Monday, April 18

Double Nerd Score.

I'm about to share with you the story of the greatest cereal mascot I've ever seen.

But first, some business.

Just because Boycott Unity is gone and done with, that doesn't mean I'm through making cartoons. I wanted to experiment with something here, but I need your help. Here's the 3-step process:

Step 1: You send a quote, funny saying, word, thought, feeling, picture or statement to communistdance@yahoo.com. Really, send me anything. The more original, the better.

Step 2: I make a cartoon around what you send me, whatever that may be.

Step 3: Enjoyment.

This allows me to continue to make cartoons, all while challenging myself and interacting with my rabid fan base. We'll do a few of them in the next few days, and see where it takes us. And by the way, I am NOT ripping off Exploding Dog, even though I obviously am.

Moving on, let's talk about cereal. I have not one, but TWO cereal stories for you!

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I love cereal. In the words of Jerry Seinfeld, "I love the idea of eating and drinking at the same time with one hand without looking". Even more so, I love commercials. I actually purchased a DVD filled with hundreds of commercials from the early age of television. Marketing and advertising for cereal is nothing short of an orgy of bright colors, happy children and wonderful plastic figurines. They exist to make you smile, and they have always worked on me. True, the kids on those commercials always sucked out loud, but the mascots are what kept you coming back.

Story #1: When I was about 5 years old in 1986, there was a short-lived cereal called "Circus-O's". How short-lived was it? Well, a Google search only produced 2 hits, neither of which worked for a damn.

So there I was in 1986, laying on my Grandmother's couch in her living room, sicker than hell with a 100-degree fever. I had been sleeping on and off for 2 days, and my vomit pail was never more than an arms length away. I was incoherent, quite unsure what was a dream and what was reality. I look across the room to the black-and-white television they had, and on pops a commercial for Circus-O's.

Circus-O's were basically Lucky Charms with animal marshmallow shapes. There were lions, tigers, giraffes, elephants and the like. The commercial was animated, with all the animals performing under the big top while the theme song played. This particular marketing campaign was to introduce their new secret marshmallow shape. "What will the new animal be?", provoked the TV set. The commercial ended abruptly, as if they had cut into it with a special news report. A large, ominous question mark burst onto the screen, and the commercial was over as quickly as it had begun.

For 15 years, I swore that I had dreamed up that entire commercial. To this day, I have found no information stating if that commercial even existed. The whole thing sort of terrified me, considering the mental state I was in, and the fact that I can remember it so vividly is scary enough as is. It's a sad state of affairs when I get freaked out looking up cereal information late at night. If anyone else remembers Circus-O's, or that commercial for that matter, let me know so I can solve a 18 year mystery. Certain things provoke certain reactions from me, and this commercial brought pure, unadulterated terror for some reason.

Story #2: When I was in high school, I was fortunate enough to go on a trip to England. I had a great time visiting Abbey Road, Big Ben, Stonehenge and the like. I have a lot of once-in-a-lifetime stories to share with people (such as getting a gun pulled on me and my friends, and getting kicked out of Harrod's), but one thing sticks out in my head more prominently than anything.

Some days I would choose to stay in my hotel room and watch television instead of sightseeing. For most of the day I would lurk around the empty hotel, order glass after glass of Diet Coke from the downstairs bar, and just watch cricket or a weird-ass game show on the telly.

Everyone knows that the commercials in England are funnier than anything we have here in the states. One such cereal commercial introduced me to the single greatest mascot in history. Move over, Tony the Tiger & Count Chocula, I present to you:

The Honey Monster!
(These are the biggest pictures I could find. This is kind of a rare thing, from what I can tell.)

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The Honey Monster was the mascot for "Sugar Puffs", a Quaker brand cereal in the U.K.. It was the single coolest thing I had ever seen. In these commercials, the Honey Monster would sing as he went through his daily routine. He wasn't a scary monster at all. In fact, he was quite helpful when it came to helping old people across the street and difficult breakfast decisions. He was everyone's friend, guys wanted to be his buddy, girls wanted to be his gal.

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As is, the Honey Monster solidified itself as the pinnacle by which all other breakfast cereal mascots would be measured. But then, he went ahead and completely outdid himself.

Through a marketing campaign of sheer genius, the Honey Monster morphed into...

The "Sugar Puff Daddy"!

Oh, how I wish I had pictures of this. Just imagine the Honey Monster with gold chains, a Kangol hat and a track suit, cruising around in a limo with his posse of humans. In these particular commercials, Sugar Puff Daddy would rap about how amazing his life is, and how great Sugar Puffs were. During the musical numbers, he would emerge from his limo to play a game of street ball with a group of kids, exchanging slo-mo high-fives and lifting kids up so they could slam-dunk the basketball. Instead of running away in terror, the children looked up to this gentle rapping giant, promising to buy his cereal.

I hope that I'm conveying this to you well enough, because it really was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I wish I could come to your house and project my thoughts onto a projector so you could see this commercial (just the cereal thoughts, mind you). If you have a few hours to kill (as I sometimes do), look into Sugar Puffs for yourself.

Well, this post has all the structure and coherency of a fever dream. It was worth it though, just to tell you about the Sugar Puff Daddy. Send me your cartoon snippets! Until then, I have album reviews to work on. I have to turn the fan on now, it's sweltering up here.

Comments:
Hmmm. It looks like Sugar Puffs is the UK division of Quaker's take on Post Sugar Crisp, which had the (lame) Sugar Bear cartoon mascot in the 80's. There are ads going back to the 50's showing bears in their ads, though.

This discussion is pointless, though. Everyone knows that for any product, and any market, pirates make the best company mascots.

I remember Circus-O's, but sadly I don't remember the commercials.
 
I always thought that the Golden Crisp bear was kind of hot...he had a really lazy, sexy voice. MUCH better than the Sugar Smacks frog; I'd step on that if I saw it!
 
Pirates make great mascots, which is ironic because they make awful people.

I'm glad someone else remembered Circus-O's, because it was really starting to mess with my head.

The Sugar Smacks frog (Dig'em!) was a terrible mascot, but Sugar Bear acted like he was constantly baked. I think that's because they gave him the attitude of a pimp due to his name.

"Guess I forgot to put the fog lights in!"
 
That bear was baked...on the goodness that is Golden Crisp. I love that cereal
 
In the summer, the Golden Crisp would melt together to make one giant cereal-ball. You had no choice but to eat the entire box at once.

I don't think that the Golden Crisp bear wore pants, but you may want to check for yourself.
 
Just the way I likes 'em!
 
Which do you like, cereal balls or bears with no pants? I seem to recall that you hate those pants-less bears on the Charmin commercials.

The new Pope looks like the Wizard of Oz.
 
Golden Crisp is a PC name intended to persuade mothers that Sugar Crisp is not in fact chock full of sugar, which I'm sure it is. It will always be Sugar Crisp to me. Too bad I can't eat it because of the damn Atkins diet.

My friend Kirk has a nice section called "Pirates in Ads" section on his secretfunspot.com page that you have linked. I may be completely lying, but if I remember correctly his essay was inspired by an email conversation he and I had about pirate mascots.
 
I like my men pantsless...though now that you mention it, I probably like cereal balls too. I like popcorn balls, so why wouldn't I like cereal balls?

Yes, I do hate those pantless bears on the Charmin commercial...but that's only because they're taking a poop in the forest and we're supposed to think it's CUTE! There is nothing cute about it, because bears take huge poops. Not to mention, the child bear is wearing glasses-there is NOTHING CUTE about kids with glasses. I should know!
 
arghh I hate those Charmin bears. I feel liek punching the screen whenever the commercial comes on. I think this is ruining all cartoon bears for me.

So Ryan you are going to go to someone's houe and project your serial thoughts... err cereal thoughts? What does the dear wife think of this??? I guess it might be ok if she got an evening alone with the golden crisp bear - and oh yes he's always had kind of a sexy voice but good god not a damn shred of fashion sense. Count Chocula at least has a good gimmick going.
 
The Adkin's diet will eventually consume and destroy us all.

That Pirate essay was great. I really enjoy SecretFunSpot.

Fidget, I made a deal with the Missus. I'll arrange her one romantic evening with the pants-less Golden Crisp Bear, in exchange for me to come over to your house and educate you about the Sugar Puff Daddy.

Everyone wins, except for maybe you.
 
LMFAO Ryan. So long as you dont bring a life sized cardboard cut out... that sugar thing looks pretty scary.
 
That "Sugar Thing" is...my FATHER!
(cue sad music)

That's the mystery about the Honey Monster. He looks like he'd rip-a your melon off, but he's really a gentle giant. Like President Taft was.
 

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