Before God invented Netflix and PVRs, you had to sit through a battery of commercials every time you turned on the idiot box. Most of them made you wonder why the hell Philo Taylor Farnsworth didn’t also invent something to block out commercials. Like Netflix or PVRs.
But occasionally, a television ad struck gold to where you’d sit through a seven-hour Cannon marathon to see it again. And now, thanks to the magic of YouTube (which we can thank God for inventing) you can relive the magic at the touch of a mouse. Here’s today’s nomination for Excellence in Advertising.
Let's blame Stephen King, who officially ruined it for everyone back in 1986 with It. Thanks to the grease-painted horrorshow known as Pennywise, clowns suddenly became that creepiest thing this side of Donald Trump.
Looking back, one has to wonder if a young Stephen King was exorcising some demons of his own with It. The author would have been 13 or so when Krinkles the Clown started popping up on network television, capering across the screen while hawking Post Sugar Rice Krinkles.
Unofficially known as the "greatest cereal on earth", Krinkles the Clown-era Sugar Rice Krinkles came complete with the mascot on the box, and he was beating a giant drum that he probably imagined was your head.
As if that wasn't terrifying enough, 1960 saw a television ad campaign bring Krinkles to life. The first thing we see is the quite frankly horrifying clown popping out of what may or may not be a dog house, and then licking his chops while announcing "Breakfast". After ripping the crap out of the paper backdrop, he declares "I'm hungry!". Seeing as there are no children to be seen, he has to settle for a bowl of Krinkles.
There's some case to be made that Krinkles the Clown was actually a high-water mark compared to other marketing campaigns for the cereal. Originally sold in the '50s as Sugar Coated Rice Krinkles, mascots over time included a riotously racist Asian fellow named So-Hi. At one point So-Hi was depicted pushing a Rickshaw on the box's cover; another campaign featured free So-Hi Rickshaw Racer toys.
Post Sugar Rice Krinkles would eventually be pulled off the market to make way for a new puffed rice cereal known as Fruity Pebbles. Krinkles the Clown, meanwhile, lives on. As a matter of fact, he's probably sitting in your closet as you read this, just waiting until it's time for breakfast.