Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)

Many advertisements have recruited characters from fantasy to sell their products, including: the cookie-baking Keebler Elves and Rice Krispies' elfish Snap, Crackle and Pop; Lucky the Leprechaun with his Lucky Charms cereal; a version of Dracula, Count Chocula, selling his eponymous cereal; a charging White Knight with a lance who personified the power of Ajax Cleanser; a recently revived Jack, now depicted as a man with a Jack-in the-Box head, promoting Jack in the Box restaurants; the dancing scarecrow who sold Country Corn Flakes; and the cherubs of Nice'n'Soft bathroom tissue. Miniature humans (> Dwarfs) frequently appear, as do Giants (e.g., the Jolly Green Giant), and there are images of flying people (> Talents). An inordinate number of animated Talking Animals are employed in cereal commercials: Sugar Bear (Golden Crisp), Tony the Tiger (Frosted Flakes), a toucan (Froot Loops), a rabbit (Trix), a monkey (Cocoa Krispies), a frog (Smacks), a honeybee (Honey Nut Cheerios), etc. Animated humans appear in many others (e.g., the Tetley's Tea Bag men). More bizarrely, the products themselves, suitably anthropomorphized, may serve as their own spokespersons: Speedy Alka-Seltzer, the living headache tablet; the personified cleanser bottle Mr Clean; walking and talking M&M candies; and – surely the most memorable image from 1950s commercials – dancing cigarette packs. McDonalds commercials regularly feature living food items, like talking hamburgers, fish fillets and chicken nuggets. [GW]

further reading: The Best Thing on TV: Commercials (1978) by Jonathan Price.

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.