When using subliminal advertising to sell cereal to impressionable young children, you'd think that ad executives would be cautious not to include racist stereotypes and would altogether avoid portraying genocidal maniacs sympathetically. You, however, would be wrong.
Dig 'Em Frog
SECRET IDENTITY: Black Guy
Smacks mascot Dig 'Em Frog wears an exaggeratedly sideways baseball cap, his name is an insulting approximation of urban slang, and his voice is low and melodious like an amphibian Barry White. It's just surprising that Dig 'Em doesn't walk around giving out unwarranted high-fives and beating white people in sports. Oh, wait"...
WHAT WE LEARNED: No portrayal of black people is too insulting to put into a TV commercial.
Without the trailblazing latent racism of Dig 'Em, we never would have been prepared for the McDonald's "I'm Lovin' It" campaign. ("Lovin.'" You know, because black people don't use Gs at the end of their words.) But we're not the only ones who learned something from Dig 'Em. When faced with the task of creating a cartoon character to reach their "urban" demographic, the now-defunct WB network went with a frog, too. It's easy to imagine dozens of WB executives sitting around a table, wracking their brains to come up with an animal that is known for jumping high AND for dancing well, before deciding, "Ah fuck it, let's just go with another black frog."
(Fortunately for African-American culture, the makers of Kangaroo Jack came through where Warner Bros. couldn't-they invented a rapping, dancing kangaroo who steals people's money.)
SECRET IDENTITY: British Imperialist
Like any turn-of-the-century British imperialist, the vaguely accented Sam can often be found deep in the jungle searching for the natural resource he craves with an Ahab-like singleness of purpose. If the natives can't keep up with him on his quest to plunder their land, Sam offers the pathologically unsympathetic rejoinder that they just need to "follow their noses," ignoring that fact that not everyone possesses the privileges to which he was born.
WHAT WE LEARNED: British imperialists and American imperialists are different.
By giving Sam a British accent, Fruit Loops commercials highlight the very important distinction between British and American imperialism. While both proud nations wantonly kill people who live in the jungle, British imperialists tend to kill them for their natural resources (See Heart of Darkness, Zulu ), whereas Americans tend to kill jungle civilizations because we think they're communists (Vietnam) or because we're bored (Granada, Panama). C'mon Britain, everyone knows pillaging natural resources is for the desert.