Follow TV Tropes

Following

Advertising / Monster Cereals

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/2013_monster_cereals_lineup.jpg
Advertisement:

In March of 1971, General Mills introduced two new cereals to the market, a chocolate cereal and a strawberry cereal, both with marshmallows. Various mascots were tested, but with the craze of classic monsters still being strong (albeit in a more lighthearted way thanks to media such as “Monster Mash” and The Munsters), the choice was narrowed down to two mascots: Count Chocula and Frankenberry.

Kicking off the “Monsters Cereal” line of cereals, the two cereals were portrayed as competitors, even though they were part of the same company and brand. Through the commercials, Count Chocula and Frankenberry would argue with each other whose cereal was the better one, which resulted in them often being scared by something mundane in the end.

December 1973 saw the introduction of Boo Berry, the third cereal in the lineup, with the mascot being a dapper blue ghost. 1974 introduced Fruit Brute, an overall-clad werewolf with a fruity cereal with lime marshmallows. His cereal was discontinued in 1982, and was later replaced by Fruity Yummy Mummy in 1987, which was the same cereal flavor, only with vanilla marshmallows. He too was discontinued in 1992, though both he and Fruit Brute still appear in non-cereal media for the company, and were both given a brief revival in 2013, only with different flavors.

Advertisement:

In 2021, as celebration for the 50th anniversary of the brand, elements of all five cereals were combined into one exclusive cereal, called "Monster Mash". A cover of the titular song, along with a Behind the Music-esque video, "The Remaking of the Mash: A Monster Miracle", detailing the fictional creation of this cover, were also released during this promotion.

For a long time, the cereal was available year round, but as of now, it is only available during the Halloween season, with a new gimmick each year.


Advertisement:

The Monster Cereals provides examples of:

  • '70s Hair: While subtle, Count Chocula's earliest design had very large sideburns fitting of the '70s. Later designs would eventually tone them down to subtle ones, but retro-skewing packages would bring them back.
  • All Just a Dream: The Flexi-Disc "Monster Adventures in Outer Space" is revealed at the end to be all Frankenberry's nightmare, caused by the loss of his teddy bear.
  • Argument of Contradictions: A lot of the commercials consisted of Count Chocula and Frankenberry or Boo Berry arguing over whose cereal was better by irately shouting their own names at each other.
  • Art Evolution: Count Chocula started looking and sounding friendlier in the 90s. He was also taller and leaner at the time.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Fruit Brute is commonly portrayed wearing a t-shirt and rainbow-striped overalls, but no shoes.
  • Beach Episode: A couple commercials exist with this theme for the characters:
    • One has Count Chocula and Frankenberry using the castle's moat as a pool substitute.
    • Another has Count Chocula, Frankenberry, and Boo Berry at the beach in the middle of a thunderstorm (considered good weather for them).
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Of the remaining three, Count Chocula (thin), Frankenberry (big), and Boo Berry (short), make up this trio in their sizes.
  • The Bus Came Back: Fruit Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy, who hadn’t been seen along with their cereals since their cancellation (they were still used in non-food merchandise) returned during the 2013 Halloween season, with Fruit Brute now renamed “Frute Brute”. The two would make another comeback in 2021 as part of the limited edition Monster Mash cereal.
  • The Cameo: Lucky the Leprechaun and the Trix Rabbit both make cameos in various appearances of Monster Cereal media. They were scripted to make a brief appearance in the café airing the Disco King contest in the animatic for the scrapped "Monsters Go Disco" animatic, and both are interviewees for "The Remaking of the Mash: A Monster Miracle" video.
  • Celebrity Is Overrated: The Flexi-Disc "Count Chocula Goes to Hollywood" has the Monsters going to Hollywood thanks to a prize won by Count Chocula to appear in the TV Western "Haunted House on the Range", something he's excited for, as he has grown tired of his boring life. Unfortunately for the Count, he was only chosen to act as the lead's stunt double and has to go through various dangerous stunts throughout the filming. He eventually decides his life isn't so boring, especially after having to do a single dangerous take multiple times in a row.
  • Classical Movie Vampire: Most of Count Chocula’s appearance, primarily his dark hair, widow’s peak, and aristocratic clothing, is meant to invoke Bela Lugosi as Dracula.
  • Chained by Fashion:
    • Frankenberry wears thick chains as suspenders, though this seems to be a purely "strength" related reason.
    • Boo Berry originally had chains attached to him, in a Jacob Marley-esque way, often with a cereal box dangling off of them. These were removed in later iterations of his design.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Each monster is often represented in supplemental media by a specific color:
    • Count Chocula: Brown
    • Frankenberry: Pink
    • Boo Berry: Blue
    • Fruit Brute: Green or red, depending on the media
    • Fruity Yummy Mummy: Orange or purple, depending on the media
  • Cover Version: The release of the "Monster Mash" cereal for the 50th anniversary also synced up with a cover of the titular song by the five monsters.
  • Daywalking Vampire: Count Chocula prefers a nocturnal lifestyle, but he can survive in the sunlight.
  • Defanged Horrors: These monsters are harmless, lovable cereal mascots.
  • Demoted to Extra: For a long while, Boo Berry was given a very reduced presence in ads and cereal release. He returned back to main status when the cereal went limited, however.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: Boo Berry's original design gave him a red bowtie and a yellow hat with a red band. Starting with the 2006 redesigns, the reds have turned to purple, and the yellow to blue, further balancing him in the "blueberry" colors that his original outfit lacked. He also originally had chains attached to him, but they were later removed. Non-food merchandise and retro-skewing boxes will often give him his retro colors, rather than his current ones.
  • Election Day Episode: The 2016 run of the cereal themed the cereals after elections, with the three main monsters pushing the fans to vote for their favorite cereal. Count Chocula won in the end.
  • Fog Feet: Boo Berry's body ends in a wispy tail. It sometimes separates into a facsimile of feet for small commercial gags, however.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: All of the monsters save for Count Chocula are given four-fingered hands. Count Chocula is the only one to have five-fingered hands, keeping him more detailed, though his fingers are much slimmer than the others in comparison as well. Frankenberry originally had five-fingered hands, primarily thanks to being rotoscoped over for a scene in early commercials to lift up a piece of live action cereal, but swapped to four fingers later.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: Frankenberry. He’s a much more mechanical variant, with steam gauges and pipes embedded into his head. Unlike other variations of the monster, he is portrayed as sensitive and eloquent in his personality.
  • Friendly Ghost: Boo Berry. He's very amicable, though isn't above scaring Count Chocula and Frankenberry on purpose because of how easily they scare.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Count Chocula prefers chocolate to blood, and is often even afraid of children.
  • Gentle Giant: Frankenberry is the biggest of the monsters, but also the most sensitive.
  • Ghost Amnesia: Boo Berry seems to slowly be losing his memory of past events. "Spooky Sounds from Count Chocula Castle" has him bring up that memories sort of "slip out" of his head, while in "The Remaking of the Mash: A Monster Miracle", he brings up that "time works differently in the afterlife", causing his confusion over things.
  • Guest Strip: The 2014 boxes were guest drawn by DC Comics artists. Terry and Rachel Dodson drew Count Chocula, Dave Johnson drew Frankenberry, and Jim Lee drew Boo Berry.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Some iterations of Fruit Brute, normally retro box art and a few variants of merchandise, leave him with only his overalls, without the t-shirt addition.
  • Halloween Cosplay: Promotional artwork for the 2017 run of the cereal, which was seen on the back of the boxes, shows mascots for other General Mills food dressed as either Count Chocula, Franken Berry, or Boo Berry, as well as the monsters attempting to dress as each other.
  • Haunted Castle: Count Chocula, Frankenberry, and Boo Berry live in one. According to supplemental material, it’s technically the Count’s in ownership. Boo Berry originally was simply the neighbor of the other two, but he later moved in with them.
  • Horrifying the Horror: Played for Laughs. The monsters are considered scary creatures by the adult humans of their worlds, but in reality, they're cowards. From children, to their pets, to even the other monsters, they have a tendency to freak out fast and run away in horror.
  • Intangibility: One of Boo Berry's abilities, being a ghost. His debut commercial has him reentering the castle through this method (his cereal box he has to yank through however). Another commercial has Frankenberry attempting to shove Boo Berry away, only for his arm to pass right through the ghost.
  • It Amused Me: According to "Spooky Sounds from Count Chocula Castle", Boo Berry likes to scare Count Chocula and Frankenberry purely because they frighten so easily.
  • Looks Like Orlok: Despite Count Chocula sharing the aristocratic appearance of Dracula, he shares a good amount of his physical appearance with Orlok as well, such as his pointed ears, extra-long fingers with claw-like nails, narrow, hooked nose, and pointy little rat-fangs in place of his incisors rather than as canine teeth.
  • Lovable Coward: The original three monsters are easily frightened by the most mundane things, and sometimes even each other, but are beloved by others for both their cereals and personalities.
  • Mockumentary: "The Remaking of the Mash: A Monster Miracle", a Behind the Music-esque video made for the 50th anniversary, features a fake behind the scenes look of the creation of the cover of "Monster Mash" in celebration for the event.
  • Monster Mash: Each cereal is represented through a different monster: Count Chocula is a vampire, Frankenberry is a Frankenstein’s monster, Boo Berry is a ghost, Fruit Brute is a werewolf, and Fruity Yummy Mummy is, obviously, a mummy.
  • Motifs: The three main monsters are associated with certain designs and objects that reoccur in commercials and a few back of the box comics:
    • Count Chocula is associated with spikes, primarily on morning star-styled mace tips.
    • Frankenberry is associated with large boulders. Sometimes they're carved into strawberries to further represent his cereal, though they are mostly just large stones.
    • Boo Berry is associated with clouds. Sometimes they are combined with his chain motif, sometimes on their own.
  • Mummy: Fruity Yummy Mummy. He has bright rainbow wrappings and his debut commercial was him being revealed from his pyramid.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • The original three mascots take inspiration from various horror icons: Bela Lugosi for Count Chocula, Boris Karloff for Frankenberry and Peter Lorre for Boo Berry.
    • Disco Don, the DJ for the Disco King contest in "The Monsters Go Disco" has a voice inspired by Wolfman Jack. The unfinished animatic of the animation made the point more obvious by casting Fruit Brute in the role.
  • Now Which One Was That Voice?: Due to the nature of the series being advertisements, voice actors are only discovered via interviews and word of mouth. As such, Fruit Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy's voice actors have never been tracked down.
  • Old-Timey Bathing Suit: Count Chocula and Frankenberry wear these in the beach and pool-themed commercials.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Various commercials give elements to Count Chocula that other vampires don't have. He is able to view himself in mirrors, can survive in sunlight (but prefers to be nocturnal), and has electric abilities.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Fruit Brute appears to be a permanent werewolf.
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • According to the Flexi-Disc "Count Chocula Goes to Hollywood", the Count is over 200 years old. "The Remaking of the Mash: A Monster Miracle" hints that he's been around since the 1800s.
    • According to the CD "Spooky Sounds from Count Chocula Castle", Boo Berry is even older than Count Chocula, at least three centuries old.
    • "The Remaking of the Mash: A Monster Miracle" brings up that Fruity Yummy Mummy is also immortal, something others seem to forget. How long he's been immortal is unknown.
  • Reluctant Monster: The Monsters don't try to actively scare others (save for each other), and try to be as kind as possible, but their nature as monsters automatically means they freak some people out.
  • Renamed the Same: For the 2013 revival of his cereal, Fruit Brute was renamed “Frute Brute”, as his cereal didn’t actually contain any natural fruit.
  • Retcon: The original commercials had Boo Berry as simply a neighbor of Count Chocula and Frankenberry, living separate from them. Later iterations changed this to him living with them, with the "Spooky Sounds from Count Chocula Castle" CD adding that he had been haunting the castle for "even longer than he could remember".
  • Retool: Thanks to the original runs of Fruit Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy basically being the same cereal, only with different marshmallow flavors, the two of them were given different flavors for the 2013 revival: Fruit Brute became cherry-flavored, while Fruity Yummy Mummy became orange cream-flavored.
  • Ridiculously Alive Undead: Of the five monsters, four of them (Count Chocula, Frankenberry, Boo Berry, and Fruity Yummy Mummy) are undead creatures. Despite this, they still shill and eat their trademark cereals and are also seen needing sleep.
  • The Rival: The monsters in general fight with each other over whose cereal is the best, Count Chocula and Frankenberry, especially. Depending on the Writer, their rivalry has ranged from friendly to ugly. (Both often consider Boo Berry a rival too, but he's only interested in promoting his cereal.) By the time the 90s rolled out, the monsters stopped fighting over which cereal was better.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Some commercials would portray the monsters with live action children.
  • Sailor Earth: The brand lends itself to having original characters created often by fans. All that is needed is a monster archetype and a cereal flavor, along with a name that combines the two in some way, and a character is formed.
  • Security Blanket: Frankenberry sleeps with a teddy bear, as seen in various commercials and back-of-the-box comics. Count Chocula insists he's "too big" to have one, something Frankenberry protests. This is eventually fully addressed in the Flexi-Disc "Monster Adventures in Outer Space", where, having lost his teddy during a bad night's storm, causes him to have odd nightmares.
  • Shock and Awe: Various commercials show Count Chocula with the ability to harness and control electricity.
  • Show Within a Show: The Flexi-Disc "Count Chocula Goes to Hollywood" introduces the TV Western "Haunted House on the Range", featuring monster actor Luke McSpook. Count Chocula ends up winning a contest to be a part of the show...as Luke's stunt double.
  • Silly Spook: Boo Berry is portrayed as one. In his debut commercial, Frankenberry and Count Chocula both are scared of the ghost and perform a Security Cling with each other, despite the fact that they're a Frankenstein's Monster and a Classical Movie Vampire. But Boo Berry just wants to share his cereal.
  • Strawberry Shorthand: Frankenberry is themed around strawberries, to the point of having his fingernails decorated with them. They also double as a shorthand for his sweet and sensitive personality.
  • Tagline: While the whole series has a tagline, a few of the cereals have ones specific for themselves:
    • "How 'bout a monster for breakfast today?" - Series tagline
    • "I vant to eat your cereal!" - Count Chocula
    • "Fruity Yummy Mummy makes your tummy go yummy!" - Fruity Yummy Mummy
  • Vacation Episode: The Flexi-Disc "Count Chocula Goes to Hollywood" has the Monsters going to Hollywood as part of a prize that Count Chocula won to appear on TV.
  • Vampire Vords: Count Chocula is given this accent, to sound like an impression of Bela Lugosi.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: The monsters might fight with each other over who has the best cereal, but they’re still close friends with each other in the end.
  • Vocal Dissonance: An interesting case. Frankenberry’s voice is based on Boris Karloff, the most famous actor to portray Frankenstein’s Monster. As the Monster is stereotyped as just being a grunting brute, hearing a light British accent from Frankenberry is very jarring at first.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: An ability proposed for Boo Berry (and utilized in a few minor videos and products, but never put into full effect) for the planned 2006 animated series was the ability to transform into nearly anything to help kickstart the plot.

Top