The Ad Pundit: Classic Christmas Commercials

After yesterday’s long rant about religion – Please check it out if you haven’t – today’s post is going to be a little more lightweight. I’ll once again break out the Ad Pundit concept and take a look at some Christmas-themed commercials from years past.

Fruity Pebbles

Fruity Pebbles had a long-running ad campaign featuring Fred and Barney from The Flintstones. The basic concept was simple: Barney wanted Fred’s Pebbles and would come up with ways to steal them.

This time around, it’s Christmas Eve, so Barney figured that dressing up like Santa Claus was a clever way of getting Fred give up his cereal. What Barney didn’t count on was the REAL Santa showing up!

Fred is pissed, but Santa reminds him that Christmas is about sharing and caring so the two friends enjoy some cereal together.

Many cereal commercials are based on the concept that one character has the cereal and other characters want to steal it from them. (Cocoa Puffs were the rare exception where the main character actually did NOT want the cereal, but the kids kept torturing him and giving it to him anyway.)

I’ve always wondered why these characters went to such great lengths to steal these cereals, considering how easily they can be obtained. It’s not like this was Waffle Crisp; now THAT is a cereal worth stealing from your friends. I was just at the supermarket, and there were many boxes of Pebbles on the shelves. Why did Barney have to steal from Fred?

It’s possible that Barney was just being a jerk, but that doesn’t fit with his established character. Based on what we know about Barney, he wasn’t usually malicious towards Fred. This makes me think that he really wasn’t able to obtain any Pebbles on his own.

So why wasn’t Barney able to get any? Perhaps in prehistoric times, they were considered a rare resource, but that doesn’t explain why Fred always seemed to have a box on hand. Is this due to some sort of prehistoric bartering system that we are unable to understand in modern times?

Maybe Barney was right to steal from Fred. Fred is supposedly his best friend, yet he won’t share the coveted cereal, even though he appeared perfectly willing to share Santa Claus. Was he making a rare exception for Santa, or was Fred simply being cruel to his friend?

Campbell’s Soup

There seems to be some inconsistency with snowmen’s understanding of their mortality. Frosty was cognizant that warmer temperatures would make him melt, while Olaf was blissfully unaware of the fate that would await him in summer.

The snowman in this Campbell’s commercial seems similarly oblivious to what happens to snowmen when they encounter heat. He gets a warm bowl of soup and predictably starts to melt.

And then…what the heck? The snowman turned into a human child? That isn’t right! I’ve built snowmen before, and to my recollection, none of them turned into human beings upon melting.

Maybe this is just the snowman’s dying dream? Maybe his final wish is that he doesn’t just end up as a puddle on the floor but instead transcends the mortal plane and becomes human?

I never realized that snowmen were so deep.

Honey Nut Cheerios

This commercial is a play on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Scrooge is hard at work on Christmas, and doesn’t have time for cereal. But thanks to the persistence of the bee and the magic of Honey Nut Cheerios, he relents and enjoys a tasty breakfast.

This seems like a happy ending, but it really isn’t. The Cheerios don’t make Scrooge a better person – he’s probably going to continue to be as much of an a**hole as ever. The only difference is that he’s now more willing to try different breakfast foods.

Worse, now that he’s been exposed to the wonder that is Honey Nut Cheerios, he might be less receptive to the ghosts’ lessons. After all, why should he change his ways when his wealth will allow him to buy more Honey Nut Cheerios?

Now, there’s no way that he becomes the generous man that we see at the end of A Christmas Carol, Bob Cratchit won’t get his raise, and Tiny Tim is going to die. Good work, Bee. You killed Tiny Tim.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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About The Cutter

I am the Cutter. I write some stuff. You might like it, you might not. Please decide for yourself.
This entry was posted in 31 Days of Blogging, Pop Culture and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Ad Pundit: Classic Christmas Commercials

  1. I remember all three of these ads (I’d have never guess the Cheerios one was that old, though).

    When I reviewed the Fruity/Cocoa Pebbles ads a couple years ago, I theorized that the reason Barney kept trying to steal from Fred was based on the fact that he was secretly unemployed. Even the ever reliable Wikipedia came up empty on noting any occupation Barney is shown to be working at in the original Flintstones series…

  2. Kally says:

    I enjoyed this article very much. I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog while searching for new reading materials. Keep on doing what you are doing!

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