Monday, July 16, 2007

Direct Sponsorship 1

There was a time when entertainment and sponsorship made a lot of sense.

The Huckleberry Hound Show title sequence:

The mascot for Kellogg's Corn Flakes is a character named Cornelius Rooster - he's the star of Huck's title sequence!

Right after the title sequence, Cornelius Rooster (the Kellogg's Corn Flakes mascot) would fall into the first bumper of the show, to introduce Huck...

Sponsors and entertainers were partners and they made great radio and TV shows and the networks had no input-they just put the shows on that the sponsors paid for and the entertainers were free to do what the public wanted them to do..entertain.

Rocky and his Friends title sequence:

"The most delicious ready-to-eat cereal in the world!" - Bullwinkle

The Flintstones title sequence:

So all the old cartoon characters used to plug the sponsor's commercials in their own shows.

Huckleberry Hound and friends do a commercial for Kellogg's Corn Flakes cereal...

Rocky and Bullwinkle do a commercial for General Mills' Cheerios cereal...

Fred and Barney do a commercial for Winston cigarettes...

Yogi Bear does a commercial for Kellogg's OKs cereal...

I always loved it when cartoon characters told me what to eat and what toys to play with. I obeyed. My breakfast diet was planned by Bugs Bunny and Yogi Bear and Rocky Squirrel.

Then when I grew up I wanted to have my own cartoon characters sell products in their own shows. This was not allowed anymore on TV so I made up my own products just to spite the FCC and make my show seem more legit and special. Good commercials add fun to the entertainment experience.

Log Commercial

Powdered Toast

These fake commercials were so effective that kids went to the stores and asked for the products that didn't exist. People memorized the lines and the songs from the commercials and sang them whenever I did signings at stores and theaters.

Imagine what me and my artists could do for real products when some smart company takes advantage of my selling power. Tune in tomorrow for more hype!


Anonymous said...

Man I wish I could've experienced that sort of stuff as a kid. I remember watching Ren & Stimpy as a kid and wondering why other cartoons didn't have commercials in them and general audience interactivity. I really, really miss that. I'd love to see that again but of course there's really no cartoon worth watching these days anyway.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I always thought that the "log" commercials are a parody of the typical 80's attitude to make cartoon television series for the sole purpose to sell toys, like He-Man, Gi-Joe, Transformers... Those series most people here surely adore and love. ;)

Anonymous said...

I've never seen these commercials before. They're great, in fact, some of them are more peculiar/funny than the actual cartoons in my opinion.I like when the whole HB crowd interacts, in the Huckleberry presentation and dancing like hillbillies. I guess this stuff is in the Huckleberry show dvds too, maybe I should order one of those.

Anonymous said...

I kinda prefer ads for Gritty Kitty and Log and Powdered Toast though, it doesn't have the same sleaziness as Fred Flintstone telling me to smoke.

Those commercials are pretty fun though.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I'm jonesing for both cigarettes and breakfast cereal with equal intensity!

Anonymous said...

Hahaha, just watched the Bullwinkle Cheerios ad. It's hillarious!

Gabriel said...

funny how Cornelius is not in the same style of the other characters. Maybe that's why the door covers him, so we can't see him along Huckleberry for too long.

Jorge Garrido said...

Hey! Those are from that great Huck DVD! Those bumpers are a revelation, Cornelius is in that thing way more than Huck!

I wish they had included those Winston ads in the Flintstones Season One DVD.

And the Looney Tunes DVD's have some of those Tang commerciasl Bugs did. "We Martians mix it by the glassful!"

Unfortunately there is even now controversy over Spongebob and Dora selling candy and snacks to kids. Kids are getting way too fat, apparently. They say instead of Cartoon pizes on and in the box, The Flintstones promote gaming websites like Postopia and THAT'S controversial.

Product placement came back in the 80s and 90s with toyetic series like Beast Wars Transfomers, GI Joe, and the charecters THEMSELVES were the prodcuts being sold.

rex said...

Hey John,
Have you seen that bread commercial that uses your 'happy happy joy joy' song? They don't play it much, I've only seen the commercial once or twice. They really should have just hired you to make a cool and original commercial for them.

Anonymous said...

There's a lot of stuff that I love about that era, but I get the feeling it wasn't that much easier to make a show.

From what I've read in How Underdog Was Born, it sounds to me like the main reason Underdog was under consideration at all was that Jay Ward was giving them a lot of problems, and they wanted another program to use as leverage against him.

While there may have been less (or no) sponsor interference, I'm not sure it was the idyllic picture that you're painting.

Anonymous said...

wow, so that is the story behind log and other products you sold on your cartoons. you know i saw log toys on, so people can buy it!! also as for the flintstones that must of been before they discovered cigarettes cause cancer and banned cigarettes on tv.

nice post john

Elisson said...

Some time back, I wrote a 100-word story about a fictional breakfast cereal. I'm not sure whether it was my memories of the Sugar Bear on Post's Sugar Crisp, or Yogi Bear on that OK's box that inspired the last line of the story...

...but I can still remember those ads as though it was yesterday. Bullwinkle's Cheerios ad: a classic!

Anonymous said...

Oh! That's what the Log and Powdered Toast commercials were about. I always thought it was poking fun at how ass-backwards things were with 80's cartoons in that many of them were really 26 minute toy commercials. Thanks for clearing that up.

Oh, and also John, I've wanted to give a response whenever you or someone else here has raged against cultural references in todays cartoons. Well, instead I just completed an entire essay about on my blog. Check it out and see if you agree or disagree.

Anonymous said...

I vaguely remember seeing some of these commercials as a kid. It was a little unsettling to see Fred and Barney hiding in the backyard, puffing away...

Anonymous said...

John, Did you have a hand in designing your video games or was it Nick? I've seen some of the games on ebay.

Anonymous said...

You don't ever get sick of hearing the log song?

Rodrigo said...

I would have totally bought the Civil War edition of Log.

And why on earth isn't this allowed anymore? You'd think our capitalist country would nod its head at anything with this sort of marketing power.

Oh, and touché on HB cartoons degrading over time. It looks like that first Kellogg commercial had some squash, stretch, and weight.

Ernesto Pfluger said...

Hanna Barbera Characters still doing commercials... Looks at this:

This ads promotes turist in the Asturias (north region of Spain).

Ernesto Pfluger

Anonymous said...

All there is now are those stupid Coco/Fruity Pebbles commercails.

Raff said...

I'm really on the fence about this subject. On one hand, I prefer entertaining commercials to boring cynical ones. For the sake of letting TV be TV. On the other hand...

We're not in the hamburger business; we're in show business. -Ray Kroc

That's a little scary.

>> My breakfast diet was planned by Bugs Bunny and Yogi Bear and Rocky Squirrel. <<

That's scarier.

>> Fred and Barney do a commercial for Winston cigarettes...<<

That's probably the scariest.

We may all go to hell and be subjected to Fred shilling for Viagra.

I think I'm going to be sick.

NARTHAX said...

Today, the Kellogg's rooster would be named Cornelius Cock, as he should have been in the Eisenhower era.

Anonymous said...

Man, that powdered toast still looks tasty...

Hey, how did you go about getting that Log theme song made?

Rodrigo said...

Hey John, the archives ain't workin'! =(

Max Ward said...

It's really true....I know I asked for powdered toast more than once. Hell, in the commercial they said it taste like saw dust but you made it look so fun and appealing I still wanted it!

Anonymous said...

wow! those commercials are great! thanks for posting them John. the Log and Powdered Toast Man commercials were always my favorites. you're right, EVERYONE i knew that watched Ren & Stimpy knew the Log song by heart.

Nico said...

This is one of the posts I've been waiting for!!

One of the things I love MOST about cartoons are when they were their network's own sponsors. And that being incorporated into Ren and Stimpy was just as great. I love when the character would be pitching us a product... it makes you feel like you're part of it, hanging out in the same room as Yogi and Bullwinkle.

Another thing sorely missing from today's "cartoons". Today's cartoons are the most boring, unfun things in the world! Why do the networks hate kids so much??

Anonymous said...

I loved those commercials almost more than anything in the rest of the show.
The commericials were great because as art they were complete concepts, like an old catchy tune on the car radio up in cottage country on fishing trip.
It helped influence me to "sabbotage" my final year at Sheridan. Looking back I have to say that was the best thing that could have happened. So thanks are in order.

Kevin W. Martinez said...


Yes, the vintage Bullwinkle, Bugs, and Hanna-Barbera spots are fun to watch because, A.) They treat kids as if they have brains, and B.) they're fun to watch in and of themselves.

However, it doesn't take long for things to go downhill. The FCC put up Anti-commercial laws in the late 60's, and when they were repealed in the early 80's, commercials like these warm Yogi and Bullwinkle didn't come back. Instead they were replaced by piss-poor toy commercials extended to 30 minutes of an actual cartoon (He-man, My Little Pony, Care Bears).

Interestingly, Many cartoon characters today have their own cereals (like the Disney/Pixar guys and Spongebob), yet the commercials are nowhere near as admirable and momerable as the ones where characters plugged cereals they weren't connected to.

allamort said...

I...I really thought powdered toast existed (hey, there's powdered milk, so why not toast?).

These old commercials are amazing! They're of such high quality and they aren't cheesy, forceful, or off-putting at all! So happy and inviting, unlike the crap I grew up with:

I'm go eat some Cheerios- the big "G" stands for "Goodness!"

rodineisilveira said...

Johnny K.,

I saw the Huckleberry Hound Show closing credits on YouTube (! On it, the Kellogg's sponsorship carried by Huck and Yogi was animated by Kenneth Muse; while the animation from the whole closing (involving Huck and Kellogg's characters [among them: Tony, Tony Jr., Snap, Pop & Crackle]) was made by Ed Love.
Check this video on the following address:
Enjoy to see this video, OK?
Well, that's it!

Cheers from this faithful friend who always writes 4 U,

Rodinei Campos da Silveira (from São Paulo, Brazil)



Marc Deckter said...

Rodrigo said...
Hey John, the archives ain't workin'! =(

Hi Rodrigo,

Until I figure out a more permanent solution, just replace the word "rchives" with "archives" in the 'Not Found' URL that comes up.

Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

Fun post, John! I actually wanted to ask you about Rocky & Bullwinkle in one last post of 1950-60 era tv animation but thought it might be out of place. I know the animation and art doesn't really compare to most of the stuff you're showing us, but do you have any insights you can share about it?

The Butcher said...

I just now noticed. Did you get the idea of all the different kid's heads popping up around the log from the Easy Pop commercial?

sockmonkery said...

I still love that Log commercial and have always had a soft spot for Powdered Toast Man. It just fit Ren and Stimpy to have fake awesome commercials....just brilliant John!

Yeah, I saw that wonder (?) or little debbie ad on American TV with the "happy happy joy joy" song too. I was like WTF, how did they find this song? Definitely not as good as these ads.

Anonymous said...

Talking about the selling power of cartoons through direct advertisement is like talking about how much money a nun could make if she was a prostitute.

Jesse Oliver said...

Hey John!

I just saw you and Billy West on TV, on the 100 greatest TV quotes special on TV Land! It's pretty cool. I did not realize that "You Eeediot" origanily came from an old Peter Lorrie movie.


Anonymous said...

Hi, John

I know this is off - topic, but I saw this and began to get dry-heaves:

We apparently have you to thank for "Yin Yang Yo" and "Wow Wow Wubsie"

Jack Ruttan said...

I love log!

Anonymous said...

I never saw the "rooster" version of the Huckleberry Hound Show, I think when they syndicated it, they replaced the rooster with Huck himself, that's what I remember. The Bullwinkle William Tell Cheerios spot is the best animation I ever saw of Bullwinkle, definitely not done on the cheap in Mexico, that ad! Man, that is the most cartoony and fluid I've ever seen Bullwinkle. I still visit
and see your Quisp ad. Now I buy the stuff on! I still miss Quake!

Eric C. said...

John, when are you doing "My Little A$$" I heard about your idea on an radio interview. Nice singing by the way. _Eric ;)

DonB said...

Wow! Thanks for the clips. Must have been about 40 years ago since I last saw that Huckleberry Hound opening.

Wasn't there a Quick Draw McGraw opening too with a stagecoach?

Anonymous said...

I want my log, dammit!

I wonder why they don't make real commercials like that?

Mr. Semaj said...

I'm not part of the generation that experienced direct sponsorship, but I can say that commercials from the 80's and 90's were much more fun than commercials of today.

This may contradict John's analysis on animation history a little. Back in the 80's, cereal ads began utilizing full non-UPA inspired designs and animation for the first time. And back then, the mascots were much more fun.

For those who like Cookie Crisp, I bet the Cookie Crook, or even Jarvis were better mascots than the present-day wolf.

There are plenty of cereal ads that I'd kill to see again. It's been a full decade since the last Smacks commercial, and about as long for cereals like Apple Cinnamon Cheerios and Golden Crisp. What happened? It's not like they stopped selling the stuff.

Should there come a day where I can team up with General Mills for direct sponsorship, please let me know.

Vanoni! said...

Direct Sponsorship makes so much sense to me it makes me physically angry that it's not being utilized today!

John - do you think there's a sense of greed involved? Wherein companies don't want to share the popularity or indenty of their product with someone else??
"Why would we let YOUR character sell our stuff when we can invent our OWN character to tell kids to buy our stuff! We want them to see a cartoon and identify with US. . .not YOU!!"

and thats how Todd the no laughs, skateboarding, shades-wearing, sugar frosted porcupine is born.

Anonymous said...

Silly Canadian! Ads are for adults!
You have a great campaign here, only you will have to take it back to Canada, because angry moms in America are trying to get rid of this type of advertising for the same reason that they got rid of Joe Camel years ago. And guess what? It seems to be working.

Looks like you will have to find a new job :0(

rodineisilveira said...

São Paulo - SP, Brazil, September 20, 2007.

Hello, Johnny K.!

I've found some cool materials on YouTube (, refering to the overture and closing from The Quick Draw McGraw Show (Hanna-Barbera/Columbia Pictures, 1959-62), with the sponsorship of Kellogg's cereals.
On the video that brings the final credits from The Quick Draw McGraw Show, there's a skit that shows Quick Draw and Baba Looey interacting with Snooper, Blabber, Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy, that comes before the closing of the show. You can listen the legendary Daws Butler giving a voicing show, characterizing the voices of Quick Draw, Baba Looey, Snooper, Blabber and Augie Doggie; while Doug Young lends his voice to Doggie Daddy.
And this skit bring a very familiar animation for me: it was made by the legendary animator Kenneth Muse.
These skits - which appeared between the episodes of Quick Draw, Snooper & Blabber and the Doggies - are very rare, and they aren't seen many years ago (here in Brazil, these skits aren't seen since the early 70s).
These videos that I've quoted, are on the following addresses:

- Quick Draw overture:
- Quick Draw closing (including the skits):

Enjoy to see these pearls, and DOOOOOOOOON'T FORGET to include them on your blog, OK?
Well, that's it!

Cheers from this faithful friend who always writes 4 U,

Rodinei Campos da Silveira (from São Paulo, Brazil)




Niki said...

You don't have to reply to this, Just read it: I'm really envious of your childhood, and I wish that they would allow you to make more entertaining commercials for TV. Keep teaching, I promise I'll try and get that rule changed when I get older.