They Come to Praise General Mills, Not Eat Their Cereal

A generation from now, the phrase “Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs” may have no meaning. “Magically delicious” may go the way of the Corvair.

General Mills has announced it is changing the way it markets its high-sugar cereals. There will be “no TV ads targeted at children, no movie tie-ins, no Internet marketing and no licensing of popular cartoon characters.” The Parents Television Council, ever the self-proclaimed masters of what is Good and Right on the boob tube, was quick to praise the move, but had nothing to say about the nutritional value of the cereals themselves.

What are the marketing alternatives? Will General Mills start advertising to adults instead? And will the slogans change? Will we see green clover and blue diamond marshmallows on the pages of the Economist, or advertised on “Meet the Press” on Sunday mornings?

If the cerealmaker is serious about not marketing to children, they might change the boxes, too. All the sweet cereals somehow have cartoon characters on the front. Shocking.

If children get fat, parents can no longer blame General Mills’ advertisements on Nickelodeon. But they can still blame the undeniable temptation of a cartoon-covered cereal box.

Consumer group praises General Mills [Pioneer Press]