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WTF Friday: NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! March 10, 2011

Posted by J. in Genius.

I saw a headline this week that drove an icy dagger of fear into my heart.  My bowels clutched, my hands shook, and felt my sanity start to unravel a wee bit.

"Cap'n Crunch Sails Into Obscurity"


No, it’s more sensational journalism at work.  Knowing it won’t get reads if they titled the article “PepsiCo to Change Cereal Advertising,” they went with a heading that purposely led you to think that they were planning on getting rid of what is arguably one of the best breakfast cereals ever invented.

*deep breath*

If you click the image of the smiling Cap’n, you can read the whole article.   The upshot of it is that the folks at PepsiCo, under pressure from the White House and health activists, will no longer be using the Cap’n as their spokestoon.  There’s been a push on in recent years in trying to get the makers of sugary cereals to stop putting cartoon characters on the boxes and running ads during cartoons.  We must stop making these sugary delights so appealing to kids!

What the fuck, grownups?

Um, we’re talking about a foodstuff that is crunchy and sweet.  You can get rid of Tony the Tiger, you can pull all the advertising for Cookie Crisp entirely, and kids are still going to want to eat it.   Go ahead and try it.  You mark my words on this one.  You can make sugary cereals as unappealing as you want.  My kids don’t want Cap’n Crunch because they’ve seen the commercials.  They don’t pick out Cocoa Puffs because they’re charmed by Sonny going cuckoo for them.  You can take away the cartoons and the characters and the catch-phrases and it won’t matter.  Kids are still going to choose those sugary cereals over Kix and Cheerios, or any other boring breakfast cereal the grownups want them to eat every single time, and I’ll tell you why.

They want them–nay, WE want them–because they are deeeeefuckinglicious.

My favorites are the Monster Cereals (Boo Berry, Franken Berry, and Count Chocula) and Lucky Charms.  Whoever thought of putting marshmallows into cereal should have won a Nobel Prize.  Genius, man.

I’m kind of tired of “health activists” blaming the obesity epidemic on things like cereal and soda and anything that isn’t fucking steamed broccoli.  Here’s a hint: kids don’t get fat because they eat the occasional bowl of Cap’n Crunch for breakfast.  They’re not chunky because they have a half-pint of chocolate milk with their tuna sandwich at lunch instead of plain skim milk.  They’re fat because they have four bowls of Cap’n Crunch and a half-gallon of chocolate milk while playing X-Box for three hours after school instead of being outside riding a damn bike or throwing a ball around.  Having the occasional Happy Meal with fries and playing with the little plastic toy inside didn’t make your kid fat.  Visiting McDonald’s so often that the girl at the drive-through window knows you on a first-name basis did.

At the end of the day, the marketing might be aimed at the kids, but the parents are the ones buying the groceries.  PespiCo isn’t making kids fat.  Parents are making their kids fat.  You want to know how to stop the childhood obesity epidemic?  You can’t.  End of story.  You can blame marketing, you can blame manufacturers, but the blame lies squarely at the feet of the parents who don’t know how to say no.   No, you can’t have a bowl of cereal.  We’re going to eat dinner in an hour.  Have a banana if you’re starving.  And go outside and play.

I know they’re still going to make Cap’n Crunch, they’re just going redesign the packaging and pretend it’s not appealing to children anymore.  That’s fine.  And hey, I think if they were smart they’d spend their advertising money appealing to the Adult Swim audience, but that’s just me.

And maybe there is a chance that the parents that are too stupid to understand that Doritos aren’t a food group have kids that are in turn too stupid to realize that the really good cereal is hiding inside a cartoon-free box.  Maybe they’ll be so confused by the staggering decline in good cereal choices they’ll just have a box of Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies for breakfast instead.  (Methinks the equally confused stoners will choose the Cosmic Brownies.  Call it a hunch.)

What concerns me is that this feels a lot like a slippery slope.  What’s next? Where does it end?  What happens when they find out that even if you take the toy out of the Happy Meal, parents are still feeding fast food to their kids?  What are they going to do when they realize that you could (to paraphrase Denis Leary) put sugary cereal in a black box, call it Crunchy Lardass Turdnuggets, and hide it in the darkest, most spider-infested corner of the market, and kids (and stoners) are still going to line up around the block to get it?

It’s the pursuit of fucking happiness, man.

You know what’s going to happen next.  And you better figure out, as one commenter on the article put it, how many cases of Cap’n Crunch you’re going to need to buy now to guarantee that you can have a bowl everyday forever.

First they came for the Happy Meal toys, and I said nothing because the McNuggets are just as tasty without them.

Then they came for my Cap’n Crunch, and I said nothing because the Crunch Berries tear up the roof of my mouth something awful and anyway, I prefer Lucky Charms.

But then they came for my Ben and Jerry’s and replaced it with lowfat organic yogurt.

Oh, the humanity.



1. Yorkie - March 11, 2011

I think it started officially when Cookie Monster was forced to declaim that cookies “are a sometimes food” and began gorging instead on fresh fruits.

Considering the original target audience of Sesame Street was inner-city kids and taking into account the such kids, particularly the ones on the lower levels of income, have limited access to fresh produce…

Nanny State, here we come.

2. poopslacey - March 11, 2011

And not for nothing, Cookie Monster wasn’t about encouraging binge eating. He was Jim Henson’s response to Things That Go Bump in the Night. He showed preschoolers that monsters aren’t scary…in fact, this one right here has a hunger for COOKIES that can’t be slaked! Cute, funny, and best of all, not scary. Which was, of course, the whole point. It was never about the cookies.

3. Helen - March 11, 2011

I love how practically all the comments are about Cap’n Crunch not being produced/sold any more LOL That means none of them read anything past the headline.

poopslacey - March 11, 2011

Happens all the time, Helen. People are so friggin’ stupid it makes me want to weep.

4. bezzie - March 11, 2011

Captain Crunch? Who can afford that???
At our house it’s Colossal Crunch. Lucky Charms??? Give me Marshmallow Mateys. Or Scrunchy Marshmallow Dreams if times are really tight. Ha ha!

5. Karen - March 11, 2011

Our kids were allowed sugar cereals one morning a year — New Year’s Day. They spent all year deciding what to buy. The rest of the year it was Cheerios and Wheaties.

It’s the parents that need to develop some balls and say NO to kids — no to things that are unhealthy. One ex-DIL thinks chicken nuggets, mac & cheese and fries is a balanced meal. No wonder our grandson has a weight problem. He doesn’t eat things like that here. When he eats healthy meals here he thinks he’s helping me eat healthier — which he is. Occasional splurges are okay — but not a box of cookies a day.

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