It’s official…

January 29, 2010Jon Brooks 1 Comment »

A severe recession, crippling unemployment, a housing collapse, long-lasting foreign wars, a growing chasm between rich and poor, and a political system crippled by partisan gridlock, unable to grapple with entrenched problems…not a few commentators have speculated that American hegemony is rapidly waning, and that an analogy to the Fall of Rome might be in order.

Personally, I look for more esoteric signs of impending collapse. Perhaps this qualifies:

Chocolate Cheerios

In the midst of downsizing lifestyles and mandatory austerity, is such a product an offensive decadence or merely an inexpensive treat when more luxurious pleasures have fallen out of economic grasp?

In either case, Thought Gadgets deconstructs the pitch:

To understand Americans’ hunger for self-pleasure, simply read this box.

Cheerios has launched a new chocolate cereal that must compete with hundreds of alternatives in the aisle. In the U.S., Cheerios is a favorite of moms who want a wholesome, feel-good breakfast for kids. Yet General Mills knows that the real consumers — children — love a sweet treat in the morning. So here comes its new product with 9 grams of sweetness per approximately 25.5-gram serving, more than one-third pure sugar. When Sigmund Freud wrote of humanity’s lustful, chaotic “cauldron full of seething excitations,” he could have meant this.

So how can Chocolate Cheerios break through? By appealing to both Freud’s Id (lust) and Ego (restraint) at the same time. Chocolate Cheerios is “made with real cocoa” (natural ingredients), it “may reduce the risk of heart disease” (what mom doesn’t worry about her family’s health?), and of course comes with a “whole grain guarantee” (this is not just real natural food, but General Mills is so certain this is real, it guarantees it). Even the colors of the cereal itself are half white and half cocoa, visually meeting Id and Ego halfway.

“More than one-third pure sugar.” I hope at least you recycle the box.

One response to this entry

  • Ben Kunz Says:

    It is brilliance in product packaging. Not sure if the fall of Rome was preceded by chocolate cereal, but if we have to fade into oblivion, I’d like to go with this ;)