The indispensable TV Tattle has a link to a story in Adweek about changes in Kellogg’s advertising policies that may lead to the disappearance of — or, at least a cutback in airtime for — some of its beloved advertising icons, including Tony the Tiger, Toucan Sam, and Snap, Crackle & Pop. According to the article, “by the end of 2008 the company will no longer advertise cereals that don’t meet a new set of self-imposed health standards to children under 12.” Considering I’m more of a Honey Bunches of Oats man myself, I’m not that shaken by the news. But it got me wondering how the jungle cat and tropical bird in question might be coping.
Let’s set the scene in the kitchen of a small, two-bedroom apartment in West Hollywood. The sink is filled with dirty dishes that spill onto an unkempt counter that’s littered with old take-out boxes, beer cans, and restaurant menus. At the grimy kitchen table, which is covered with piles of unopened bills, catalogs, and a smattering of movie scripts, we find Tony the Tiger, dressed in a smart suit, tie flipped back over his shoulder, about to dig in to a bowl of cereal. At the same time, Toucan Sam, disheveled in a pair of old boxer shorts, stumbles sleepily from out of his bedroom.
Toucan Sam: All-Bran? You’re having freakin’ All-Bran for breakfast? That’s just straight-up foul.
Tony the Tiger: Well good morning to you, too, Sam.
Toucan Sam: Dude, why not just dig up a bowl of mulch from the flower bed and pour some milk over it?
Tony the Tiger: Because I have an audition next week with Ron Howard, remember? The Siegfried & Roy biopic? I’ve got to go in there looking grrrrreat, er, I mean, looking like a fighting machine.
Toucan Sam: Not to be a downer, but isn’t that a little out of your range?
Tony the Tiger: Look, just because I’ve spent decades being a puppet for The Man…
Toucan Sam: [Testily interrupting.] The Man? Oh that’s rich. Show some respect! Where would either one of us be if it weren’t for Kellogg’s?
Tony the Tiger: I don’t know, Sam, maybe you’d be followingyour nose all the way to an Emmy, or the Oscars even! Remember all thedreams we had when we first got to this town? And now just because ofthis so-called childhood obesity epidemic, Kellogg’s is treating uslike leftover milk in a cereal bowl. There’ll be no tears from them aswe’re spilled down the drain, I can assure you of that!
Toucan Sam: Oh lord, how long have you been practicing that monologue?
Tony the Tiger: You’ve got to admit, it’s good.
Toucan Sam: And you’ve got to admit we’ve had a sweetrun. No ad campaign lasts forever, especially when it comes tomarketing to kids. I don’t see why you’re so bitter.
Tony the Tiger: [Picking up his cereal bowl and hurling it against the wall with a loud crash.] Because I’m not the one who coated those damnable flakes with sugar!
Toucan Sam: [Gently patting Tony’s fur with his beak.] Dude, it’s gonna be okay.
Tony the Tiger: [Wiping away a single tear.]Look at this dump. We’re two of the biggest stars in the ad game, andwe’re living in squalor! What stopped us from putting some of it awayin the bank?
Toucan Sam: A little thing called the ’90s. But no worries,dude. Thing will turn around. I wasn’t gonna tell you this till it wasa done deal, but I’m up for the next edition of The Surreal Life.
Tony the Tiger: What? Seriously?
Toucan Sam: Yeah, it’s gonna be me, Spuds MacKenzie, the Mucinex phlegm dude, The WB frog, and Mayor McCheese.
Tony the Tiger: I don’t know whether to give you a high-five or put my head in the oven.
Toucan Sam: Oh, and they’re gonna add either the Snugglemascot, or that Charmin bear that wipes her ass on a tree. It’s gonnacome down to money, but they definitely want a bear.
Tony the Tiger: I’m flabbergasted. Why didn’t my agent try to hook me up?
Toucan Sam: Because, Tony, I’m an entertainer. You are a thespian. And you’re gonna totally nail that Siegfried part.
Tony the Tiger: I don’t know, Sam…I mean, I don’t even have the right color fur!
Toucan Sam: So what? Technically, I’ve got a beak. Nobody at Froot Loops ever seemed to think I couldn’t sing about following my nose.
Tony the Tiger: Wow. I never even thought of that.
Toucan Sam: Come on, let’s go run lines. If you lose the part to that Hobbes hack, I might have to bite somebody’s head off myself.