They're great!
October 17, 2015 9:29 PM   Subscribe

A series of dark commercials (purportedly) for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes have appeared on Youtube as part of a "Tony is Back" campaign. Kellogg's is not amused.
posted by adamrice (82 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
I like that the characters carry over from video to video. The John in the first video is the cop in the second, the victim of police brutality is the bomber in the third.
posted by codacorolla at 9:45 PM on October 17, 2015 [14 favorites]


Thurl Ravenscroft is spinning like a centrifuge in his grave, yet for some reason I still approve of and enjoy this kind of high-quality culture-jamming. What is wrong with me.
posted by not_on_display at 9:50 PM on October 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


They're great! I hope to see more of their ilk.
posted by fredludd at 10:03 PM on October 17, 2015


Yay! Now do Toucan Sam!
posted by mittens at 10:10 PM on October 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


what if..instead of happy....frosting flake was..sad??
posted by threeants at 10:15 PM on October 17, 2015 [14 favorites]


That tiger's voice wasn't deep enough. I know opera-trained basses don't grow on trees, but you know. Cute whiskers, though.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:27 PM on October 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Seems like great, subversive fun until you reflect that, if anything, this will just make people buy more Frosted Flakes. This is in fact better advertising than Kellogg's is capable of doing for itself internally, and if they aren't already, companies like Kellogg's will be quietly hiring "culture jammers" to do their ad campaigns before long...
posted by Sing Or Swim at 10:36 PM on October 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


Wow, you don't see culture jamming this polished very often. The website in particular is perfectly corporate, even featuring account log-in links that direct to the actual Kellogs site.

I'm curious about the motives of the creator(s). Obviously, the kind of sophisticated branding and massive advertising campaigns Kelloggs is responsible for are immoral, especially when they target kids. I wonder whether there's anything beyond that driving this. Is Kelloggs particularly horrible in some way?
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 10:36 PM on October 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


quietly hiring "culture jammers" to do their ad campaigns before long...

"PepsiBlue" didn't come from nowhere.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:44 PM on October 17, 2015


The "How about some fruit?" bit seems to be what he's getting at...this is some high-test bootleg Adbusters, right here. Maybe I'm not looking in the right places anymore, but I haven't seen anything this dark put together this well.
posted by Kreiger at 10:46 PM on October 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Going by http://tonyisback.com/help/ , the artist seems to think that he's going to help unravel the evils of capitalism by associating a cereal mascot with prostitutes, brutal cops, and suicide bombers. Good freakin' luck with that, man.

On a lighter note: Thurl Ravenscroft (what a name!) sang "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch"? Whoa.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:49 PM on October 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I like that the characters carry over from video to video. The John in the first video is the cop in the second, the victim of police brutality is the bomber in the third.

I don't know that they're going to any effort to demonstrate continuity, rather it's just the same sketch group doing each video.
posted by anazgnos at 11:25 PM on October 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


As one of Kellogg's ex-Tony costumer workers, I should be offended.

OTOH, they are GR-R-R-R-R-R-R-EAT!
posted by Samizdata at 11:28 PM on October 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ummm, costume workers.
posted by Samizdata at 11:47 PM on October 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


As one of Kellogg's ex-Tony costumer workers

No, you do not get to just toss this out there like that.

Spill. The whole story. I want a wall of text about this in this thread.
posted by hippybear at 11:58 PM on October 17, 2015 [31 favorites]


Wondering if this is maybe the product of one of the Yes Men's training initiatives?
posted by gusandrews at 12:00 AM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


No, you do not get to just toss this out there like that.

Spill. The whole story. I want a wall of text about this in this thread.


Admit it, hippybear, you just want to know if getting paid to fursuit is everything you dreamed it would be.

(Because if you hadn't asked, I probably would have.)
posted by radwolf76 at 12:04 AM on October 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Wondering if this is maybe the product of one of the Yes Men's training initiatives?
posted by gusandrews at 12:00 AM on October 18 [+] [!]



The artist-activist behind this seems more like an "edgier" competitor to the Yes Men


(see more details in the HuffPo investigation of the Tony ads
posted by Bwithh at 12:30 AM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


It seems a bit difficult to put Kellogg's in the same esteemed companies as Monsanto, Dow and Exxon.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:36 AM on October 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


It seems a bit difficult to put Kellogg's in the same esteemed companies as Monsanto, Dow and Exxon.

You just have to believe in yourself!
posted by thelonius at 12:49 AM on October 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


It could be that the contrast between the triviality of the target and the overwrought bleakness of the story is the point of a purely creative exercise.

But frosted flakes and old ad campaigns on kids TV might be unconscious symbols of happy mainstream childhoods in which case we might think this was made by youngish people who haven't fully worked off some issues with their parents.
posted by Segundus at 1:05 AM on October 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


It seems a bit difficult to put Kellogg's in the same esteemed companies as Monsanto, Dow and Exxon.
Perhaps that's the point - Monsanto may be using evil methods but it's using them to try to solve the world's food supply problems and is widely reviled for it. Kellogg's OTOH is actively poisoning children and gets a free ride. Or something. I mean this is from the guy that kidnapped and beheaded a Ronald McDonald statue to highlight McDonalds' bad behaviour, which seems like an easier target. Who knows?

Absent deeper analysis, I do like these videos though :)
posted by merlynkline at 1:15 AM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed the running motif of the person pouring the milk too fast and splashing everywhere.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:15 AM on October 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


*picks up red phone with dedicated trunk line to Battle Creek.
posted by clavdivs at 1:35 AM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


"...Kellogg's OTOH is actively poisoning children and gets a free ride. Or something. I mean..."

Yeah, Are you sure about that poisoning part, which I may believe concerning Michigan industry and the political parties they relie on or something.

I liked the videos put please folks, if you have some links for the "poisoning children" part, share them or at least expand.
posted by clavdivs at 1:41 AM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Seems like great, subversive fun until you reflect that, if anything, this will just make people buy more Frosted Flakes.

I don't know about that. The ads are funny, but they are really, REALLY dark comedy. Maybe some of the Adult Swim crowd would be into them, but I think a lot of people would be totally alienated and creeped out by this. I think it's going to repel more people from the brand than it attracts. I mean, Tony encourages a suicide bomber to blow herself up in a diner full of people!

The people who made this must have really read up on parody as it applies to copyright law. Everything about the ads and the website leads you to think this is actual Kellogg's advertising, right down to linking to the actual Kellogg's website. You only know it's fake because of how deeply disturbing it is... and in an era with all these creepy, Tim and Eric-style ads for Skittles and KFC and Old Spice and stuff, I can easily imagine some people mistaking these for the real thing. I can't see much of an upside here, for Kellogg's.

I'm assuming the actors aren't supposed to be the same characters every time. But if they are, it just becomes even more tragic and horrible. The creepy John, for example, is next seen as a cop beating up a woman in the middle of the night... and that woman (as codacorolla pointed out) is next seen in the diner with explosives wrapped around herself, ready to end it all. Christ, that's bleak.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:57 AM on October 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


I took poisoning to mean the massive amount of sugar and carbs the ceral is. It ain't a health food!

Also, am I a bad person if these "commercials" made me think of Fosted Flakes and want some?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:59 AM on October 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, am I a bad person if these "commercials" made me think of Fosted Flakes and want some?

No.
posted by mikelieman at 2:04 AM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Since two of these industries are in my state, I take it differently, sure, we know sugar poisons people. (see stats on diabetes, etc.) don't eat it, don't let your children eat it. Hence, the funny little cartoon mash-up. I like like mashup, explains why I cranked The Beatles even though they had broken up when I was THREE.
I just don't see the direct correlation between raw Tony and violence/industrial practices.

'Sugar smacks' would make a nice follow-up to this video.
posted by clavdivs at 2:13 AM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure that they're supposed to be the same people - note the black eye on the suicide bomber that matches one of the blows taken by the brutality victim.
posted by YAMWAK at 2:15 AM on October 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


This is another fake artist created by Banksy, right?
posted by Artw at 2:33 AM on October 18, 2015


Do people really find this that "dark"? Tbh it reminded me of a teenager's idea of edgy.
posted by threeants at 2:52 AM on October 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


if you have some links for the "poisoning children" part
Sorry. That was a poor attempt to be mildly amusing by suggesting what the point might be in the mind of a known Ronald McDonald beheader. So I have no links to offer you other than my comment - I'm claiming it as an original thought. But sugar is poison, right? We all know that! And persuading my kids we don't want Frosties is a weekly nightmare that is obviously only a part of my life because of Kellog's. So evil child-poisoners. What more evidence do you need?
posted by merlynkline at 2:53 AM on October 18, 2015


Keep it real, Tony sempai! (⁎⚈᷀᷁ᴗ⚈᷀᷁⁎)
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:57 AM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's not unthinkable that a company might encourage something like this, so that they can have their Adult-Swim-edgy-cake and eat it too by both having the commercials virally out there yet publicly disclaiming responsibility.
posted by Pyry at 3:08 AM on October 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


The report "Behind the Brands" by Oxfam includes a ranking on page 26 where they scored Kelloggs (and other brands) based on

...company policies in seven areas critical to sustainable agricultural production which have been historically neglected by the food and beverage industry: land, women, small-scale farmers, farm workers, climate change, transparency, water

Kelloggs got 1, 2, 1, 2, 2, 4, 4 (out of 10). But yes, their marketing for their sugar products (which are basically drugs) also targets children and drowns out any messaging about healthy stuff by sheer volume. Basically worse than a tobacco company.

Having said that you will take me Strawberry Sniggles from my cold dead hands. Oooh how I love me Strawberry Sniggles.
posted by yoHighness at 3:08 AM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Do people really find this that "dark"?

I've seen some terrible things in this life, but I'm not jaded enough to shrug off a scene of a whimpering woman being beaten by cops, or (perhaps the same woman) with her face covered with bruises, blowing herself up in a crowded diner. There's no blood or gore, but it's still horrifying stuff.

People seem pretty convinced we're following the same characters in all of the ads, but isn't the blond woman who plays the prostitute playing the waitress in the suicide bomber one? While it's hardly impossible for somebody to work as a waitress while hooking on the side, I'd be kind of surprised if we're supposed to assume that's happening here. It also seems a little odd if we're supposed to think the two cops and the two johns are the same guys. Sure, it's not impossible, but it seems weird for two cops to be standing around on a public street, wearing their civilian clothes, while they haggle over prices with prostitutes.

Really, I could buy either explanation, that they're supposed to all be the same characters or they're not. It would make more sense to me if they're not, but if they are it gives the ads some extra levels. (The waitress tells the bomber to "be good," kind of like they know each other, and that made me wonder if they'd both worked as prostitutes in the first ad. I didn't see the bomber lady in that ad, though.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:57 AM on October 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


On the good side, Kellogg's has achieved its original goal of stopping me from masturbating.

For now.
posted by sonascope at 4:30 AM on October 18, 2015 [40 favorites]


With this and Tony the Tiger's porn cameo, Kellogg's perhaps have good reason to be worried.
posted by acb at 4:44 AM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Saw these posted last night by a friend, and was ready to like them but ... yeah, really a bit too on the nose, so to speak. And I've gotten pretty tired of beating up women used as a comedy vehicle.

I think they could have done this so much better and funnier, but instead reached for the easy, low-hanging fruit of edginess. Slick production, though. If they'd put a little more thought into what dark situations Tony would encounter, they would've totally been grrrrrrrrreat. As it is, it just tries too hard.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:12 AM on October 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


Yeah after the pr0n thing it's kinda beyond satire (and this ain't very good satire). Also I know the're an American company but they'll always be Frosties to us Brits. Talking of which... something something Jonathan Ross joke.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:20 AM on October 18, 2015


Don't misunderstand me, I have no great love or admiration for food companies that shill surgar, but these skits were a bit too easy, obvious, and poorly acted. And, if the intention was to teach how bad sugared cereal is, these didn't make that point at all. I'll give it a resounding meh...
posted by HuronBob at 5:31 AM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


And I've gotten pretty tired of beating up women used as a comedy vehicle...I think they could have done this so much better and funnier

What makes you think they're trying to be funny or that they're comedy. I never got that sense at all.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 5:58 AM on October 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Seemed pretty clear to me they were going for some kind of nihilistic black comedy. If there was some other aim, that wasn't really clear at all.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 6:12 AM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


All three of these have a strong Mulholland Drive vibe.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:50 AM on October 18, 2015


Sugar is not poison.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:57 AM on October 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


They're a blast of creative anger. I don't think they're aimed at approval. Get it from me, though.
posted by Devonian at 6:57 AM on October 18, 2015


I'm good with dark humor but two of the three spots turn on women being abused. Just hard to start there and then be entertained; if nothing else, it's lazy.
posted by Nelson at 7:20 AM on October 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


Apparently, as long as I wrap it in the flag of Culturejamming™, I can depict all manner of violence and brutality against women, and folks will be all on board for funs and giggles. Good to know.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:54 AM on October 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


Yeah, count me in as someone who felt the violence against women in the name of humor was incredibly distasteful. Ugh.

Can we fucking warn for "depiction of sexualized assault" please? Because when I clicked on a video and found a cop crawling onto a screaming woman under the aegis of fun-'n'-gritty humor, I noped the fuck out. It would have been nice to at least know what I was getting into before I clicked. As it is, I'm mostly feeling nauseous and angry.
posted by sciatrix at 8:15 AM on October 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Sugar is not poison.

Sugar very definitely is poison. All drugs are toxins and all toxins are drugs, and as drugs go sugar is very definitely poisonous in the amounts and manner in which a lot of people take it.

There are drugs which aren't very toxic. Drugs that work by inhibition, such as ACE inhibitors for blood pressure or PDE5 inhibitors like Viagra, tend not to cause overdoses because once you've inhibited all your ACE or PDE5 taking more of the drug doesn't do anything. There are accounts of children taking entire bottles of my blood pressure medication and shrugging it off.

Some drugs are toxic but not at the usual doses. If you get gout your doctor will tell you to start with a dose of four times what the bottle insists is safe of ibuprofen, and go up from there as necessary. The drug is really pretty safe.

But if you do that same thing with Tylenol, you will die. Tylenol is toxic. It is toxic in amounts not that much greater than we normally take it for therapeutic use. OTC Tylenol is in fact the bane of poison control centers everywhere, and this is why sensible countries don't allow distribution of large bottles of it.

And pure sucrose, by this standard, is toxic. It does not exist in nature and, as with other pure substances like heroin or cocaine, we are not well equipped to regulate our intake of it. And the ready availability of infinite amounts of pure sugar is directly responsible for the global diabetes epidemic, the only disease ever classified as an epidemic which does not have a communication vector. Sugar is not only poisonous, it is ultimately responsible for a vast incidence of early death and medical expense.

And as for the OP, I don't think the videos are aiming for humor precisely because the whole thing isn't very funny. Sex work isn't funny, violence isn't funny, suicide bombing isn't funny. But then neither is diabetes.
posted by Bringer Tom at 8:30 AM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sugar is not poison.

Sugar is very definently poison.


This is another of those interesting cases where both parties seem to be in complete agreement about the facts but have come to diametrically opposite conclusions about the label that should be applied.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:49 AM on October 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


It does not exist in nature and, as with other pure substances like heroin or cocaine, we are not well equipped to regulate our intake of it.

I am
posted by Greg Nog at 8:50 AM on October 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sugar is not poison.

Sugar is very definently poison.

This is another of those interesting cases where both parties seem to be in complete agreement about the facts but have come to diametrically opposite conclusions


I didn't really have a strong opinion about this but OTOH, since I apparently accidentally started the whole thing off in a failed attempt at levity, I felt obliged to look a little deeper. The linked article for "Sugar is not poison" seems like a diversion - it opens by saying "Human beings have consumed sugar, albeit at low levels, since [long ago]" and thus diverts us from the fundamental truth of toxicology that "the dose makes the posion" and then waffles around that a lot. The riposte, OTOH, appears well argued and addresses that point directly.

But the upshot is that the question of whether the accused party is a child-poisoner should not revolve around whether they are selling sugar (or any other supposed poison) but whether they are selling it in toxic quantities. Trying to understand that remains too difficult for me - I am unable to reliably penetrate the FUD without significantly more effort than I am able to make right now. But the attempt certainly didn't do anything to change my long-standing decision not to give these products to my kids (very often).
posted by merlynkline at 9:27 AM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


the artist seems to think that he's going to help unravel the evils of capitalism by associating a cereal mascot with prostitutes, brutal cops, and suicide bombers.

Family Guy has been doing that for what, 15 years now?
posted by lmfsilva at 10:38 AM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


hippybear: "As one of Kellogg's ex-Tony costumer workers

No, you do not get to just toss this out there like that.

Spill. The whole story. I want a wall of text about this in this thread.
"

Nothing all THAT exciting. Let's just say Kellogg's liked the fact I am just short of 6 feet, fairly burly (200+ pounds), and only have 9 1/2 feet. So I could fill out the suit and still wear the special shoes that lock into the feet. OTOH, I could lose 5 pounds of water weight a day, wearing a suit that precluded any sight below the nose, didn't allow you to put your arms at your sides, and had a tail to knock things over with that you couldn't see. On the plus side, a combination of people digging the visits and the handler (remember I mentioned how little you can see?) that took me by the han..errrr...paw was often cute and quite friendly.

Not quite a wall of text, but, that's what I have got.
posted by Samizdata at 11:34 AM on October 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


Entire anime episodes have revolved around the great discomfort and embarrassment of dressing up like a mascot. I am not surprised to see it confirmed by a veteran of the trade.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 11:44 AM on October 18, 2015


I was once in a relationship with a woman whose lips were venomous poison. Like poison running through my veins.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 11:47 AM on October 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


[Couple of comments deleted. Please drop the "is sugar strictly speaking a poison" thing in here; it's a derail at this point and adding rancor to the derail is not going to improve anything.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:48 AM on October 18, 2015


>Seems like great, subversive fun until you reflect that, if anything, this will just make people buy more Frosted Flakes.

>I don't know about that. The ads are funny, but they are really, REALLY dark comedy.

Yeah, but there's no such thing as bad publicity. What they want is for you to think of Frosted Flakes while you're in the supermarket. That 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart' song is playing over the PA, and there are ten brands of different-colored marshmallows, and then you have one of those consumer blackouts that people have, and the next thing you remember, you're in your car with a box of Frosted Flakes. That's how advertising works. These videos are dark and terrible, but nobody thinks Kellogg's is responsible for that. Successful advertising requires only that when the word Frosted appears in your mind, it is followed immediately by the word Flakes.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 11:55 AM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


The easiest way to restrain oneself from eating sugary cereals is to not buy them, not even as a treat. Simply not walking down some of those isles makes life so much easier.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:28 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


And as an added bonus, not walking down the processed crap aisle punishes these food conglomerates for publishing crap like this and producing crap like that. Yes, I believe a corporation like Kellog's would employ high-level executives who would see value in supporting cheap and sick underground media. Just look at what they sell to the public as "food."
posted by five fresh fish at 12:33 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


o.O
posted by djeo at 12:48 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


The (real) ads are directed at people who have decided to go down the cereal aisle anyway, to get them to buy Frosted Flakes instead of Cap'n Crunch or Count Chocula. My parents raised me on cereal for breakfast and when you have absorbed the idea that that's a normal and necessary part of the grocery run, it can be hard to kick it. This is, of course, one reason cereals are marketed so hard to kids; those kids grow up and have kids of their own. Which is, of course, part of the subversive message of the OP fake ads; these are the kids who were raised on Frosted Flakes. Tony didn't do them any favors as kids and he's not doing them any now.
posted by Bringer Tom at 12:53 PM on October 18, 2015


Yeah, but there's no such thing as bad publicity.

That's what the creator of these videos seems unable/unwilling to grasp--they are not only not likely to persuade anyone who might ordinarily buy Frosted Flakes not to get them (they're far enough off the beam of standard corporate messages not to be mistaken for a genuine one, although the recent KFC ads may have blurred that line a bit, and Kellogg already has its disclaimers in place), but there will probably be some people who will buy Frosted Flakes because of them. As much as I think that Bill Hicks' work is overrated (or at least overpromoted, in the personality-cult segment of his fandom), I'd have to refer back to his routine on marketing, and how even an anti-marketing stance--even his anti-marketing stance--can be monetized.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:45 PM on October 18, 2015


I am just short of 6 feet, fairly burly (200+ pounds), and only have 9 1/2 feet.

*half an hour of puzzling over math and anatomy later*

Oh, your FEET were SIZE 9 1/2!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:51 PM on October 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


*half an hour of puzzling over math and anatomy later*

That's makes me think of the young man who enlisted in the army, and a few weeks later wrote home from boot camp saying he'd grown another foot - so his mom knitted him another sock.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:25 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


The best ad for morning food ever was this demo Nutrigrain ad from Turnpike films. "Yeah, BABIES EVERYWHERE!!!"
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 5:15 PM on October 18, 2015


Are there regular Frosted Flakes (or any other cereal, even) advertisements any more?

Granted, I don't watch a lot of TV these days compared to when I was a kid, but I can't recall the last time I heard "part of this nutritious breakfast".

If they are advertising, where are they doing it?
posted by madajb at 7:25 PM on October 18, 2015


Is this really the kind of "bad publicity" that helps sales?

My amateur understanding of consumer psychology was sure, if you announce that Kellogg's is under investigation for price fixing it's intellectual and to a large extent people just extract "Kellogg's, a real mover and shaker in the cereal world." But something that produces a visceral reaction like this is meant to (and did for me) actually taints the brand and you seek something else.

Of course, this doesn't work for viewers where this just seems hip. But to people who find it in really poor taste and too much to be "edgy fun" I think it's the sort of approach that works.
posted by mark k at 9:56 PM on October 18, 2015


I hope these are mirrored several places already, because i have a feeling within a couple weeks-months those youtube links are going to rot.
posted by emptythought at 2:48 AM on October 19, 2015


Are there regular Frosted Flakes (or any other cereal, even) advertisements any more

Yes. Very much so. Parents do still plop their kids in front of the boob tube, albeit perhaps sometimes more ironically or with somewhat fewer ingenuous assumptions about its efficacy as a babysitter and transmitter of values than they once did. I saw a couple of Pillsbury refrigerated breakfast pastry ads (not cereal, of course, but the same principle applies) yesterday morning that almost made me laugh, they were so determinedly aggro about the sugar-pushing angle: the camera pulls in tight at the end on a kid with her face in a rictus and Pillsbury frosting smeared all over her face, a perfect avatar of sucrose-addict paradise. Even in the 1970s and 1980s the ads wouldn't gleefully and pornographically smear their product all over the kids' faces.
posted by blucevalo at 7:18 AM on October 19, 2015


Are there regular Frosted Flakes (or any other cereal, even) advertisements any more

Yes. Very much so.

Back in the mid-aughts, I was at a party where a friend talked about his experience of watching TV on either early saturday morning or in the afternoon during the middle of the week. He was shocked / elated to report that all of those mascots of his youth hadn't gone anywhere. Punchy was still shilling for Hawaiian Punch! The horrifying talking pitcher of liquid was still selling Hi-C! All the mascots were still there, only the times when he watched TV had changed.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:25 AM on October 19, 2015


Oh, your FEET were SIZE 9 1/2!

Right?! I read that, like, five times, thinking, "Man, I could never be a cereal mascot. I only have two feet. I had no idea they wanted to hire, like, centipedes or some shit."
posted by webmutant at 10:02 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I had no idea they wanted to hire, like, centipedes or some shit.

FOOT LOOPS
posted by mittens at 10:10 AM on October 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, at first I thought maybe he misspoke and had 9 1/2 toes or something.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:41 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


These videos are shit and this post is shit, sorry not sorry.

The literal point of one of them is "Frosted Flake gives you the strength to rape women!". That's not subversive. It's not clever. It doesn't even do anything other than add rape to frosted flakes. It's like the creators wrote a bunch of "dark" (aka misogynistic) topics on a spin wheel and that was the basis for the plot. Not to mention that Tony is a character meant for kids-undoubtedly some kids are going to click on these videos. I do not give one flying fuck about your "art" or "freedom of speech" if it puts children in jeopardy of being exposed to images rape and violence. It's lazy and it's damaging and I'm mad it's on the blue.
posted by FirstMateKate at 10:43 AM on October 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


The literal point of one of them is "Frosted Flake gives you the strength to rape women!"

There's no rape in any of these videos. Violence, yes. Rape, no.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 11:38 AM on October 19, 2015


I do not give one flying fuck about your "art" or "freedom of speech" if it puts children in jeopardy of being exposed to images rape and violence.

I'd say broadcast television is going to be much more problematic than a youtube video you have to find.

Personally I find people that would be censors and only allow acceptable art to be more problematic than art that is distasteful.

Unless TV ads are still being made, the only people familiar with Tony are 25+ year old people.

There is a lot of media out there that encourages or normalizes violence against women (much of it is easily found on cable); I would argue this does not do that.

The blue contains many subjects and many posts that aren't suitable for children.

All that being said, a trigger warning might have been appropriate.
posted by el io at 12:11 PM on October 19, 2015


There's no rape in any of these videos. Violence, yes. Rape, no.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 2:38 PM on October 19 [+] [!]

The "Rick" video shows one male cop pinning down a screaming, struggling woman while asking another male cop "What are you waiting for?" Tony assures him "We'll do fine!" like he's having some kind of 'performance' anxiety. There is no sex literally depicted, but you can't deny it's alluded.


I'd say broadcast television is going to be much more problematic than a youtube video you have to find.
Yeah and I have a fucking problem with tv, too. But this thread isn't about TV, so that rant would be a derail. Regardless. "This is bad, but this is worse" is a flimsy, stupid argument.


There is a lot of media out there that encourages or normalizes violence against women (much of it is easily found on cable); I would argue this does not do that.
You're wrong? That's actually the exact point about the Rick video. They took the motto from "Frosted flakes helps prepare you for a test/skateboarding/new school, etc" and changed it to "Frosted flakes gives you the courage to rape this woman". That's the most blatant normalizing of violence against women I've ever seen.


The blue contains many subjects and many posts that aren't suitable for children.

Sorry my wording confused you. I wasn't saying I'm mad it's on the blue because children might see it. I'm mad it exists because children might see it. I'm mad it's on the blue because it's shit and we're better than this.
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:37 PM on October 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Not to double post, but I'm even angrier now that I've thought about it, because this could be such a cool fucking idea. Get Tony the Tiger to check in with the adults he helped 25 years ago? Sounds exactly like the kind of cynicism my generation loves. They're calling it "dark humor", but it's not funny. Humor derives its power from reality, and this is just lazy. These aren't the kind of problems my peers and I are tackling, the kind of problems that we would need Tony the Tiger to help with.

The strength to say "I'm not coming to your party because I really just don't fucking feel like it",
or the courage to dip out mid one-night-stand because you found a Vote 4 Trump sticker in his bathroom,
or the gumption to defer your student loans for the 18th time,
or the balls to say "because i'm dying in the icy grip of capitalism and rent is 3 months behind" when the interviewer asks you why you want this job .

It'd be so much better if it took the time to think and comment on the situation we're collectively in, rather than doing what threeants said "what if..what if we took this happy thing, and like. what if we mad it sad."
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:51 PM on October 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


I was going to link to some Thurl Ravenscroft songs, but the list just got way too long. So, just do yourself a favor and go out and listen to a bunch of them. They're all good.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:52 PM on October 19, 2015


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