Peter York on Ads: Stand back, kids - here's an adult with the munchies

Kellogg's Frosties
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The Independent Online

When you want a bit of dark in your commercials you change the lighting. Dark, like edgy, is a description that should make you run a mile. Dark means a set of formulaic middle-brow quirks imported by people who don't know what they want to say. Dark means about as deep and edgy as Kate Moss and Johnny Depp.

It also means a set of lighting effects - low nasty light with a dirty green tinge - and a kind of art direction that's half-way between David Lynch and Wayne and Waynetta's sink-estate flat. The romance of the shameless underclass is now an advertising cliché, synthesised to appeal to the insecure, lower-end, student audience.

It started - a stroke of genius - with Pot Noodle going to the heart of things back in the Nineties. Like the early Tango commercials it was a genuinely anarchic moment. But how far it's all gone downstream is obvious in the new Kellogg's Frosties commercial. Kellogg's Frosties! Tony the Tiger! They're Gr-r-reat!

There's always been a subtext, a secondary audience for breakfast cereals. It's the late-night teens and twenties' drugs- and alcohol-driven munchies. But I've never seen it advertised before, least of all with a brand like Frosties. So into a dingy, shared flat - background ironic crap kitchen, foreground ironic crap underclass man with poor maxillary alignment and sports-derived synthetic top - bursts a lad with a serious hunger problem. He grabs a noodle briquette and switches the kettle on. But young people don't know that watched kettles never boil.

The telly's on, showing some Tex-Mex 1970s cultish rubbish which features a real pizza in its lovely deep pan. So the boy eats the TV and collapses. The Nicholas Cage look-alike just continues slurping through his bowl of Frosties.

The voiceover, delivers a message straight off a Madison Avenue USP brief of 1962: "When you need a tasty snack fast, don't eat your widescreen television, just grab Kellogg's Frosties instead. They're ready when you are."

It's what you might call traditionally plotted. In the needle match with the noodle men, Kellogg's has bought itself a whole new wardrobe. But it hasn't got the voice right yet.

Peter@sru.co.uk

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