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Top 5: Cereal Mascots

A Cereal Mascot Reunion

Over the years, cereal brands have created some of the most recognizable product mascots across Consumer America.

We understand that Lucky Charms are magically delicious. We have heard on several occasions that Sugar Bear can’t get enough of that Golden Crisp. We have seen that furry-crackhead-hamster-thing go wild over Honey Comb. And we all know how enthusiastic Tony the Tiger is about the greatness of Frosted Flakes.

The famous faces of breakfast cereals are what make the advertising of these products so memorable. Along with toys and games like Crossfire and Hungry Hungry Hippos, cereal ads are the TV commercials we relate most with our childhood. Some characters’ shelf lives have spanned generations; others fizzed out when their product failed upon market introduction. The solitary thing these mascots have in common is the everlasting perception they have crafted within the common consumer’s memory; they will forever be a personified depiction of the brands they represent.  And long after their pizazz and spunk finally wears out, like in the image above, they will still be remembered. Simply put, bowls and spoons would not be the same without them.

In honor of these legends of advertising, the folks over at Scrambled Egg Shower (which consists of me) have compiled the five greatest cereal mascots of all-time:

#5: Count Chocula

Slogan: “I vant to eat your cereal!”

Analysis: Like Cookie Crisp, Count Chocula was the cereal that your mom would never buy for you because it had no redeeming health benefits. Nevertheless, the Count Chocula mascot is what has made the product so popular for nearly four decades. Released in 1971 with Franken Berry as the first wave of General Mill’s monster-themed cereals, the Count was an immediate hit thanks to his appealing characteristics–vampire accent, sharp teeth and a love of chocolate marshmallows.

Over time, Count Chocula’s appearance has been refined several times over, from frightening and fierce to cartoonish and goofy, but never for a moment lost an ounce of swagger. Although expansions to the monster clan like Fruit Brute and Yummy Mummy never quite made it, Count Chocula and his counterparts now enjoy a huge cult following. Today, Count Chocula assumes the role of pack leader among the monster cereal mascots, which also includes the likes of dimwitted Franken Berry and later-introduced Boo Berry.

#4: Sugar Bear

Slogan: “Can’t get enough of that Golden Crisp!”

Analysis: Sugar Bear is so damn cool I can’t even stand it. Picture a combination of the Fonz, Dean Martin and the Dos-Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World” in the form of an anthropomorphic bear. The guy just can’t lose. And that is precisely what makes Sugar Bear so enormously appealing. Few cereal mascots were bonified “winners.” Characters like the Trix Rabbit had the Wile E. Coyote gene; they were so clueless and bumbling that they rarely ever got a hold of the prize they pined for. Sugar Bear did it with ease an an overwhelmingly calm nature, and he made his antagonist, Grannie Goodwitch, look like a fool in the process.

First introduced in 1964 on the Saturday morning cartoon Linus the Lionhearted, Sugar Bear’s laid-back demeanor has allowed him to outlast the test of time. He witnessed the end of the Sugar Crisp era and the dawn of the Golden Crisp age, thwarting away bad guys who threatened to steal away his bowl of sugary goodness. Above all, when no one else could, Sugar Bear was able to make turtlenecks look cool. He was the smoothest, hippest, and baddest product mascot we have ever seen.

#3: Trix Rabbit

Slogan: “Silly Rabbit, Trix are for Kids.”

Analysis: On the opposite end of the coolness spectrum is the poor, pitiful Trix Rabbit. The Trix Rabbit loved the fruity and wonderful taste of Trix cereal, but could never quite get his hands on a bowl of it. This was the fault of those rambunctious little rascals who continuously claimed that he was a “silly rabbit,” and that “Trix are for kids.”  Really, would it have been too much to ask for one measly bowl of cereal? To be honest, I wholeheartedly understand the Trix Rabbit’s frustration. Perhaps the simple solution would have been to go to the grocery store and buy his own box?

Despite the Trix Rabbit’s feeble attempts at scoring a bowl of the cereal he made famous, he remains one of the most recognizable figureheads in the breakfast industry. Since his debut in 1959, the Trix Rabbit’s tenure as the cereal’s mascot has been longstanding and powerful; Trix welcomed its own yogurt line in the mid-1990’s and has perennially topped the sales boards of children’s breakfast cereals since the product’s inception. Say what you want about his constant failures, but plain and simple, the Trix Rabbit puts asses in the seats.

#2: Cap’n Crunch

Slogan: “You and the Cap’n make it hap’n.”

Analysis: What is there to say about this naval legend other than the fact that he was my idol during adolescence? I don’t think any other product mascot positively influenced my cereal-consumption experience as much as the Cap’n. He gave waking up for school a new purpose. We shared so many gloriously non-soggy meals together that a special bond was formed, one which continues to this day. Original Cap’n Crunch, Peanut Butter Crunch, Crunch Berries…I enjoyed them all. Quite honestly, me and the Cap’n did make it happen.

First introduced in 1963, Cap’n Crunch has since proved himself more than worthy of sailing the milky seas. Through countless advertising campaigns and promotions, the Cap’n’s pioneering leadership qualities helped guide generations of adoring children and young teens. The best-selling Post cereal to date, Cap’n Crunch has been spun-off into over twenty variations, all of which were proudly represented by the Cap’n himself. Strange as it is, he makes us forget that we’re actually admiring an elderly, mustachioed man dressed as a sailor. But because of his continuous successes, Cap’n Crunch is well deserving of the #2 spot.

#1: Tony the Tiger

Slogan: “They’re G-r-r-reat!”

Analysis: And the #1 spot belongs to the Bo Jackson of cereal mascots, Tony the Tiger. He’s the prototype All-American–athletic, popular, friendly, motivated…as far as orange cartoon felines go, he’s the anti-Garfield. As consumers, he makes us feel entirely comfortable adoring a giant, talking cat that skateboards and plays football with small children. His distinct booming voice is recognized just about anywhere and his ability to do just about anything physical gives Tony an unheralded mass appeal.

First introduced on a box of Frosted Flakes in 1958, Tony’s road to fame was not effortless. He actually had to win the heart of the public by beating our potential suitors Katy the Kangaroo, Elmo the Elephant and Newt the Gnu in a Kellogg’s campaign designed to find the face of the Frosted Flakes brand in 1952. He was forced to make a name for himself when he appeared on Frosted Flakes packaging accompanied by Hanna-Barbera characters Huckleberry Hound and Snagglepuss. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that Tony became a cereal icon; Kellogg’s gave the mascot human-like traits and a boisterous Italian-American characterization. It took decades, but the gregarious Tiger was finally transformed into a breakfast God.

Find someone who dislikes Tony the Tiger. I defy you. It’s simply impossible. He’s revolutionized the cereal advertising landscape. He’s given Frosted Flakes a voice, face and a name. He’s the one and only tiger… with the one and only taste.

Honorable Mentions:

Dig-Em (Smacks)

Snap, Crackle and Pop (Rice Krispies)

Sonny (Cocoa Puffs)

Toucan Sam (Fruit Loops)

  1. Bagel Boy
    August 31, 2010 at 12:00 am

    I don’t think the Cap’n deserves such a high rating… his slogan should be: “You and the Cap’n are guaranteed to cut the shit out of the roof of your mouth.”

    What about the lesser known mascots such as Wilbur the Wallabee? (the face of ‘Square-Shaped Rice Cereal’)

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