As an average white guy, I consider it my duty to be extra-aware of corporate wrongdoing. I?m benefiting every day from an unfathomably pervasive power structure designed and run by people like me, and that puts me in a unique position to criticize their unscrupulous behavior without fear of being smirked at.
So here goes (and not for the last time): how the hell does Apple Jacks think its still OK to be hawking its generic, semi-sweet cereal using a Jamaican stereotype?
I was in the grocery store the other day, shopping, when I happened upon a box of Apple Jacks. I was gobsmacked by what I saw: staring out at me was the angry Apple man and the ?cool Jamaican Cinnamon Stick? that everyone remembers from their childhood. The Cinnamon Stick was surfing on a wave of milk while the Apple tried in vain to shield himself from the spray by desperately waving his hands in front of his face and screaming, ?stop, stop!?. It was a horrifying sight.
The whole ?cinnamon is the winna-mon? ad campaign, at this point, feels like something out of the 1950?s. Using racist stereotypes to ?big up? your cereal is not OK, and definitely not OK when you are painting the Rasta caricature as an amoral miscreant. The Cinnamon Stick is depicted as a rascal without a cause, a terminally casual zombie who is laid-back to the point of nihilism. What are his aspirations? His interests (beyond surfing and skateboarding)? We will likely never know, despite the fact that we have had nearly a decade?s worth of exposure to his mythos.
Of course, I?ve heard it argued that the Apple Jacks campaign is, in fact, a subversive commentary on white colonialism: the Apple represents the white male carpetbagger while the Cinnamon Stick represents the un-tameable creative on the margins whose raw originality can never be co-opted. As nice as this sounds, I do not believe that it reflects the reality of the Apple Jacks campaign. Were Apple Jacks attempting to make a serious socio-political statement, they would have taken greater pains to make the Cinnamon Stick a multi-dimensional character: a citizen, a father, a lover, etc. Instead, he is only a walking (or surfing, rather) catchphrase.
I don?t care for Apple Jacks as a cereal (I find their lack of flavor disturbing) and now, I especially don?t care for them as a brand. Sorry Apple Jacks, but cinnamon is not for the Spinner-mon.