loud music, animation mixed with live action, close-ups, and rapid cuts. Marketers also use food as entertainment where the product is linked to a desirable emotional state (CSPI, 2003; Samuels et al., 2003). Flavor, texture, and fun are the characteristics that foster brand appeal for products such as RTE sweetened breakfast cereals. Accompanying the close-ups of these food products are verbal references to product flavors or textures such as fruity or chocolaty, honey taste or marshmallow texture, crunchy or crispy. In many instances, the breakfast cereal product names reflect their contents (e.g., Frosted Flakes®, Frosted Mini Wheats®, Honey Comb®, Cocoa Pebbles®, Cookie Crisp®), underscoring and reinforcing sweet flavor qualities.

Branded Spokescharacters

Advertising approaches for breakfast cereals have generally revolved around characters that represented, promoted, or embodied specific brands. Many of the branded spokescharacters used today have been used for decades and often carry across several forms of communication including package designs, events, promotions, and advertising (Lawrence, 2003). The RTE breakfast cereal category represents a $6 billion annual business (Thompson, 2004). In 2004, the three major breakfast cereal companies—Kellogg Company, General Mills, and Kraft Foods—collectively invested $380 million in children’s advertisements in the United States (Ellison, 2005). These companies have used spokescharacters to market and build brand awareness, appeal, and loyalty for their respective packaged products.

Spokescharacters symbolize brands, often with a particular demeanor intended to set a tone for the product (Enrico, 1999). These anthropomorphic figures are designed to be fun and friendly for children, and each is

TABLE 4-12 Spokescharacters for Selected Ready-to-Eat Breakfast Cereal Brands

The Kellogg’s Company Cereals

Kraft Foods’ Post Cereals

Cereal

Character

Cereal

Frosted Flakes®

Tony the Tiger™

Golden Crisp®

Froot Loops!®

Toucan Sam®

Honeycomb®

Kellogg’s Smacks®

Dig ‘Em™ Frog

Alpha-Bits®

Rice Krispies®

Snap! Crackle! Pop!®

Fruity Pebbles® and Cocoa Pebbles®



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