Snapple recreates the classic Life cereal ad

By Chris Nashawaty
Updated April 19, 1996 at 04:00 AM EDT

Subject: Snapple’s ”Mikey” ad.

Synopsis: A new nostalgia-heavy TV commercial for the drink features Mikey, the finicky squirt who, as Life cereal’s prime hawker in the ’70s, was Madison Avenue’s golden child.

Back story: Using a process called digital compositing, a.k.a. Gumping, Industrial Light & Magic spliced a bottle of Snapple into the hugely popular ’70s ad. Locked in the spot’s time capsule are the pair of freckled, gap-toothed older kids who egg Mikey on with ”Let’s get Mikey, he’ll try anything!” The new ad, however, ends with a very ’90s spin: Unlike Life, Mikey doesn’t like Snapple (both products are owned by Quaker Oats). ”Those kids are unique and hilarious,” says the ad’s director, Rick Schulze. ”They’d be impossible to replace.”

Cultural significance: Contrary to a very popular belief, Mikey did not explode after chasing Pop Rocks with Coke. Mikey, in reality John Gilchrist, 28, is alive and well and currently working in radio sales in Manhattan. Gilchrist refuses to comment on the Mikey legacy.