I received an email from a friend recently in which she outlined her favorite breakfast cereal. (I know… exciting. Yep, it’s practically Goethe-Carlyle when you trade emails with me, thank you very much.)
Anyhow, it got me thinking about a recent trip to the cereal aisle of my local supermarket.
I noticed a cereal that I hadn’t even thought of in awhile: Honey Smacks.
OK, forget that I remember this product from back when it called Sugar Smacks — long before the suits at Kellogg’s got their panties in a twist sometime in the 1970’s when sugar somehow became bad and they feared freaking out every mom on the planet. (Don’t bother changing one freaking ingredient, just tweak the name by referencing honey… ‘Hey moms! Bees make it! How bad can it be?’)
Here’s my real problem, though. It’s the frog mascot, Dig ‘Em. He used to be just a regular frog in a baseball cap that you see above, encouraging the five-year-old me to eat this sugar-infused unhealthy bowl of tiny lifeboat-looking wheat puffs.
Now look. He’s gone gangster… hat on sideways, loose shirt, flashing gang signs… if we could look behind the bowl we’d most likely see his jeans down around his butt.
That’s not the worst of it, though. Take a closer look. He’s not really a gangster, is he? He’s what the extremely Caucasian Kellogg’s account executive who has not stepped foot out of Battle Creek, Michigan in 20 years thinks a gangster looks like.
I can imagine the conversation…
Account executive one: We need a new angle, Lou. We need to re-boot Dig ‘Em, you know… make him hip, for the kids today.
Account executive two: How about a gangster? Kids are all into that gangster stuff now.
AE one: Bingo, Lou! You’re a genius! We’ll dress Dig ‘Em like Dillinger or Machine-Gun Kelley… we’ll give him a pin-striped suit, he’ll carry a violin case for his Tommy Gun, he’ll give the secret knock at the speakeasy so he can eat Honey Smacks!
AE two: No, no, Lenny. I mean a modern gangster. Like, you know, how those rappers are.
AE one: Bingo, Lou! You’re a genius! We’ll dress him like some rap stars all the kids like… How about the Sugar Hill Gang?
AE two: Dammit Lenny! You saw the memo! NEVER MENTION SUGAR IN THIS BUILDING AGAIN!
My one wish for the fine people at Kelloggs. Get back to the basics. Call it what it is: Sugar Smacks. Don’t try to dress up the frog to please suburbanite moms and their whiny brats.
Take a look at this 1966 box of Sugar Smack, Kelloggs, from back when you had a pair.
Holy fucking shit! Now that’s a cereal I can buy! The box is boasting that “Space Energy comes from Sugar Smacks.” What does that even mean? I don’t know but I love it. (Screw you FDA! Just try and prove that Space Energy doesn’t come from Sugar Smacks…) But the best thing is Mr. Spock on the cover pointing a goddamn gun at the head of the mom who is deciding what cereal to purchase.
“Go ahead, bitch, I dare you not to buy me,” he seems to sneer.
Now that is gangster.