Monday, March 30, 2015

2433 Crunch Time

Companies spend tons of money on the packaging of their products.  So you wonder about the subliminal messages said packaging is sending out.  Is it by design?  Or is it accidental?

Take the Cap'n Crunch cereal box I saw.  First message, of course, is that it's not spelled Captain, but Cap-apostrophe-N.  So don't expect this to be an IQ-improving spelling lesson for your child.

Another message is the Captain's -- excuse me Cap'n's -- anatomy.  Naturally, as a cartoon person, he follows the convention of having only 3 fingers and a thumb.  But they also show his eyebrows embedded in his sailor hat.  I don't know, could this be scarring our children on some level?  How many people are they liable to meet in life with eyebrows in their hat? 

Then there's the message of the Cap'n's eyes.  An article I read said they were quite intentionally made to look downward.  So that a middle or high shelf product placement would have the Cap'n staring right at a potential child customer. 

All well and good, except it establishes a cartoon motif that gets very scary when you turn over the box and see all the similarly depicted cartoon children engaged in a apparent track meet known as a Crunch-a-thon.

These children, who are carrying barbells made of brimming bowls of cereal, leaping energetically over high bars, pole-vaulting up to a Crunchberries-filled crows nest, and racing furiously around a track, have those same eyes. 

Bulging.  Focused.  Maniacal.  And quite ADHD looking.  Perhaps, as the box proclaims, "Crunch-a-tized."  Because, you know, they're fueled for the Crunch-a-thon by 11 grams of pure sugar for ever 3/4 cup bowl.

As any parent knows, less than half their likely consumption.

Final message. You be the judge. A bowl of energy? 

Or a cereal killer? 

America, ya gotta love it. 

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