Outing rubbish advertising is just like shooting fish in a barrel, especially with so much crap around these days polluting the airwaves. We've tried to keep a lid on our outbursts recently but office consensus is that we should go public on the nonsense that is the new Honey Monster makeover.
Mr Monster is undoubtedly an advertising icon, created by the legendary John Webster back in the day to sell some sugary breakfast cereal. Many famous commercials were made. Many boxes of sugary cereal were sold.
Now, we all know the advertising business has changed beyond all recognition since then but I think this new commercial is an excellent exemplar of some of the things that are wrong with our esteemed profession.
For starters, they've "updated" what was a great brand property. "Updating" means taking all the joy and charm out of the character and pandering to the PC brigade who might be concerned about how such products are advertised to children.
Hence we see Honey Monster transformed from a heroic, bumbling, clumsy, knockabout figure [the "embodiment of childish mayhem" aptly put by Campaign] into something what the press release has painfully laboured to describe as "more athletic, responsible and reflective". A reflective Honey Monster? Jesus wept.
It gets worse too. Apparently, the new Monster is inspired by Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are. But, as far as I can tell, there's certainly no evidence of that judging by the new execution where the Honey Monster seems to be relegated to playing the bit-part role of a hairy extra. The ad seems to be just a lot of kids straight out of central casting skipping around demonstrating a rather sanitised and cliched view of what "fun" constitutes totally unrelated to the breakfast cereal in question [water balloons, since you ask].
And is there anything less fun that the fact that they've even taken away Honey Monster's voice and replaced it with that a voiceover that lamely repeats the word "fun" several times? And to appeal to Mums and kids they've also ensured that the ad contains a Mum and loads of kids.
Rather than using Sendak as inspiration for the new Honey Monster they would have been far better off using Webster's old Honey Monster. What's happened is some sort of reverse shit alchemy where gold has been turned into base metal.
As you can see from the ad below, the interplay between Honey Monster and Henry McGee [as his 'mummy'] seems so much smarter and more appealing than the honeymonstrosity of this new ad. And who, from that generation, can forget the "Tell 'em about the honey, Mummy" line? Something still so memorable almost forty years on. Now the honey is relegated to a fleeting cut away shot in a jar before the obligatory 'child eating a bowl of cereal and really enjoying it' moment.
I know which ad my kids would much prefer and it's not the one that looks like an outtake from a CBeebies programme.
#FUNMONSTERFIED is the new hashtag.
#UNMONSTERFIED would be far more appropriate.