Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Holiday Sprinkles Cookie Crisp!

From the people who brought you Boo Berry and Count Chocula, it's an all-new, limited-edition seasonal cereal that might just set a new standard for marketing laziness!

This year, more than any year in recent memory, I haven't really felt myself experiencing the "holiday spirit," so to speak. With so much stuff going on in my life outside of this here blog, I rarely have time to reflect on the ephemera around me -- seriously, as fast as 2014 went, I'm still wondering when and if we even had an autumn this year.

In an effort to rouse just the teeniest modicum of Yuletide splendor before the holiday's over and done with, I decided to take a trek down the aisles of the nearest big box store recently, in hot pursuit of any outlandish seasonal items. Much to my dismay, there was precious little new out there, outside of a few brand variations of the same-old same-old ... sorry, Mars, Inc., but I'm not shelling out another five bucks on a bag of Snickers just 'cause they're shaped like Santa heads.

Just when I was about to settle on a can of cherry cordial chocolate frosting and a discounted package of Pumpkin Spice flavored Oreos, this little doosie caught my eye...

...HOLIDAY SPRINKLES COOKIE CRISP! Right off the bat, there are at least three things about the packaging that make me giddy. Let's make ourselves an itemized list, why don't we?

NUMBER ONE: My goodness, is the box art reserved. A lot of times, limited-time-only holiday cereals are decked out in really loud and garish colors -- por exemple, Christmas Crunch. However, the packaging for Holiday Sprinkles Cookie Crisp is almost completely white, albeit with a smidge of faint emerald at the top and bottom corners of the box. Even the blunt holiday ornamentation, like the Christmas lights and the big red decoration, scream "generic foodstuff" more than "yuletide eatin'. And how about that gigantic General Mills logo in the top left hand corner? The entire thing just bellows "1970s marketing," and also "I don't really give that much of a shit."

NUMBER TWO: The Cookie Crisp wolf (canonically, his name is Chip) looks so jaded. Sure, sure, he's got that corporate-formulated child-corrupting gaze in his eyes, but at the same time, he just appears so uninterested in the giant bowl of cookie-flavored cereal in front of him. It's almost like he's trying to avoid scooping up one of the chunks, which contextually, would be about the size of his head. The entire thing just rings hollow, like he's posing for a half-hearted photo and can't wait to take off that stupid Santa cap.

NUMBER THREE: The cereal itself. Goddamn, is that one of the lamest attempts to cash in on the Christmas season I've ever seen, and I assure you, I have seen many. It's just normal Cookie Crisp, only with these little piddly specks of green and red sugar flakes on them. The fact that the chunks look like they are infected with scabies and pockmarked with boogers on the box art really doesn't help as a selling point, either.

As a note of interest (as opposed to a note of disinterest, I suppose), General Mills also shills for their complementary seasonal product, Sugar Cookie Toast Crunch, on one of the box side flaps. Truthfully, if I would have seen these on store shelves, I probably would've picked them up instead, because not only do I find the regular Toast Crunch product to be generally yummier than Cookie Crisp, they also had a WAY better holiday aesthetic. I mean, look at that little anthropomorphic cereal chip -- he (or she) is just goddamned adorable in that little elf hat. Alas, the local grocer didn't carry it, and I had to make do with what is certainly an inferior limited-time-only cereal product.

That's not to say everything about the cereal was lackluster, though. The back packaging of the box had a whole bunch of activities for the grade school set on it, including a couple of "spot the item" laundry lists. Of course, my favorite aspect of the art is how it appears that Chip the Wolf is sneaking his way into an orphanage to commit God knows what kind of unspeakable deeds. Also, I am really curious about the ethnic composition of this family -- especially that Indian/Arabian/Nigerian/Puerto Rican kid up top, who clearly has the breaking and entering canine within his field of vision. Way to dick around with that baseball mitt while the whole goddamn house gets looted, amigo.

As for the cereal itself, I wasn't too impressed. I've never been a big fan of Cookie Crisp, as a whole -- the stuff is practically vanilla wafers you pour milk over, which is all sorts of gross. As the name implies, the recipe hasn't been tweaked for the holiday offering, which is more or less the exact same product you'd find on store shelves all year-round, albeit with red and green shit sprinkled on the chunks. Not since Chips Ahoy's "Halloween" cookies have I encountered a seasonally-branded product with this much ennui for a holiday. Shit, if I didn't know any better, I'd think Chip was of the Hebrew persuasion -- how else do you explain a Christmas tie-in this effortless?

And there's our cereal, up-close and impersonal and also just a little blurry. Sadly, these things just don't photo that well -- not every breakfast product can be as as aesthetically pleasing as Pop-Tarts, you know.

In case you were wondering, the sprinkles didn't really add much variety to the cereal, which as stated previously, has a very vanilla (literally) taste and texture. Basically, the foodstuff is sugar speckled with more sugar, which to be fair, does have some appeal -- especially if you're an eight-year-old processed food junkie or a nearly 30-year-old man child who likes to nom on kid-branded breakfast products by the handful after a tiring day of work/redditing.

The cereal isn't necessarily bad-tasting, it's just bland and uninteresting, with a holiday hook that's nothing at all to get excited about. As far as seasonal breakfast offerings go, Holiday Sprinkles Cookie Crisp is like that one really shittily decorated house in the neighborhood, with the wire reindeer and the blue and yellow lights just swung around the trees in no real discernible pattern. Yeah, the theme is there, but it's really, really half-assed: this may not be a terrible product overall, but as a special holiday offering, it's about as lackluster as that one "Frosty the Snowman" cartoon featuring the voice of John Goodman. Man, that one sucked, and hard.



You know, I would be remiss if I didn't at least say a thing or two about this newfangled Coca Cola beverage. Yeah, the official nomenclature is "Coke Life," but the working man just calls it "Green Coke," for obvious reasons.

For the uninitiated, "Coke Life" is a new, health-conscious (sorta) product from the world's numero uno soda manufacturer/promoter of diabetes. The big hook here is that instead of being sweetened with corn syrup -- a product that is at least partially responsible for America's global economic domination over the last 75 years -- it's brewed with natural cane sugar (alike the cult favorite "Mexican Coke") and Stevia, which I think is some kind of artificial sweetener substance that we're probably going to find out kills people in a two or three years.

Unfortunately, the soda itself isn't green -- trust me, if it were, this sumbitch would've gotten its own full-fledged article. Rather, the soda is the traditionally black tar engine sludge hue we all know and love, and gustatorily, it is fairly similar to Coca-Cola ... except it has this weird smoothness to its aftertaste, almost like your gulping down a shot of sugary water after every sip. Ever the cola traditionalist, I like my soda porting about a viscous, burp-inducing caustic kick; sadly, this Stevia-infected offering just don't give it to the masses.

The drink coincides with the release of Pepsi True, yet another green-canned beverage filled with pseudo-sugary agents. The same way the reduced-but-not-that-reduced sodas of years past have faltered (Pepsi Next, I'm looking at you, G), I just don't think either Green Coke or Green Pepsi will prove sustainable. Soda drinkers and health-savvy folks really aren't one and the same, and you're not going to get the six pack a day man to switch from normal Coke to pussy Coke for any kind of half-baked health reasons. Furthermore, the health-conscious folks won't go anywhere near sodas, no matter how much Stevia and cane sugar is thrown into the mix. These new "green beverages," I am afraid, are just sodas sans a country.

Enjoy the novelty while it lasts, kids ... next Christmas, the only way you'll probably be able to taste this stuff is if you order it online or buy it from one of those weird-o mom and pop gas stations that still have posters from 2006 taped to their freezers.

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