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Useful Notes / General Mills

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"The expression 'Breakfast of Champions' is a registered trademark of General Mills, Inc. for use on a breakfast cereal product. The use of the identical expression as the title for Kurt Vonnegut's book is not intended to indicate an association with or sponsorship by General Mills, nor is it intended to disparage their fine products."

General Mills is a food company based in Minneapolis, best known for its "Big G" cereals, which include Cheerios, Total, Lucky Charms and the Monster Cereals (internationally, most of these brands are owned by Nestlé under CPW). Its animated cereal commercials featured characters from Rocky and Bullwinkle, Underdog (the company was the sole sponsor of their series) and Peanuts. Moreover, the "Big G" is perhaps best known for its highly memorable roster of cereal advertising mascots (usually named after the cereal they represent) such as Lucky the leprechaun, the Trix Rabbit and Count Chocula. Other characters include Buzz, the bee mascot of Honey Nut Cheerios, whom you may recognize his voice as another character with a big heart and small brain. General Mills also owns the Wheaties brand, best known for its Celebrity Endorsements.

As such, most of their commercials tend to be story-driven and therefore have quite a few narrative tropes, though they're also very laden with Commercial Tropes.

Fun Fact: They built Alvin, the mini-sub Dr. Robert Ballard used to discover the RMS Titanic. Yes, the same General Mills we've been talking about (built by the division that makes cereal-making machines).

Another of the company's brands, Betty Crocker (mainly dedicated to baking products like Bisquick, as well as fruit snacks like Fruit Roll-Ups), was built upon in Homestuck. Other brands owned by the company include Yoplait (yogurt), Old El Paso (Mexican foods), Green Giant (vegetables), Helper (Hamburger and other "quick meal" varieties), Nature Valley and Fiber One (granola bars), Pillsbury (again, mainly baking products; back in the 70s when they were their own company, they also owned Burger King, and three toy companies: Kenner, Parker Bros. and Tonka, which were sold to Hasbro in 1991),note  Progresso (soups, beans and broths), Totino's (pizza products), and Gold Medal Flour.

Tropes associated with General Mills:

  • The Bus Came Back: Fruit Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy, who haven't been seen along with their cereals for three and two decades respectively, have returned during the 2013 Halloween season with Fruit Brute now renamed Frute Brute.
    • A more obscure example was the Canadian mascot for Golden Grahams, Honey the Honey Drop, came back for the controversial "Satur-Yay-Ahhh!" ad campaign in The New 10's, who hasn't appeared since The 80's. Unfortunately, his gender was changed to a female and has gotten a more high-pitched voice.
  • Cereal Vice Reward: Multiple. Trix commercials encourage you to not give Trix to rabbits, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch has the Crazy Squares who cannibalize each other, just to name a few examples.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Two examples.
    • Cookie Crisp cereal, back when it was owned by Ralston, had in its early marketing campaigns a cop who chases after a bandit-masked thief and his bandit-masked dog. Eventually, by the time General Mills bought it, the thief vanished, followed promptly by the cop, leaving just the dog (still wearing his bandit mask, oddly enough). Now the dog has completely vanished, having been replaced by a wolf named Chip—ironically the same name as the dog that preceded him.
    • Wendell the Baker used to have two other bakers named Bob and Quello/Quienno by some, but they disappeared for reasons unknown around the early '90s, and were never featured again. One popular theory is "Wendell ate them".
  • Classical Movie Vampire: Count Chocula.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: FrankenBerry.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Count Chocula.
  • Gender Flip: When Honey the Honey Drop returned in the "Satur-Yay-Ahhh!" campaign, he was suddenly changed to female.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Buzz the Honey Bee has a yellow and gold T-shirt and white shoes. Chip the Cookie Dog sported a turtleneck and burglar mask. Fruit Brute the werewolf had multicolor striped overalls. Sonny the Cuckoo Bird was originally naked, then had a striped sweatshirt, then went back to being naked again.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Boo Berry.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Fruit Brute.
  • Red-plica Baron: One of General Mills's retired cereals is "Baron Von Redberry". The mascot was a German WWI pilot with a red triplane decorated with raspberries. His rival was the British "Sir Grapefellow".
  • Renamed the Same: Fruit Brute being renamed Frute Brute.
  • Retool: Some cereal recipes for promoted cereals get reused for different licensed products down the line. A different version was used for the return of Fruit/Frute Brute - the original cereal was a citrus-flavored cereal. But as Yummy Mummy (which was also brought back) was the same flavor, Frute Brute was reimagined as a cherry/vanilla flavor.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Many of the cereals' commercials (such as Trix and the Monster Cereals) involved with the mascots interacting with various live action kids.
    • One commercial for Cocoa Puffs featured Sonny jumping from his cartoon world into ours to see if real kids will go cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.