Tuned In

Is Toucan Sam (Whole Wheat) Toast?

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Saturday mornings may never be the same. Kellogg’s has announced that it’s going to phase out the marketing of high-fat, high-sugar foods to children under 12, a step that could mean the end of characters like Toucan Sam, Shrek (as a cereal pitchman) and whatever weird creatures they use to sell Apple Jacks. Oddly, Tony the Tiger is apparently safe under Kellogg’s new nutritional guidelines because Frosted Flakes contains 11 grams of sugar per serving. Which I guess means that either the recipe has changed since I was a kid, or the serving size of Frosted Flakes is one flake.

This won’t have much immediate impact at the Tuned In household, as Tuned In Jr. and Tuned In Jr. Jr. have an unusually low interest in cereal for American children. But it does remind me that, for all the talk out there about keeping kids away from sex and violence on TV, some people like me focus on the (more difficult) job of keeping them away from advertising. DVDs are a big help with this, and with TiVo in the house, we’ve made a game out of racing for the remote to skip past the commercials. Even at that, they recognized the Golden Arches long before they ever actually visited a McDonald’s.

Still, I’ll have to shed a tear for poor, outmoded Sam, as he follows his nose to Heaven:

Update: Commenter Bruce asks, “What I don’t understand is why now (threat’s of lawsuits aside)? There have been ads for kids’ cereal for decades. Are kids today dumber or are parents lazier?” Well, first, this is America: you can’t put the threat of lawsuits aside. But second, I think this is what hit me about this story: I’ve been noticing, at least among Gen X parents around my vintage, a little nostalgia for our own sugar-laden, un-seatbelted, bad-TV-saturated, un-childproofed, pre-Baby Einstein youths. Does this strike a chord with anyone else?