Frootless

Paul Dalbery

Josh Mehler

11/05/09

Essay 3

Frootless

Throughout our modern culture, Advertisements have been present in almost every place imaginable. We might believe that we are not affected by them, but subconsciously we are surrounded by hundreds of ads a day. Sometimes these advertisements can be trying to persuade you to buy an unethical product. I have seen countless ads about unhealthy food, which has been a major part of our nation being addicted to these high fat and sugar items. Some organizations have come together and put out what they call an “anti-ad”. These anti-ads are a way to mock these unethical organizations in a visual way. These anti-ads are usually humorous but are sometimes very serious. I have decided to create an anti-ad to show how sugary cereals, such as fruit loops, are leading to child obesity.

One can’t turn on a T.V. for a child without seeing the all familiar icon, Toucan Sam, for America’s favorite cereal…Froot Loops. The bright colors and happy children chasing their favorite cereal, paints a picture of excitement and happiness. Most people don’t realize it, but this perfect picture is exactly what marketers are trying to get across in order to sell their cereal. To see a great example of this one only need to look at the boxes lining the shelf.

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The first thing that pops out is the various bright colors layered all over the box. The Froot Loops pouring into the vibrant white milk allowing the colors to almost pop off the box, causes children to have their eyes open wide with joy while their strolling down the aisle. Young children are always drawn towards vibrant colors and the marketers use that to their advantage. Toucan Sam himself is covered in the colors of Froot Loops and always has a smile on his face trying to portray that Froot Loops lead to happiness. While in fact Froot Loops when eaten in excess can lead to child obesity and other serious health problems.

Six hundred and forty-two times a year, the average American preschooler sees an advertisement for cereal according to a new study by Yale University (Harris). Children are influenced by these ads and most of them are for sugary cereals such as Froot Loops. Froot Loops tries to put across that their cereal is the “Smart Choice” which puts reassurance in the parent’s minds that their children are safe from child obesity. The Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University reports that cereal companies spend more than $156 million a year on ads geared for kids. It’s no secret that the cereal business is a major industry and that their pushing their products on younger kids who don’t know better about unhealthy cereals.

The best example of Froot Loops advertisements towards kids is in their popular T.V. spots. As seen in this video:

The usual characters, Toucan Sam and his three nephews, are all there eating they’re delicious Froot loops. The scene opens up with an alien zooming down towards the jungle where Toucan Sam lives. It is apparent that he is after Toucan Sam for his Froot Loops. As he flies through the canopies, the trees are lush with various fruits. The alien captures Toucan Sam from his nephews and his home and the announcer asks “can you please help save Toucan Sam?”

Again the colors play a major role in this advertisement and are there to show how exciting and fresh the cereal is. The home itself where Toucan Sam lives is completely decorated with these same bright colors. The fruit in the trees are much larger than the realistic fruit they represent. This exaggeration is to show how “fruitful” the cereal is and how great they must taste. It makes the statement that each loop is packed with great delicious flavor, while in reality they are just crammed with sugar. Froot Loops actually started out as “Fruit Loops” until in 1959, a lawsuit was filed by Renee Paxton in Paxton v. Kellogg’s. In the case, Paxton claimed that the branding was misleading, as the product didn’t actually contain any fruit. The case was settled out of court, with Kellogg’s agreeing to rebrand their cereal as “Froot Loops” (Orsen).

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The most cunning part of this advertisement is when the marketers decide that they’re going to go with the “Save Toucan Sam” campaign. The commercial asks children to please buy the cereal and log on in order to help save their beloved icon. This is a direct way to guilt young children into buying the sugary cereals. The children also feel as though they are heroes by helping and continue to eat Froot Loops. The marketers also ask the kids to log into their site where many games and pictures of Froot Loops are help which make the child hungry and also keeps Froot Loops constantly on their minds.

The target group for the Froot Loop ads is younger children in preschool, male or female. The bright colors, happy sounds, stories of adventure and of course the sweet tasting cereal all draw in the youth of our nation. The commercial, however, seems to be aimed more toward the younger male group. Aliens and Space often appeal more to the younger males, and the longing for the quest to save Toucan Sam is definitely too great to pass.

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This rising problem has persuaded me to create my own “anti-ad”. The anti ad would be an image of Toucan Sam sitting in a doctor’s room, looking very ill. He would be very obese and be holding a bowl of Fruit Loops. He would then be saying “Maybe I should have listened to my doctor rather than Follow my Nose?”  I feel as though this would get a strong point across. The obese Toucan Sam would show children along with parents that they should think twice about letting their breakfast consist of sugary cereals. The kids especially would think that they don’t want to look like that when they grow up and will change their ways.

Since color seems to be the major influence in all of Froot Loops ads, I would make color be a major factor in my anti-ad. The whole picture would be dark grey and black with some faint colors. The doctor’s office would look dreary and lonesome, much different from the usual home of Toucan Sam in the jungle. I would also have Toucan Sam’s beak be completely light grey to show how Toucan Sam has literally lost everything he has come to love. The whole mixture of black and grey serve to portray how Froot Loops really is not a bringer of fun but rather a bringer of suffering if eaten out of moderation.

Up on top the Title would say “Froot Less” in big bubbly letters as if they were about to bulge. This would give off the impression that fruit loops are actually not a good source of fruit and in no way healthy. Parents will definitely realize that they should be buying their children a much more healthful cereal. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so that’s when we should be eating the best food for you. The Bulging letters will again give off the impression of obesity and being misshapen.

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The Target Audience for my Anti-Ad will be for parents of younger children and the actual children themselves. It is important for parents to be aware, but it in a necessity for the children to understand what their eating. By using one of the children’s’ iconic figures, the can relate to the anti-ad and understand that it is aimed for them. Seeing Toucan Sam will draw their attention to the anti-ad and then they will be saddened at the fact that he is ill from being obese.

In the corner of the Doctors room in the anti-ad, I’ll have a doctor with a long list of diseases such as Diabetes and high blood pressure. Standing right behind the doctor, would be the three little nephew toucans. They would be holding their cereal boxes and bowls and be crying with their heads down. This will be an emotional image, but it will definitely get the point across. The children seeing this anti-ad will be very disturbed but it will definitely leave an imprint in their minds that they must eat healthier. The list of diseases will also serve as a reminder that your life can definitely be shortened by being obese. This reminder will be targeted more towards the parents, but also the older kids.

This anti-ad would portray a strong point which would be taken seriously by both children and their parent. Eating these sugary cereals such as Froot Loops can lead to child obesity and many health problems if eaten in excessive amounts. The change in color and mood would immediately draw attention and cause Froot Loop customers to reconsider and maybe go for the healthier choice of cereal. As our nation allows more fatty and sugary foods to be marketed towards young children, our problem with child obesity will continue to increase. The “anti-ad” is a very effective way to get a point across, and child obesity is definitely a matter which must be confronted.

Works Cited

Orsen, Walter. “More “fruity” cereal class actions.” Overlawyered — Chronicling the high cost of our legal system. 1 Oct. 2009. Web. 18 Nov. 2009. <http://overlawyered.com/2009/10/more-fruity-cereal-class-actions/&gt;.

Couric, Katie. “Katie Couric’s Notebook: Sugary Cereals – Couric & Co. – CBS News.” Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment & World News – CBS News. CNN, 30 Oct. 2009. Web. 18 Nov. 2009. <http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/11/02/couricandco/entry5495342.shtml&gt;.

Harris, Dan. “Study: Least Healthy Cereals Most Marketed to Children – ABC News.” ABCNews.com – Breaking news, politics, online news, world news, feature stories, celebrity interviews and more – ABC News. ABC, 26 Oct. 2009. Web. 18 Nov. 2009. <http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Parenting/study-healthy-cereals-marketed-children/story?id=8913808>.

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