I had an odd moment this morning. I was at work, just coming off of my mid-morning nap and wanting a quick snack before I took my ten o’clock smoke-break. When I wandered into the lunch room and opened the fridge door, I noticed some Eggo Waffles in there. I was about to steal one (because if it’s in the damn fridge then it’s fair game and you all know it, so quit sending me passive-aggressive e-mails) but I stopped myself because I remembered the slogan: “Leggo my Eggo”. There must be some kind of a Jedi mind-trick-thing going on here because I left the waffles alone for the morning and wandered back to my desk to stare at the clock for a while (just as I is stated in my job description I assume).
But I couldn’t get the waffles out of my mind for the rest of the day, and the distraction totally ruined my afternoon Minesweeper marathon. I grew up in the eighties and breakfast food commercials were all the rage on Saturday mornings. You’d watch some overly conservative cartoons, eat cereal with warm water because you were out of milk and the magic TV box would show you some bullshit about what breakfast is supposed to be like (apparently it looks suspiciously similar to your brain on drugs). A commercial like that should have faded to background noise in my memory — along with everything I learned prior to sixth grade considering how much model glue I’ve been huffing lately — but the Eggo slogan has survived in there alive and well to this very day.
I think the reason it stands out so much is that it’s the only slogan of its ilk that relies completely on generating conflict. Most other products have a lighter sales pitch by comparison. Currently, the Cheerios people are trying to guilt-trip you into eating their cereal by reminding you that it will reduce the chances of your children watching your heart pop like an infected pimple because they know you’re pumping more Mountain Dew through your veins than blood at this point. Raisin Brain seems to want to just stick to the facts with their “Two Scoops” campaign, so that’s pretty nice. It’s short, to the point and goes out of its way to pretend you give a shit about the raisins which is naive but you have to appreciate the effort. Tony the Tiger just says, “They’re great!” so I’m guessing his scarf has started to cut off the circulation to his head and that’s the only thought left his brain can form what with the oxygen starvation – but at least he’s not acting like a dick.
Kelloggs could have gone with any number of tactics to push their toaster-ruining-butter-delivery-systems, but they chose to reach out to the hyper-aggressive pricks in all of us. Doesn’t it seem like “Leggo my Eggo” is a shortened version of what originally continued with, “… or I will fucking cut you.” There’s definitely the hint of some ambiguous threat in there, like they’re just waiting for someone to step up and start some shit. And you know what? It’s clearly worked because here it is, twenty years later and I’m still thinking about it, which is exactly what every advertising executive’s wet dream is. I don’t know whether the marketing team that came up with it deserves a handshake for successfully figuring out how to manipulate a bunch of sugar-high adolescents into fighting over what basically amounts to stale toast, or if they should be punched in nuts for turning us into a generation of greedy waffle-hoarding chest-pounders. Whatever the case, I’d love to see their cutting room floor. Here are my predictions:
- Pop Tarts: They’re two to a package and if you touch either one of them, I’ll punch you as hard as I can directly in the asshole.
- Granola Bars: I truly and sincerely hope with all of my heart that you choke on it, you self-centered jack off.
- Aunt Jemima Pancakes: There are eight in every box. Now go fuck yourself.
The more I dwell on this the more I feel there’s something malicious at the heart of it. Prepackaged breakfast foods are supposed to be fun and light-hearted. Why did the Eggo people have to go and try to piss me off? I was perfectly fine, going about my life in my happy little bubble when suddenly I’m being challenged to a pit-fight over some toast-able shit-wafers. The next thing I know, I’m wrapping a brick into a towel and I’ve got grease paint under my eyes (because for some reason, that seems to help).
The whole thing is making me paranoid. With everything else I’ve got going on in my life, now I have to worry about waffle thieves? Is this a problem in other areas of the country or something? Maybe it’s one of those unexpected results of Obamacare I’m always hearing about. Whatever the case, I’m pretty sure no one’s trying to steal my food; yet Kelloggs has me growling like an underfed pit bull every time someone wanders within smelling distance of my breakfast and it’s greatly decreasing my chances of getting a promotion anytime soon.
It’s sad to think about how I used to be relatively safe to be around. I’m normally pretty calm unless disturbed during one of my clearly scheduled workday nap-times. But the Eggo slogan isn’t just a warning about marauding bandits seeking out freshly frozen morning-time confections. No, there’s a challenge in there. They’re looking for trouble and I’m only human. Once that gauntlet has been thrown down, my lizard-brain takes over and I start seeing feeling the need to exert my dominance. It’s the law of the jungle and the alpha-male is going to get to eat what he wants or die trying. This is what the aggressive Eggo marketing campaign has pushed us to as a society: a perfectly reasonable man being driven to punching a secretary in the throat just to steal her freshly popped Eggo waffles.
The weird thing is I don’t even like Eggo waffles. I think they taste like they could give you hepatitis C. You can’t even get butter to spread evenly on them. It just ends up melting into the little pockets and creating this soggy little swimming pool that you have to lap up like a thirsty dog. At this point, you might as well just melt of stick of butter in a cup and drink it because it’s a whole lot easier to get the same affect. Why would I risk my freedom as an American citizen and the rights and privileges intrinsic therein for a half-burned, dried-out biscuit that – let’s face it – is mostly air? These are the thoughts that run through my head as I lock myself in the bathroom trying to cram as many waffles into my mouth as possible before the police come to drag me off to yet another arraignment hearing.
I’ll admit, maybe this is more of a personal problem regarding my unhealthy relationship with food than a broader social issue; at least that’s what the district attorney keeps telling me. But it doesn’t excuse the Eggo marketing team for turning to the dark side in order to up the sales on their tasteless food-discs. I haven’t been this angry since my ill-fated attempt to eat just one Lays potato chip ended up in an armed standoff with federal law enforcement.
The point here is that this is America, and we’re kind of prone to violence at the best of times. It seems irresponsible to push our angry-buttons just to sell some prepackaged ass-cakes. We’re all trying to hold it together long enough to get through another nerve-grating day in the cube-farm while the invisible hand of the market keeps trying to bitch-slap us into throwing punches over snack-food. I think responsibility for any altercations should rest totally on Kellogg’s shoulders and all I need is one juror to agree with me on this.
You know what? I’ve got a good feeling about this trial.