Once, twice, thrice I have featured commercials for kids’ breakfast cereal on my Retro Ad Tuesday feature. One thing each and every one of those posts did was expose the incredible amount of douchebaggery and assholery that could be found in the typical 80’s cereal ad aimed at naive, innocent children. Let’s face it, the short stories told in these sugar coated spots were reduced to complete patheticness by the gall of the cruel and inhumane running gags perpetrated by the morally bankrupt cereal mascots that tied each and every ad in these extremely sad campaigns together. Was it a true reflection on the state of society while under the influence of colored marshmallows and oat blobs, or was it just catering to the fact that kids just like watching dickish behavior?
However, for this week’s tribute to the TV ads of yesteryear, we’re going to make you forget all about the nasty shenanigans that went down in Milk and Orange Juice Land, and re-introduce you to a cereal with a commercial that not only would easily win its way into Advertising Heaven, but was actually one of the cutest ads ever put onto the small screen!
Awwwwww, wasn’t that just adorable! Here’s another version of the ad from the same time period!
Meet Crispy, the fun loving…. um….. critter who shills for the cereal with his name on it.
He could be a bear… whose mother maybe crossbred with a giraffe or a bumblebee? Whatever he is, he’s awful happy and adorable… even with that gigantic honker protruding from his face. If you were a kid watching this ad on a Saturday morning when it first aired in 1987, you would have had no idea why Crispy had a large snout other than the fact that he was clearly a circus freak… but your parents knew the secret. His voice was based on the uber-recognizable squawk of Mr. Jimmy Durante.
In a time when parents felt safe leaving their children home alone with puppets, Crispy and all of his animal pals swarm around a small child trying to finish their breakfast so they can grab their My Little Pony lunchbox and walk 10 miles to school in the snow uphill both ways (you know, like we all did back in the day). These talking animal crackers then all take turns trying to utter the cereal’s catchphrase word that is too big for young mouths. We may not have learned who Jimmy Durante was, but we certainly learned a new word long before it appeared on one of our junior high vocabulary lists….
If you were a kid subjected to this ad five times a day, how could you not start throwing around the word “indubitably” while playing kickball or jumping rope during recess? Sure, you had no idea what it meant, much like all of those nasty playground chants you sung, but it was such a fun new word!
And you don’t have to be the owner of the one and only Goatacus to appreciate the cute little caprine that gets the honor of telling the audience that Crispy Critters is part of a “baa-aaa-aaalanced breakfast!”
As memorable as these Crispy Critters commercials are, at least to me, there’s a reason the cereal itself doesn’t come to the forefront of your mind when you take a stroll down the breakfast aisle of your supermarket. That’s because this cereal was not only an utter failure, it was actually a double failure! Crispy Critters was first introduced by Post way back in 1964… and here’s the truly retro ad to prove it!
For whatever reason, kids didn’t buy into the idea of eating animal crackers for breakfast, and Crispy Critters was quickly returned to the back of the pantry at Post HQ to expire and grow mold. But you know what they say… if at first you don’t succeed, try try again!
So Post reintroduced Crispy Critters in 1987, thinking that maybe the next generation of kids would eat the cereal their parents threw out the window when nobody was looking. While they certainly did a better job with the advertising the second time around, the fact remains that animal shaped cereal blobs just aren’t what kids want to see at the breakfast table. Perhaps a large part of the problem could be found right at the top of the box…
While cereal companies are forced by the Health Nazis these days to make their boxed treats healthier, back in the 60’s and 80’s, kids weren’t having none of that low sugar shit. Not in an era when half the cereals on the shelf were full of teeth rotting marshmallows. Alas, we must accept the fact that while Crispy Critters was certainly a novel idea that was promoted by an awesome commercial… the product itself was a huge piece of indubitable crap, and thus why it has been off the market for a quarter of a century now, and may never see the light of day again.
And so we have seen today what happens to cereals that play nice in their commercials…. they end up in the garbage can before you can even say “Indubitably disgusting!” But for a memorable jingle sung by a 100 year old deceased comedian dressed up as a cute fuzzy wuzzy Care Bears reject, The Nest has to give a sugar free high five to the makers of Crispy Critters… the only cereal in the history of floating strawberries that was shaped like animals! Make that cherry picked, popular animals… just like those species elitists who make the Barnum Animal Crackers. No squirrels, skunks, or possums need apply for this cereal. Maybe that’s another reason Crispy Critters became one of breakfast’s biggest failures…