Len’s Inexplicable (but impossible-to-deny) Fascination With Cereal Abroad

Posted by len on April 12th, 2008

I don’t really understand it myself but I keep coming back to cereal.
Perhaps it’s due to the induced state of
pondering life’s mysteries right after the day’s first coffee and what’s in front of me: cereal.

Anyhoo, to the real meat of this profound story!

Take a look at this very common cereal here in Portugal: Clusters, almondy goodness.
You may even have it back in the USA. But look at the second image: the back of the box.
See something…er…”off”?

squirrelCereal1.jpg squirrelCereal2.jpg

Hey! Where’d that little feller come from?!

Why (oh why) are Portuguese advertising professionals willing to put full-color feral rodents on cereal boxes?!
The obvious reason: Portuguese people LOVE squirrels. Especially for nut-eating inspiration.
Maybe I’m out of touch with American cereal advertising (yeah, right! – NEVER!), but would you EVER see such a thing on American cereal boxes?
Okay, some of those discount markets in the ghettos have some weird ‘off-brand’ stuff like “Fruit Loots”…but a rodent?


28 Responses to “Len’s Inexplicable (but impossible-to-deny) Fascination With Cereal Abroad”

  1. sean Says:

    I seem to recall a 90s commercial where people were eating this cereal and they were accosted by ne’er-do-well squirrels. Didn’t they conspire to steal the box somehow? Couldn’t find any YouTube or Google leads on it, but that’s what my memory is serving up.

    Just be glad it’s not THIS squirrel on the box. Disturbing indeed:


    From Safeway! Anything about that cereal look SAFE to you?? They put the ‘crack’ in Crackles…

  2. Brogan Says:

    There is some nut cluster cereal commercial that features a squirrel being extremely jealous of the humans and their nutty good cereal.

  3. Brogan Says:

    There is some nut cluster cereal commercial that features a squirrel being extremely jealous of the humans and their nutty good cereal.

  4. len Says:

    Okay, but both references are “cartoon squirrels”!
    Cartoon is cool. Clean. MY squirrel is dirty and nasty! So…real.

  5. sean Says:

    Oh, the Clusters-commercial squirrels were real. Chillingly real, in a.. ‘not real, exactly’ way. Check out stock #2240:


    Their soulless, beady glass eyes make them even scarier!!

  6. Brogan Says:

    Seriously the squirrel in the commercial was real! I don’t think that it ever made it into the house though.

  7. Liza Says:

    Hmm. it looks like it could be a red squirrel but the ears are not as pointy. I’m not a squirrel expert or anything (i do have a life, honest) but we have had the ‘red squirrels good – grey squirrels bad’ type doctrine drummed into us over here in England, and specifically as the place where i grew up is a National Trust red squirrel reserve, where these rodents are actually not considered dirty and nasty but rather lovely and small and cute and endangered.

    Maybe its a European perspective , but this breed of squirrel is not seen as a a tree rat or akin to a horrid pigeon or something, and would be quite at home in advertising, indeed Formby gift shops are overrun with squirrels emblazoned on almost everything. We could even pick you up a squirrel bowl to eat your cereal in

    I had one on my school uniform. We have a spot-the-squirrel competition in the local paper. I made Chris come and look at them in the pinewoods first time he came to visit. Now I think about it he was a bit -er squirrels?? right… Ok, i will shut up now :)
    ( we also have a natterjack toad reserve – i am really not on board with that one though. ick)

  8. Liza Says:

    heres a link, i didn’t post it properly, sorry squirrel fans


  9. sean Says:

    Speaking of obsessions with breakfast cereal, I’d be remiss not to include a few relevant links to perhaps my favorite, erstwhile comedy website, the Brunching Shuttlecocks. In these pages, they hand out letter grades to various cereals.

    There are seven of them:
    and continuing numerically through

  10. len Says:

    LIza! Awesome! Great to have you on board the Squid!
    Thanks for really opening our eyes about squirrels!
    I will be a little more careful around brits now with my normally “flippant squirrel tongue”!

  11. Heather Says:

    I remember the squirrels. They told me to eat more cereal. Over and over and over….

  12. Liza Says:

    good-o. i can sleep tonight knowing i have done right by rodentkind.

    que bom. :)

  13. Sina Says:

    Hello there!
    Just wanting to confirm of what Liza said: squirrels in Europe are not thaaat common. They are actually pretty rare and much cuter (those are the red fluffy ones). Soo much cuter than the ones that are eeeverywhere in the states!!!
    I remember seeing a commercial on TV with a real squirrel when I was younger though but can’t remember which brand it was.
    I like it, its a cute part of nature (just saw one last week after like 10 years!!). We Europeans love it!? 😀

  14. len Says:

    Sina, are you sure you’re talking about squirrels and not their ultra-cute cousins the “chipmunk”?
    Cause I remember a moment when you were in the states and we were on a trip with you and there was some confusion over squirrels versus chipmunks.
    Not to contradict what I just said about chipmunks but here’s something pretty screwy lookin’:
    Baby Chipmunk

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