The Kellogg Company, a world-famous manufacturer of breakfast cereals, recently announced on Twitter that it will be remaking boxes for its Corn Pops brand, after it received a complaint about allegedly racist artwork on the packaging. The current boxes feature cartoon “corn pops” frolicking about a retail mall. Some of the “pops” are shown shopping, others playing in an arcade or water fountain, and one is depicted skateboarding down an escalator. A single “pop,” which appears to be somewhat darker than the others, is shown working as a janitor waxing the floors.
A Twitter user tweeted: “Why is literally the only brown corn pop on the whole cereal box the janitor? This is teaching kids racism,” according to a usatoday.com report. Kellogg issued a Twitter reply the following day, stating: “Kellogg is committed to diversity & inclusion. We did not intend to offend – we apologize. The artwork is updated & will be in stores soon.”
In truth, however, I’m not certain the previous Corn Pops box was any less offensive, as it featured a white man cracking a long whip towards the viewer.
Further investigation by this author has revealed other unconscionable cereal indiscretions.
For example, General Mills’ Count Chocula, Frankenberry and Booberry cereal series sported stylized versions of a vampire, monster and ghost, respectively. This is an obvious affront to the fictitious and supernatural monster and demon community (FSMDC). General Mills makes Cocoa Puffs, as well, a product represented by a “cuckoo bird.” This “crazy” avian actually touts the brand by repeatedly averring that he is “cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs…cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, etc.,” thus shamelessly mocking those who may at times struggle with their sanity. The Twin Cities-based company also manufactures the Trix brand, boxes of which sport an all-white roller-skating rabbit. I can’t be the only one to find it disturbing that an albino bunny on wheels is so prominently displayed on a sugar-filled product named for acts of prostitution.
Then there is the breakfast behemoth’s “Lucky Charms” cereal, whose boxes feature various iterations of a Leprechaun, often spouting the phrase, “They’re magically delicious!” This tiny, green Irishman with buckles on his little shoes probably should be offensive to those who hail from the Emerald Aisle, but it appears that, as is the case with the University of Notre Dame’s logo, a grizzled and shriveled old Leprechaun in a street-fighter’s stance, the Irish are still slow to feel slighted. This is probably because they are drunk most of the time. (The Irish know I'm kidding).
But back to the Kellogg Company again. The now-embattled Michigan organization is the maker of Rice Krispies, and employs cartoon midgets named “Snap, Crackle and Pop” in an effort to foster sales of this morning staple. Only small-minded people would be okay with this ploy. As if this weren’t enough, the company marketed “Sugar Smacks” by depicting one of the creepiest clowns imaginable on the boxes. (Check it out yourself). And that’s not all. Boxes of its “Froot Loops” cereal, targeted at kids, are adorned with images of a toucan with an oversized beak in various pastel colors. A “fruity” cereal with a gaily-colored tropical bird? All that’s missing is an LGBTQ flag.
To recap, whether breakfast cereal boxes promote racism and intolerance, or expose our kids to deliberately misspelled words, rabbit hookers, and gay toucans, there can be no doubt as to the nefarious intentions of Big Cereal. You’ve been warned. We’ve got your number, cereal makers.
And, there is more than just the exposure of rampant bigotry working against the industry. A recent study, reported by The New York Times, reveals that almost half of millennials don’t eat cereal because it’s “inconvenient.” These millennials say they’d rather grab a breakfast bar than have to go to the trouble of pouring milk and rinsing out a cereal bowl.
These two facts together may prove to be cereal killers.