part of this nutritious breakfast.
You can do the Pac-Man cereal
"Orange Moose" Crispy Critters cereal
Silly Rabbit's been at it since the 60's
Everyone who enters gets superhero puffy stickers.
Quisp and Quake!
Meatballs dont just talk, they play the guitar.
I'll sweeten him up with some Super Sugar!

You know what? The list just doesn't end. Peruse at your leisure.
posted by phaedon at 12:55 PM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'll sweeten him up with some Super Sugar!

Also, isn't that the voice of the assassin guy from blood simple? on skis in the middle of winter, with no pants on a sweater that says "sugar bear"? get the fuck out of here.
posted by phaedon at 12:58 PM on June 14, 2007


Wow, this is pretty amazing. I'm going to spend a while on these links. Thanks, phaedon!

My initial reaction is skeptical -- a lot of this is based on serving size, so you can imagine them just cutting the theoretical serving size in half and slapping a "done" label on the deal.

But Commercial Alert, who are normally even more skeptical than I am, seem to be pretty stoked about it. Maybe the industry really can make some good changes voluntarily?
posted by gurple at 1:07 PM on June 14, 2007


Do they even show cartoons on network TV on Saturday mornings anymore? From what I can tell, Nick/Cartoon Network/etc. has destroyed Saturday morning network TV.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:07 PM on June 14, 2007


The cereals that would fall into the "too sugary" category include Apple Jacks, Cocoa Krispies, Corn Puffs, Froot Loops, Raisin Bran ...

that's just sad.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:09 PM on June 14, 2007


My mom tried so hard to limit the really sugary cereals to an occasional treat, and buy "sensible" brands like Rice Krispies and Chex instead. But then she didn't exactly keep an eye on the sugarbowl though, and remembering the half-inch sludge of sugar that usually coated the bottom of my bowl makes my skin crawl now.

And these cereals really do discourage kids from learning to appreciate the actual flavors of things. Most kids grow up appreciating "chocolatey" and "fruity" tastes more than actual chocolate or fruit (the former being too bitter, the latter often being to sour or subject to seasonal variance in flavor and texture).
posted by hermitosis at 1:14 PM on June 14, 2007


No more than 230 milligrams of sodium, except for Eggo frozen waffles.
Wait, what?
posted by boo_radley at 1:14 PM on June 14, 2007


Do they even show cartoons on network TV on Saturday mornings anymore?

Yes, but most of them mix in original series from their cable networks to keep the interest up. ABC runs Disney stuff and the CW runs Cartoon Network and Kids' WB stuff, and Fox actually brands its entire Saturday lineup to 4Kids, which is basically an import house for Japanese shows redubbed into kids' cartoons, except for this one non-Japanese show which is apparently about six girls in high school who magically turn into half-naked fairies. It comes on right before a 3D series about animated pinatas. So I don't really know how damaging sugar cereal is given Fox is teaching little boys how to masturbate and then get high at eight in the morning.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:15 PM on June 14, 2007 [8 favorites]


Good point, hermitosis. I know I had my palette wrecked by all kinds of packaged food when I was a kid. As an adult I've learned to like a lot of things, but real fruit is something I still struggle with.

Froot, on the other hand....
posted by gurple at 1:17 PM on June 14, 2007


sigh. i sure did love me some super sugar crisp back in the day. eventually my mom wised up and kix became the cereal that turned me away from a sugar-crazed mr. hyde and back to an even-keeled dr. jeckyll, but i'll always have the memories. and the cavities.
posted by the painkiller at 1:21 PM on June 14, 2007


Stoked as I am about this, I'm reminded of all those tobacco settlements a few years back - No one with a thimbleful of sense thinks marshmallows are good for them. Or cigarettes, or fried chicken, or anything with chocolate in it. I'm always glad to see scumfuck corporations taken to task, but I refuse to believe folks who got fat by stuffing their faces with Fruity Pebbles were blindsided.

My girlfriend is a vegetarian who loves Frosted Mini-Wheats. This sucked for her on account of the gelatin recently added to the frosting. But with the release of the organic variety, she can again eat her favorite cereal without compromising her morals. So that rules.

I think the most positive part of this very encouraging story is how those branded characters are coming off the boxes. I've pitied many a parent in the cereal aisle with a little one screaming to eat Spongebob. Poor kids could give a shit about the taste of the stuff - they're just too little to know what a deathgrip Viacom and Kellog have on their impressionable minds.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:23 PM on June 14, 2007


I agree with the kid. I like cherries, but honestly, they don't taste very "cherry" to me. Cheery maybe. But cherry hubba-bubba has real cherries beat hands-down.
posted by GuyZero at 1:31 PM on June 14, 2007


No more than 230 milligrams of sodium, except for Eggo frozen waffles.
Wait, what?


The video clip issues an additional caveat:

"[The press release] disqualifies Pop Tarts. Along with Cheez-its, some Keebler cookies and crackers, and dozens of other products made by Kellogg and the brands it owns."
posted by phaedon at 1:32 PM on June 14, 2007


EatTheWeak, you said two things that I'm not sure how to process together:

but I refuse to believe folks who got fat by stuffing their faces with Fruity Pebbles were blindsided.
... and then...
I've pitied many a parent in the cereal aisle with a little one screaming to eat Spongebob.

It's not really about adults who decide to eat Fruity Pebbles. It's about adults who are exposed to lots of pressure from their kids to buy them Fruity Pebbles, because of the advertising and the tie-ins. What parent in their right mind would buy their kid sugar-based cereal if they weren't clamoring for it, and why would they clamor for it without all the ads?
posted by gurple at 1:35 PM on June 14, 2007


Abso-moose-ly sugar-licious!

Man, back in the '60s we could get hopped up on evil sugar-laden cereals without any of this pesky lawsuit interference...
posted by languagehat at 1:37 PM on June 14, 2007


"I agree with the kid. I like cherries, but honestly, they don't taste very "cherry" to me."

Cherries are the only fruit whose taste has been determined by fake corn syrupy gunk-merchants.

This is a cherry? Have these farmers tasted a Pop-Tart in their awful lives?

Sad, sad bastards...
posted by jdotglenn at 1:37 PM on June 14, 2007


MetaFilter: teaching little boys how to masturbate and then get high at eight in the morning

I ate a lot of crap when I was a kid. I think a lot of kids my age did, if only because our parents did. They grew up at the beginning of this marketing-to-kids phenomenon, saw themselves and, therefore, their kids as entitled to this sugary, nutritionless junk, and rolled with it.

In any case, I think the problem here is more parents who can't enforce "No" than branding with cartoon characters. I've got a 5-year-old goddaughter with whom I just spent a week. She watches more Spongebob and Fairly Oddparents than you could possibly imagine (or could possibly be good, but that's neither here nor there). Does she cry for that crap when she's in the store? No. Might she ask? Sure. Mommy says No, and that's that. End of discussion. It was the same way when I was a kid.

Will I let my kids eat sugar cereals? Of course; that's part of being a kid. Every so often you get to eat a box of A-Team cereal or Capn Crunch. I wouldn't wish a bowl of Cheerios on my worst enemy. That stuff smells like messy babies at church and tastes about the same.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:49 PM on June 14, 2007


gurple - my apologies for the garbling. lemme try to unravel my post a bit. I think I had the tobacco lawsuits and the whole trans-fat debaclemore in mind when I wrote the first part. Adults claiming ignorance about cheeseburgers - that kind of thing.

You're right - the advertising is really the big issue here. I can remember putting my parents through a bit of this when I was little - Corn Pops or whatever always seemed to have the raddest cartoons printed on the box, or had toys packed inside that advertising made me just rabid for. Much to my mother's credit, she stopped taking us kids to the grocery store. And when she came home with Cheerios, she didn't abide any bitching.

That as over twenty years ago. Maybe it's just a matter of perspective, but the tie-ins are out of control today. Printing Shrek on the box is especially fun, as it provides children a preview of their body type should they stick with their current diet. I've seen cereals that came with advertainment computer games or the promise of NSYNC music downloads. Shit, even my beloved Superman and Spider-Man become agents of the enemy when a new movie premieres.

I don't envy parents. Looking from the outside in, it seems a simple thing to deny a child his destructive appetites. My parents didn't cave in back in the day, but they didn't have to contend with the modern deluge either. So yeah, a sensible parent surely wouldn't feed their child industrial poison, but after a few weeks of weapons-grade whining, I can see how that logic might start slipping.

So as far as the kids-and-advertising thing goes, this is a positive development.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:53 PM on June 14, 2007


In any case, I think the problem here is more parents who can't enforce "No" than branding with cartoon characters.

At the level of the individual family, that's absolutely correct. EatTheWeak had a mom who did the right thing despite the advertising; you didn't; mine was somewhere in between.

But what an individual family should do is irrelevant to the question of what society should do about the situation. The reality is that millions of parents do buy these things because of the advertising, and it's causing large-scale problems.

At this point in America's obesity crisis, apparently something had to give. If Kellogg's hadn't gone for this voluntary measure, it would have gone to the courts to decide what to do about the industry. I can't say which outcome would have been better for us as a society, but I'm glad something happened.
posted by gurple at 2:01 PM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Cherries are the only fruit whose taste has been determined by fake corn syrupy gunk-merchants.

Have you ever had a grape-flavored grape?
posted by darksasami at 2:03 PM on June 14, 2007


If Kellogg's hadn't gone for this voluntary measure, it would have gone to the courts to decide what to do about the industry

This is less of a problem than obesity?
posted by uncleozzy at 2:13 PM on June 14, 2007


This is less of a problem than obesity?

Yes. If you believe that what Kellogg's just did is a good thing, then you have to admit that possible litigation on the subject is a good thing, too. Because there's no way Kellogg's would have done this without the threat of a lawsuit.

If, on the other hand, you believe that corporations should be allowed to advertise to children in whatever manner they want and society should be forced to pay the bill, then, well, you and I have different opinions on that point.
posted by gurple at 2:19 PM on June 14, 2007


In any case, I think the problem here is more parents who can't enforce "No" than branding with cartoon characters.

I appreciate the logic behind this statement, I really do Parents have to discipline their kids. But there's something disgusting going on here that you don't appreciate - these companies know how to market towards children, and they use this power to sell them shit. And I don't mean only the cereal companies, I also mean the media companies that license their properties for shit products.

They could just as easily put Spongebob on a box of whole grain whatever, or a package of oatmeal. Or a dozen eggs. Every see a cartoon branded apple or banana? They simply choose not to do this ever, and at some point you realize it's because once the child is exposed to the ultrasweet synthetic food (and that's what it is, synthetic) the formerly sweet fruit becomes almost as bland as a vegetable, speaking of which, when was the last time you saw spinach with a merchandising tie-in?

Furthermore, for the companies that sell these things to state that parents should be responsible for what their kids eat (or watch, etc) is equally nauseating. "You can always say no" is their operative mantra.

Yes, I know that I can say "No" when my kid asks for it. But I shouldn't have to constantly battle corporations trying to access my wallet through my kids. At some point the fucking government that I pay half of my money to should work in my interests and not against them.

You can't blame parents. Parents work every day to earn a median $38,000 a year in the US. Corporations spend millions per year trying to influence your child's desires to buy precisely the product that you would not let your kid eat if you spent millions to research the healthiest possible breakfast.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:22 PM on June 14, 2007 [5 favorites]


Again, this is just another issue that comes back to one thing: Are you a good parent or a bad one?

Of course, NO ONE on the planet is ever a bad parent.

It is not like there isn't a choice in breakfast cereal. There are at least 1,000 different kinds of cereal out there.

Go to Whole Foods and buy "Panda Puffs" or whatever the hell they are.

General Mills were fools to make all of their products whole grain. Trix and Cinnimon Toast Cruch taste like crap now.

What General Mills doesn't understand is this: most people who buy Trix, Lucky Charms are not LOOKING for whole grain. If we want to whole grain, we'll buy something different.


Biggest marketing disaster since New Coke, that is.
posted by wfc123 at 2:27 PM on June 14, 2007


Every see a cartoon branded apple or banana? They simply choose not to do this ever,...

Actually...

Also.
posted by gurple at 2:29 PM on June 14, 2007


I have a suspicion childhood obesity is more about a relative lack of exercise these days. Sue Sony and Nintendo!

loves Frosted Mini-Wheats
Oh, what the hell -- everybody sing along!
posted by evilcolonel at 2:29 PM on June 14, 2007


I'm actually fairly freaked out by branded fruit, which goes to show, I guess, that advertisers can never win, with me. Lucky for them they have billions of other targets....
posted by gurple at 2:30 PM on June 14, 2007


Every see a cartoon branded apple or banana?

Actually, yes. (I couldn't find the picture I was looking for, but I have seen bananas with Disney stickers on them.) In any case, I do understand your point; that was just a little snark.

I'll be honest: I just don't "get" advertising, and I don't think I ever did. I just don't think I'm wired right to understand this debate.
posted by uncleozzy at 2:33 PM on June 14, 2007


As a parent, I DON'T constantly battle corporations trying to access my wallet through my kids.

What I DO is teach my kids about advertising, and propaganda, and to consider the source when you get information, and to recognize when you are being played. To me, that's something they need to learn young, so they don't turn into the spoiled teens in one of the other threads.

Frankly, sugary cereal is not really high on my list of threats to my kids, though. Didn't we all grow up on the real-life equivalents of Calvin and Hobbes' "Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs" and Saturday morning cartoons? That's a treasured part of my childhood.
posted by misha at 2:37 PM on June 14, 2007


speaking of which, when was the last time you saw spinach with a merchandising tie-in?

Popeye Spinach
posted by hermitosis at 2:39 PM on June 14, 2007


That's a treasured part of my childhood.

If you hadn't had it, then something else would have been a treasured part of your childhood.

See "Little House In the Big Woods" and how the Ingalls girls looked forward to butchering time every year because they got to spend an afternoon kicking around an inflated pig-bladder.
posted by hermitosis at 2:42 PM on June 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


My kids don't ask for spongebob cerial because they don't watch TV. We see a show or movie once a week or so and play computer games about as often. I'm very picky about what they watch. Sure, they like M&Ms as much as anyone, but they also love fresh fruit, and they love to help peel cuke's for the salad, or chop veggies for a stir-fry. They love working in the garden with their other mom and they're probably more psyched to pick fresh berries than they would be to get ice cream for dessert.

But I don't want to fall into the camp of "these shitty parents need to do xyz" because i think this is a social problem not an individual problem. It's not just that kids (and adults) are innundated with advertising every second of our lives (although that is a major problem). It's also that we live in a society that discourages parenting.

At birth babies are taken from their parents and checked by a team of experts. Then were' told to put our babies in their own rooms, carry them everywhere in removable car seats (instead of on our bodies) and then send them off to daycare as soon as possible for 'socialization'. Most parents lack the economic option of staying home with their kids anyway, and instead have to work all day, and when they get home, who has the energy to spend time with the children or cook a healthy meal when the TV and McDonalds is so much easier?

I feel lucky that because I've always worked part-time, I get to spend significant time doing projects, reading, and playing outside with my kids every day. I'm broke, but it's well-worth it.
posted by serazin at 2:42 PM on June 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


If, on the other hand, you believe that corporations should be allowed to advertise to children in whatever manner they want and society should be forced to pay the bill, then, well, you and I have different opinions on that point.

Should a sole-proprietorship be able to advertise in whatever manner it wants? What about an individual who buys issue-oriented political advocacy ads?
posted by Kwantsar at 2:42 PM on June 14, 2007


Man, when I was little I was so angry at my mom for not buying sugar cereal and candy and cookies like the other kids got. The only time I got to watch non-PBS television was Saturday Morning Cartoons and all the toys and cereals and candies looked so freaking awesome, and my friends all got the best stuff in their lunches and I never got anything even vaguely exciting. I remember once in a food fight someone else's peanut butter and jelly sandwich fell into my lunchbox - white bread! peanut butter with added sugar! - and I just went ahead and ate it, no questions asked. I found out about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from a preschool classmate; before that, I was under the impression that peanut butter's natural companion was applesauce.

It's weird to me now how keenly I felt those differences, in cereal and lunchbox treats, even up through fifth or sixth grade. And how readily I would inflict the exact same sense of deprivation on my offspring, were I to have them. I mean, I wanted Pogs. Kids really do not have the brain power to decide what to want. They'll just desire anything they're told. It blows my mind.
posted by crinklebat at 2:42 PM on June 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


Have you ever had a grape-flavored grape?

Or a watermelon-flavored watermelon? I don't know what watermelon Jolly Ranchers taste like, but it's certainly not watermelon.
posted by phatkitten at 2:43 PM on June 14, 2007


What I DO is teach my kids about advertising, and propaganda, and to consider the source when you get information, and to recognize when you are being played.
...
Didn't we all grow up on the real-life equivalents of Calvin and Hobbes' "Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs" and Saturday morning cartoons? That's a treasured part of my childhood.

Hmmm....
posted by gurple at 2:43 PM on June 14, 2007


I'm one of those people who will eat fruit-flavored candies but not (a lot of) fruits. Mmm, sugary cherry goodness.

On the other hand, I love Cheerios and always have. Eat it, Kellogg's!
posted by danb at 2:43 PM on June 14, 2007


Didn't mean to sound snarky, misha. You are clearly doing well by those kids.
posted by hermitosis at 2:43 PM on June 14, 2007


I'm in college, and looking at the eating habits of my friends, I'm grateful that my parents didn't allow me to destroy my tastebuds as a child. I pretty much managed to elude the whole artificial flavor/high fructose corn syrup habit my friends acquired though lack of cartoon stimuli and parents that made me eat real food.
posted by version control at 2:44 PM on June 14, 2007


The company said it won't promote foods in TV, radio, print or Web site ads that reach audiences at least half of whom are under age 12 unless a single serving of the product meets these standards:

In unrelated news, Kellogg's is reducing the amount of cereal that represents a "single serving" by 75%, in order to help battle obesity in our children.

By the way, this morning my 22-month-olds ate oatmeal (the bland kind, but admittedly the instant kind) sweetened with a generous dollop of stirred-in applesause, and with a bunch of raisins mixed in. They both ate it, but my son really wanted to play with the Trader Joe's organic O's box that I pulled out of the cupboard when I dropped some of 'em with milk as an alternative to the oatmeal. The box doesn't have bright colors or cartoon characters, and the cereal doesn't have scary sugar levels (it's unsweetened and bland, really) but my kids LOVE it because (a) I usually don't let them hold the box, and (b) they love to drink the cereal-soaked milk out of the bowl, just like I did when I was a kid.

My point here isn't that I'm an awesome parent (i'm flawed, I have no doubt) but that kids can get excited about things without branding and bright colors, and can enjoy a breakfast that isn't a sugarbomb festival. It helps if you give them access to fried/sugary foods once in a while (all things in moderation!) but always out of the house, never at home, so that they don't associate such foods with at-home mealtime.

Of course, this may fall apart completely once they're a little older, and start noticing the branding, but by then I hope to teach them about real food versus candy food, and why candy food is okay but only in small doses, because without real food you'll be sick a lot.
posted by davejay at 2:50 PM on June 14, 2007


Noticed a while back that commercials for Honey Nut Cheerios touted the whole grain nutrition to the parents during adult programming, while on Cartoon Network the same product is advertised using the cartoon bee and showers of sweet, sugary honey. The goal is pretty clear - get the kids to ask for the sugar, and get the parents to go along with it because they think it's actually good for the kids. Here's hoping that General Mills follows Kellogg's lead in this.

Growing up, Honey Nut Cheerios was a "sugar" cereal for us. One that my parents would only occasionally purchase. In college, I watched my stepbrother eating cereal... the difference between how he grew up and how I did were obvious. He'd pour a bowl of Frosted Flakes, then dump three to four spoonfuls of sugar on top. I was nauseated then, and the aisles full of sugary ick today don't make me any less ill. Reeses' peanut butter cups cereal. Cookie cereal. Oreos cereal? What the almighty hell? Are we even pretending that they're good for us now? At what point did the marshmallows in Lucky Charms finally out number the cereal bits?

I'll stick with the Kashi, thanks.
posted by caution live frogs at 2:53 PM on June 14, 2007


I am very much a product of the prepackaged food life growing up. Generally, I would eat Life cereal (still do) or the Apples and Cinnamon instant oatmeal. I prefer powdered tea to the real brewed thing.

But when it comes to fruit, no "froot-flavored" ester thing matches up to the real thing, ever.
posted by chimaera at 2:54 PM on June 14, 2007


Yeah, davejay, wait till they start school. It won't be exciting to drink milk anymore when their classmates have candy bars and fruit snacks every day. Sure, you'll be sick a lot, but then you get to eat delicious candy and miss school.
posted by crinklebat at 2:55 PM on June 14, 2007


I say the marketing for cereals is so manipulative, we're way past the blame the parent/blame the kid distinction. It's, like, society, man. Hats off to Kellogg. For me, eating cereal was like watching tv. Or playing in the bathtub. Speaking of bathtubs, this guy was my personal badass.
posted by phaedon at 2:55 PM on June 14, 2007


Thanks, hermitosis. My kids are active, thin and tall as trees, so I don't think they are suffering much.

And gurple, I was kidding about the Chocolate Frosted Sugared Bombs, but I do love me the occasional non-apple Apple Jacks.

I also think I learned most of the opera music I know from the Bugs Bunny Show on Saturday mornings.
posted by misha at 2:56 PM on June 14, 2007


gain, this is just another issue that comes back to one thing: Are you a good parent or a bad one?

Of course, NO ONE on the planet is ever a bad parent.


Yes, because parents who are for the most part improvising when it comes to raising their kids are lousy parents because they can't successfully counteract the influence of tv commercials that cost more to make than most parents will earn in their lifetime and which are specifically constructed with the help of child psychologists to make it extremely difficult for parents to counteract in the first place.

You want an example? Look at the boxes of kids' cereals from different companies. Notice how the boxes are smaller than the boxes of corn flakes, and how they are usually on the lower shelves in grocery stores. This is unusual. When selling food, the code is that more is better, and bigger is a better buy, and supermarkets sell shelf slots with the shelves at eye level at a premium.

Oh, wait. The kid's cereals are at eye level. Kid's eye level. And the boxes are small enough for them to pick up and carry around easily.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:58 PM on June 14, 2007


I wouldn't wish a bowl of Cheerios on my worst enemy.

I love Cheerios! I live in Australia (originally USian), and I can only find the Cheerios with the sugary crap all over them. Now I require all of my friends to bring me back a box of regular Cheerios when they visit the US or Canada.
posted by naturesgreatestmiracle at 3:14 PM on June 14, 2007


Should a sole-proprietorship be able to advertise in whatever manner it wants? What about an individual who buys issue-oriented political advocacy ads?

In the current configuration of American society, a small number of vastly wealthy corporations have inordinate power over the media.

If you're asking me whether those corporations should be treated differently than a guy who shuffles down to his local public access station every week to ramble about the inadequacies in the health care system, then my answer is yes.

If Bill Gates suddenly decided to spend his entire fortune on two weeks of solid advertising that encouraged kids to take methamphetamine, I think he should be stopped, too. It's about power and the abuse thereof.
posted by gurple at 3:18 PM on June 14, 2007


naturesgreatestmiracle: how would you like to set up a trade for tim-tams and sultana bran?
posted by boo_radley at 3:23 PM on June 14, 2007


So you oppose free speech for people and causes that you disapprove of, which is pretty much naked authoritarianism.
posted by Kwantsar at 3:24 PM on June 14, 2007


Oh, and sorry to snark at you, misha. I also have fond memories about the relatively rare bowls of sugary cereals I ate while watching Saturday morning cartoons. But I see those fond memories as of rather sinister origin.
posted by gurple at 3:24 PM on June 14, 2007


So you oppose free speech for people and causes that you disapprove of, which is pretty much naked authoritarianism.

Gee, how could I possibly have guessed you were leading up to a comment like that? What a surprise; you certainly have me flummoxed.

I'm not going to respond because I don't think this is an appropriate thread for a nasty argument about free speech vs. public interest. I will merely refer to you to my earlier comments, which I stand by. If you see a despot there, so be it.
posted by gurple at 3:26 PM on June 14, 2007


I am sad. I love Honey Nut Cheerios, dammit.

Although the Kashi Flax Rice Almond stuff is really good, too.
posted by oflinkey at 3:40 PM on June 14, 2007


Gee, how could I possibly have guessed you were leading up to a comment like that? What a surprise; you certainly have me flummoxed.

I'm not going to respond because I don't think this is an appropriate thread for a nasty argument about free speech vs. public interest.


Heh. A claim that such a discussion is "inappropriate"-- a subtler silencing technique.

I reckon BushCo could learn a thing or two from you.
posted by Kwantsar at 3:41 PM on June 14, 2007


Take it to MeTa if you absolutely have to, Kwantsar.
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:49 PM on June 14, 2007


I want some drink, motherfucker! Sugar, water, purple.
posted by anthill at 3:57 PM on June 14, 2007


Take it to MeTa if you absolutely have to, Kwantsar.

Are you new here? What would I take to MeTa? No one has broken any rules, violated guidelines, or written anything worthy of a debate, callout, or larger notification. Unless you think I have, in which case, well, you know...
posted by Kwantsar at 3:59 PM on June 14, 2007


This is my absolute favorite breakfast cereal advertising, ever.

Too bad they're not real.
posted by gurple at 4:03 PM on June 14, 2007


Kwantsar - The discussion about free speech v. public interest and stuff like calling gurple an authoritarian. It just sounded like you felt like you were being stifled.
posted by EatTheWeak at 4:06 PM on June 14, 2007


What, the two second "partofacompletebreakfast" schpeel at the end of the ads and a shot of a bowl of cereal with a grapefruit and a glass of orange juice weren't enough!?
posted by delmoi at 4:07 PM on June 14, 2007


delmoi - One morning when I was little, I was looking at the HUGE spread of food on the side of the Cheerios box that was to represent said "complete breakfast" - The bowl of Cheerios looked just like mine, but I was missing the two muffins, the two glasses of juice, the glass of milk and the pile of fruit.

My parents weren't up, so I decided to gather a Cheerios "complete breakfast." I poured myself three beverages. I buttered two muffins. I raided the fruit bin. And my parents awoke a couple hours later to find quite a sick little ETW.
posted by EatTheWeak at 4:12 PM on June 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


So you oppose free speech for people and causes that you disapprove of, which is pretty much naked authoritarianism.

Well, when it comes to sex we restrict what kinds of things adults can say to kids. In some ways advertising unhealthy things to children can be damaging as well. Do you think that we should be allowed to sell hardcore pornography to children or you an (ironically) NAKED AUTHORITARIAN!?
posted by delmoi at 4:13 PM on June 14, 2007


the only time as a child i was allowed to eat sugary cereals was during the two weeks in the summer i spent at my grama's. (god, i loved lucky charms. but i also loved Chex and healthier stuff too.)

having witnessed the successful raising of two middle school aged geniuses, i have two tips to offer struggling parents:

1. get a DVR and outlaw commercials. it works wonders on the consumerist onslaught. you can do this without Tivo too, tho it's more difficult--just make it part of family culture to mute the teevee during ads.

2. never, but NEVer, grocery shop with a child. leave a parent at home, shop on the way home from work... whatever it takes. a child can't complain if they aren't hit over the head with all the fabulous fabulous choices. by the time they're old enough to learn how to shop, they're immune. (most little ones hate shopping anyways.)

or go only to Whole Foods or the like. at least the worst there is better.
posted by RedEmma at 4:19 PM on June 14, 2007


You know, I survived the Kellogg's marketing barrage as a kid, for as much as I thought Nintendo cereal was awesome. I survived it because my mom didn't buy me that shit. End of story.
posted by fusinski at 4:29 PM on June 14, 2007


a lot of this is based on serving size, so you can imagine them just cutting the theoretical serving size in half and slapping a "done" label on the deal.

Serving sizes for things like cereal are predetermined by the feds.
posted by ubiquity at 5:38 PM on June 14, 2007


Serving sizes for things like cereal are predetermined by the feds

Do you have evidence for this? I've always wondered if this is true. A can of Coke might be one serving, but this Organic Ginger Limeade I'm drinking right now is about the same size and is considered two servings. I've also seen jars of cookies that appear to be of the same size list a variety of "Servings Per Container".
posted by phaedon at 5:41 PM on June 14, 2007


That stuff smells like messy babies at church and tastes about the same.

I think you're doing transubstantiation wrong.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:43 PM on June 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


I was a strange kid. I loved Corn Flakes. And I LOVE the Chex cereals.

Corn Chex = love.
posted by drstein at 5:49 PM on June 14, 2007


Every see a cartoon branded apple or banana?

I noticed that some bananas I bought had Curious George stickers on them a while ago. Now that's a product tie-in.
posted by mendel at 6:28 PM on June 14, 2007


naturesgreatestmiracle: how would you like to set up a trade for tim-tams and sultana bran?

Ooh! I like it!
posted by naturesgreatestmiracle at 8:50 PM on June 14, 2007


Have you ever had a grape-flavored grape?
posted by darksasami

Yes, actually. The typical grape flavor in the States is concord grape. These were the normal yard-grown grapes where I grew up, and I've been in the area of New York State where Welches gets their grapes for jam. I love concords, and am surprised to not see them anywhere I've been outside the US.

I'm another one of the weird kids. I prefered stuff like Oat Flakes and Life. For awhile I liked my Captain Crunch, but that didn't last. But yea, I was very generous with the sugar bowl, and still am, with cereal.

For whatever reason, I saw the BS of the advertising fairly early. I'd ask for toys based on commercials that made me need to find out how it worked. Too many disappointments!! (the game "Green Ghost" is my favorite example).
posted by Goofyy at 11:53 PM on June 14, 2007


just remember one thing ... the executives at kellogg's have to pay the ultimate price for the things they sell to the kiddies ... they have to live and work in battle creek

i was a security guard at their research center ... they have a whole mini factory set up there, with industrial ovens, vats, packaging lines, and lots of lab and kitchen cubicles ... all day long the white coated people are concocting various things to experiment with ... once in awhile at night, there'd be something laying around on a plate and i'd try it ... sometimes it wasn't any good

it was one of those places with the security cards ... level 1 clearance would get you in some places, level 2 in most places, level 3 in even more places ... there weren't many people who could go EVERYWHERE ... i, a lowly 6.50$ an hour security guard, was one of them

you put your card through the slot of the doors and a computer in the security bunker would record who you were and what time you entered and left ... at the main entrance, in the lobby and other strategic locations were cameras and the guard in the bunker ... or at the lobby desk ... could monitor all that came in or out of the building ... (and after business hours, you weren't getting into the building without a card)

we had a cleaning crew at night and one time one of them was caught trying to sneak 3 boxes of cereal out of there ... his motive, i'm sure, was just to have some free food to feed his family ... i can't imagine these guys making more than 7 or 8 bucks an hour in battle creek ... well, it turned out to be a major internal investigation ... remember, this wasn't any old cereal ... it was EXPERIMENTAL CEREAL ... and one never knew what the people at post cereals might do ...

(really! ... they're located on cliff street and their buildings overlook the kellogg factory a couple of blocks away on porter street ... in one of their higher buildings, post has set up a video camera to record every truck that goes in and out of there ... i knew some post workers who told me about it)

in short, cereal is serious damn business and thousands of man hours of research has probably gone into any reformulation of their brands

one of the cleaning ladies tried to tell me that the creaking noise from the second floor of the offices was w k kellogg's ghost, but i doubted he'd haunt a building that was less than 10 years old at the time

and then there was my fellow guard who often made love to his girlfriend in the elevator ... (it was ok ... she was a guard at hq there and she was the boss' daughter) ... and of course the guy who liked to blast house music on his boom box once the cleaning crew had left

yeah, 6.50$ an hour buys you a shitload of security ... sometimes, we even tuck in our pretty blue shirts ...
posted by pyramid termite at 12:53 AM on June 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Have you ever had a grape-flavored grape?

No, but I have had a grape flavored apple.
posted by malthas at 5:29 AM on June 15, 2007


drstein writes "Corn Chex = love."

Heretic! All true believers know Rice Chex is the shit.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:25 AM on June 15, 2007


Heretic! All true believers know Rice Chex is the shit.

I think you mean Wheat Chex.
posted by oaf at 9:23 AM on June 15, 2007


No, but I have had a grape flavored apple.

I have seen these horrid things in the supermarket. Injecting a perfectly good apple with artificial "Concord grape" flavor? That's fucked up.

Is it as awful as I imagine it is, malthas?
posted by chuq at 11:24 AM on June 15, 2007


oaf writes "I think you mean Wheat Chex."

No, those make you shit. There is definitely a difference.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:05 PM on June 15, 2007


Why are advertisers allowed to cater to anyone under the age of 12, anyway? Unless kids are gonna start working, companies should be advertising to their parents. I don't care how PC you make the adverts, if any ad is catering to children, it's NOT gonna cater to their best interests.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:51 PM on June 15, 2007


chuq: they're not altogether that bad, though honestly the smell of them is enough to turn you away. Apples do not smell like that, and if they did, their scent would surely not cover the ~30 foot radius that these so called "Grapples" have.
posted by malthas at 12:55 PM on June 15, 2007


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