Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Commercials

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 (see Dwarfs) frequently appear, as do Giants (e.g., the Jolly Green Giant), and there are images of flying people (see 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.