Eggo has recipe for time-starved public

By Published on .

Advertiser: Kellogg Co.
Agency: Leo Burnett USA, Chicago
Ad Review rating: 2 1/2 stars

We have problems in our country. There is a widening gulf between rich and poor. Racial politics are tearing at the very fabric of society. Civility has become a casualty of the cult of self.

And, most disturbing of all, we, as a nation, are not spending enough time with our waffles.

Can't say whether we're spending enough time with our children; the data are conflicting there. But evidently there are hard numbers on the waffle situation, and they aren't pretty. Evidently, time is so tight in the American household that some people are not eating waffles at all.

Oh, the humanity!

Thankfully America isn't the sort of nation that lightly regards a breakfast crisis of this magnitude. The people at Kellogg Co., makers of Eggo frozen waffles, looked at the research from Leo Burnett USA and took positive action. If the American family was too caught up in the rat race to enjoy a buttery, syrupy, hot waffle breakfast, by God, Kellogg would come out with an Eggo that requires no butter or syrup whatsoever.

The result is Eggo Cinnamon Toast waffles--which are more like wafflettes, actually, laced with sugared cinnamon so you can eat them without further enhancement. You still have to invest a precious minute or so in the toasting process, but otherwise they're just the thing for the active family on the go.

This is more than apparent from Burnett's commercial, which is as pure an expression of rudimentary marketing as you will ever see. Creative departments sometimes bristle at overly literal ads that "film the strategy." This spot goes one better; it films the market research.

Farmer's wife (tending to just-ejected Eggos): "Want some waffles?"

Farmer: "Waffles? Are you crazy?! I don't have time for waffles."

Voice-over: "You do if they're Eggo Cinnamon Toast waffles."

Farmer's wife: "Try 'em."

Farmer: "Where's the butter and syrup?"

Farmer's wife (mockingly): "Are you crazy?! You don't have time for butter and syrup!"

Voice-over: "They're the first waffles with the baked-in sweet cinnamon taste. So they're great--even without butter and syrup."

Then the farmer, a goofy Randy Quaid type, hurries out to the cow barn, where his slow-witted, inbred son notices a half-consumed waffle in his father's hand, but can't quite complete the picture.

Son: "Whatcha eatin', Dad?"

Farmer: "Waffles."

That's when the cows start talking.

Four cows: "Waffles?! You don't have time for waffles!"

Voice-over: "Eggo Cinnamon Toast waffles. Hey, you've got time for waffles!"

Now we fully understand these are the sort of characters, and talking cows are the sort of gimmick, that might strike some viewers as a bit on the annoying side. Kind of like a crowbar through the eye socket is a little bit on the annoying side.

But an equal number will find it endearingly annoying, charmingly stupid. We here at Ad Review are personally prepared to perform painful vivisections on the talking cows. We'd prefer it if jittery ol' Dad were eating Eggo Ritalin Toast waffles. But when the wife--played by Toni Clinkingbeard--taunts her husband with her syrupy, good-natured Midwestern brand of ridicule, we just can't get enough of it.

But never mind that. What the miracle syrupless waffle proves is that even the most heartbreaking problems can be solved. If the will is there, it's just a matter of time.

Copyright July 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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