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2007-10-18

Is It about What's Inside the Box?

Cereal commercials made a big impact on me as a kid. I don't remember craving one brand. I don't even remember a single commercial—though the Mikey commercials stand out as a genre unto themselves.

What I remember most about cereal commercials then was that the cereal was depicted as pouring directly from the box into a bowl. No plastic lining, no sealed inner package, just a cardboard box spouting dry cereal.

I must have driven my mother nuts arguing for the 400th time—as only children can—that she was supposed to empty the contents of the sealed bag into box before putting it in the cupboard. This after dealing with me for a few hours in a crowded supermarket.

I don't remember how she responded each time. No doubt she replied reasonably about keeping the cereal fresh and bugs out. Still, my insistence and persistence must have confused her.

So, the cereal's relationship to the box mattered more to me than the cereal itself. Context over content. But what purpose did representing the cereal being poured directly from the box serve the advertisers and cereal company, if any?

3 comments:

Stephen said...

I'm not sure... but did you ever have what they considered 'part of a complete breakfast'?

I got a bowl of cereal... not a bowl of cereal, fruit, orange juice, more milk on the side, a muffin, eggs, back, sausage, scrapple (for those of you in Philly) and a ham sandwich.

Anyone else feel cheated?

And who stole my decoder ring?

Dalia said...

You're still thinking about what you expect from cereal: you want the "complete" breakfast, sides and all, that they show on the commercials. You've come to expect it; even want it because it's something the commercials always show.
Are the cereal companies selling an unattainable reality? You're disappointed that the rest of the breakfast isn't also in the box of cereal. They're selling the cereal in the context of breakfast. mmm mmm good!

So when you look for the information, do you want it in a nice box? Or straight up, dry, crunchy and boring to eat?
If information is in the nice box, will it come with all the sides and make you want it more? Or are you disappointed it's just information and you have to do the rest yourself.

Stephen said...

I can't eat information, Dalia...

oh wait, is this a librarian coming to the defense of another librarian?

wow... that's kind of like workers of the world coming together... just nerdier

I'm going to go do some math, lit dorks and beat up Cap't Cruch for that information in the box.

I still haven't found my decoder ring...