I was reminded the other day how the He-Man, Transformers, and G.I. Joe cartoons came to be, back in the 1980s. They, along with about a bazillion other cartoons back then, were created to sell toys that already existed. If you think about it, it was a brilliant move on the part of toy manufacturers. We became so addicted to the cartoons, we had to go and beg our parents for the toys.
So that got me thinking about all the fantastic characters that were created to sell other stuff to us as consumers. They pitched everything from raisins, chips, cereal, tuna fish, frozen vegetables, tires, cleaning supplies, and just about everything else you can possibly think of.
Over the next few weeks I'm going to be sharing some of my favorites; the ones that have stuck in my head over the years, or even just entertained me to no end. I think a lot of them will be from the food aisles of the supermarket, but who knows who will show up over the next few weeks.
I thought I would start with everyone's favorite Italian-American Tiger, Tony the Tiger. The Kellogg's Frosted Flakes mascot, has been on the job since 1951, and he's still looking good. I could sit here and lie and tell you that I fell in love with him the first time I ever saw a commercial, but come one now. The idea of me even remembering the first time I saw Tony is a ridiculous concept. I was a little kid, how the heck would something like that stick in my brain?
What I can tell you is how much I begged my mom for Frosted Flakes as a kid, and I can lame all the blame on Tony. He was so much fun to watch on screen, and I loved the way he talked. I even vaguely remember various family members making it into the commercials, though they didn't make that much impression on me. I can also remember asking my mom why he didn't have a regular cartoon. I just couldn't get it. Here was a really cool cartoon character, without a cartoon. It made no sense to me, and I'm still thinking Kellogg messed up when they didn't go all out with him.
To this day, when I'm going down the cereal aisle at the supermarket, I'm just a tad bit tempted to pick up Frosted Flakes. I don't even like them that well, but my love for Tony, or his magical brainwashing abilities, gets to me every time. And there are even times, when my inner child is screaming for attention, that I cave in, and Kellogg's Frosted Flakes makes it into the cart.