Friday, June 11, 2004

Sugar High

I was in the cereal aisle of a supermarket a while ago, and I happened to notice that the expression on the face of Lucky the Leprechaun had drastically changed since I was a kid. I realize that not watching TV means I am somewhat sheltered when it comes to advertising, especially advertising directed at children, but this image seemed so over-the-top that I found it rather disturbing. Looking around, I saw that the same transmogrification had been visited on the Trix Rabbit (older version) and Count Chocula (older version here at the bottom of the page). The latter is especially annoying since I was always a big fan of vampire movies (though not scary movies in general until recently) and the indignity that the Count has been subjected to is a bit painful.

Of course you want your mascot to suggest interest in the product, or even enthusiasm, but this is more like blood-vessel-bursting pre-orgasmic ecstasy. I may be over-reacting, but something about this bothers me. Part of it is the deceptiveness -- no one like cereal that much -- but there is something else that I can't quite put my finger on.

Maybe it's the veniality of the image. Here is the face of gluttony itself portrayed not as one of the Seven Deadly Sins but as an admirable, or at least desirable, trait. I don't think that's quite it either, but it is close.

In the back of my mind I think that probably most of America's mothers look at this and say, "Yeah, right. Who are you trying to kid." But I am still kind of offended that people think we will find these blasphemies attractive.

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