Saturday, March 25, 2006

CARU gently criticizes Apple Jacks ad; Kellogg disagrees

The Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Better Business Bureau last month recommended (.pdf) that Kellogg Company discontinue a campaign of children's advertisements for Apple Jacks, in which a "Bad Apple" is the villain and the hero "CinnaMon" loves Apple Jacks. This recommendation from the advertising industry's self-regulatory body is advisory, not mandatory. The recommendation carries no penalty for the offending company.

After running the advertisements for months, Kellogg Company now says it has no plans to run them in the future. The company statement left open the possibility of changing the plans at a later date. Despite the painless sanction for a widely criticized campaign, the company complained about CARU's decision: "While Kellogg disagrees with the conclusions CARU reached in the decision and how it arrived at those conclusions, Kellogg fully supports the self-regulatory process."

Here is the Chicago Tribune's Andrew Martin reporting in October, describing the advertisements.
Kellogg's is trying to convince kids that Apple Jacks taste more like cinnamon than apples.

The cereal-making giant has created a Jamaica-like cartoon world called Cinna Island, part of a television and Internet advertising campaign that depicts a laid-back, skateboard-riding character named CinnaMon who extols the "sweet cinnamon taste" of Apple Jacks.

CinnaMon's foil is a grouchy, scheming "Bad Apple" who tries - and inevitably fails - to beat CinnaMon to a bowl of Apple Jacks. "Apple Jacks doesn't taste like apples because the sweet taste of cinnamon is the winner, mon," one ad concludes.
The "Bad Apple" Throws Obstacles in CinnaMon's Path