Tony the Tiger is Back, and He is Here to Help You. So Why is Kellogg’s So Mad?

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Kellogg’s—the huge, bloated, multinational food corporation—is pissed at Finnish artist Jani Leinonen. In fact pretty much all giant food corporations don’t like him. He was arrested previously for stealing a life size Ronald McDonald Statue and, I kid you not, cutting off its head. The filthy animal.

Check out this video from the website http://tonyisback.com/ in which Tony the Tiger helps a prostitute get worked up to go down on a client. Other videos show Tony helping a cop get wound up to beat the living Hell out of someone, and another where he encourages a suicide bomber.

Jani was kind enough to talk to me about how we all need Tony, more than ever.

When I asked him “Dude…What the Hell is this all about?” He explained:

What these films are trying to show is what happens when people obey blindly the dictates of their authorities. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Like Howard Zinn said, historically, the most terrible things – war, genocide, and slavery – have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience. I think we are on the verge of something terrible, and if we don’t say no now we might slide into it.

These films are ultimately supposed to be encouraging people and corporations to take responsibility of their actions and say no every time we see something unfair. The films are also the beginning of the story where, after realising he has done wrong, Tony the Tiger, the corporate cereal icon starts having doubts about his career and wants to do something more with his life than endorsing sales. Within the following year I am bringing out a lot more corporate mascots to tell their stories, but Tony is the leading star. The inspiration comes from way back. 25 years ago, when I was 12-years-old, Tony the Tiger was my superhero. Tony the Tiger helped me and other white middle-class kids all over the world to solve our every-day problems in TV commercials. The Cold War had just ended and Capitalism had suddenly won! Everyone was sure that a better world had arrived, there was going to be eternal economical growth, and the billions we used on the arms race would balance our budgets, solve the problems of hunger, racism and inequality. The future seemed bright.

I was mesmerised by the way Tony tackled our problems with such power and confidence – that he claimed came from his vitamin packed Frosted Flakes cereal. He empowered us kids in situations where we doubted ourselves the most, in our middle-class hobbies like horseback riding, hockey or skiing down scary slopes, where bullies were always picking on our poor skills. Tony was our authority figure, our power animal who solved our problems with simple solutions. Once he was done we thought we will never need Tony again. We were going to be fine.

O´boy, were we wrong. Now 30 years later not only we kids have grown up but also our problems have grown. On a global scale. To our great disappointment, this golden age of Capitalism has been no less destructive. We are the first western generation in 100 years that is poorer and sicker than our parents. The end of Cold War didn’t end repression, hunger, unemployment, racism, slavery, or homelessness.

We need Tony now more than ever. We need Tony to feel powerful again. To know what to do when in doubt. Even though in the fourth film Tony is still confused about the scale and seriousness of our problems, he will in the end start teaching us proper ways to deal with them.

 

Tony the Tiger was featured in Kellogg’s advertising throughout the 1980-90s, helping children with their problems. Each commercial ended with troubled children being inspired by Tony’s pep-talks while a song plays

“Show them you’re a tiger,
show them what you can do,
the taste of Tony’s Frosted Flakes,
brings out the tiger in you.”

Kellogg’s has had social media sites shut down the campaign within 24 hours, after complaining about unauthorized use of their character.

But at the bottom of the website Tony says: Unfortunately my Twitter and Facebook accounts have been taken down by Kellogg’s. I don’t understand why. You can still like and share this site from the bottom of the page.
— Tony the Tiger

Brian Whitney Wrote Raping the Gods