September 29, 2008
While half-watching cartoons with my girls, I found myself staring at a familiar face: The Trix Rabbit. Although CGI, he was just as animated as I remembered, pimping a different kind of Trix, but still the same “silly rabbit.” After his attempt at stealing Trix from the kids was foiled another “critter” bombarded my living room. And another.
And then it hit me. How come we never hear about “critter” advertising in the trades, at awards shows, in the blogosphere and, most conspicuously, from the agencies creating them? It is as if these commercials, and all their colorful animated stars, exist in a vacuum, never-never land, like they were made in Bollywood not Hollywood.
I know absolutely no one in our industry that works on these accounts. Do any of you? What agencies are making all this work? Do they put it on their credentials? How deep does one have to go to find a Fruity Pebbles case study on the agency website?
Early on at Leo Burnett, I recall doing time on Kellogg’s cereals, though mostly for adults. Once, however, I was tasked with creating a new campaign for Apple Jacks. Remember those? While ostensibly made with apples and cinnamon, the cereal tasted wonderfully like neither. Our job was to define that taste and make it relevant for kids. I still remember my line: Apple Jacks tastes like what you like. Brilliant, right? It never got out of the agency.
Anyway, that was the last time I contemplated advertising (for) children’s breakfast cereal. Until I had children. Until just now.
As practitioners of the craft, we never “go there.”
There’s no category for it at award shows. (Is there?) Granted, the universal crappiness of the genre (if genre is the right word) precludes these sorts of creations from short-listing anywhere but on mom’s grocery list. But you get my point. Advertising for children’s cereal is a non-topic. Aside from occasional regulatory blather about advertising to kids, we (as an industry) neither criticize nor promote it. Scroll your blogroll. Check the archives. Try and find one story. Of Sir Martin Sorrel or Howard Draft there are hundreds. Count Chocula and Tucan Sam. None.
Is it a conspiracy or just the opposite, nobody cares?