Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Kaboom. Please pass the sugar.

When I was a kid in the 50s our breakfast often consisted of cereal. I was a Sugar Pops man, myself. When Mom left the room, we would go for the sugar bowl in the middle of table, spooning mounds of it on our already sugar-ladened carb fest.

Today I'm diabetic.

Thanks to brilliant marketing.
Cereal's position as America's default breakfast food is a remarkable feat, not of flavor or culture, but of marketing and packaging design. It's a century-long history of advertising, a brilliant campaign that capitalized on the intersection of industrialization, health-consciousness, and changing class attitudes that completely upended the way Americans ate. And it all began at a moment when products were primed to transcend regional tastes through the rise of mass-marketing.
I came across an hilarious piece about cereal today, courtesy of Instapundit.  Here's a portion, but you should read it all.
Look at this box. Who is that box for? Who is the intended demographic here? 
People who are coming up in the world? People who are upwardly mobile? 
No. Kaboom was for people -- children, I mean -- who had decided to give up on life. And it's a sad thing for a six-year-old to have already thrown in the towel and said, "Ah well. The hopes and dreams of kindergarten are ultimately exposed as so much folly. 
Give me the Kaboom, Ma. I'm ready to settle." 
Because that's all such a cereal is fit for, those who settle, who accept, those who lower their gaze in defeat and shame. This, this horrid Clown Cereal that looks like it's some kind of weird generic brand but it's actually marketed by General Mills. I suppose this was General Mills' attempt to tap the "downscale demographic" in six-year-olds. 
First of all, children hate clowns. All children. There's a joke that everyone's afraid of clowns. Well that's not true. But everyone does hate them. Children most of all, because clowns get up in your grill with horrible jokes and diseased breath, eyes glassy with vodka and pedophilia. 
So who's this cereal for exactly? I suppose clowns might buy it for their victims and abductees, but that's not a large market. Well, not that large, anyway. Couple hundred thousand units a year, tops.
I can't believe you haven't already clicked through to the original article. Do it now.
And the cereal was not even good. You would think that if you're selling this abortion of a breakfast cereal to the primary school underclass -- the emerging nihilistic YOLO demographic -- you would at least load it up with sugar because, what does it even matter?, the sort of kids who eat Kaboom know they're going to die young anyway. They have no illusions. 
But you'd be wrong. Actually Kaboom was not very sweet at all. 
I think they decided to skimp on sugar so they could put extra sugar on the more upscale cereals like Frosted Flakes and Frosted Mini-Wheats. 
It was mostly just... oats. 
You know: Like what they feed to the animals. 
Prize at the bottom of the box? Oh no way, not with Kaboom cereal. No way they're throwing a ha'penny whistle in there for the poor kids. You're lucky they even bothered putting the cereal into a box, instead of just distributing it off a government assistance truck into your cupped hands. 
I think occasionally they had mail-in sweepstakes where you could win a welfare voucher. 
Or maybe a coupon for the orphanage PX. So you could buy some extra gruel and sewing supplies for the weekend.
Go on now. Click through. Or sign a petition to bring back Kaboom.

No comments:

Post a Comment