Days Gone Bite: Crispy Critters Cereal

There's a bizarre little creature with pom-poms on his head who haunts my dreams. He has the voice of Jimmy Durante and has Muppet skin, but isn't as innocuous as any Jim Henson creation. He's Crispy, and he's the mascot for Crispy Critters cereal.

I remember the commercials for Crispy Critters vividly, and no, not because you can readily find them on YouTube (see below), but because that jingle was so damn catchy. Plus, as a child who often marched around chanting nonsense words, the Crispy's catch-phrase of "Ah-cha-cha-cha!" was near and dear to my heart.

Now, Crispy Critters had a brief stint on the shelf during the 1960s, but Crispy was not on the box. Instead, the box featured a lion and the rather unimpressive slogan of "The one and only cereal that comes in the shape of animals." Which, honestly, seems like a marketing and typesetting nightmare. It's not sing-song, short or fun. And, more important, it doesn't teach children how to stumble over unfamiliar words. No, all that came later in the fine year of 1987, when Post thought it best to relaunch Crispy Critters with a mildly intimidating, species non-specific creature and the muddy tagline "It's indubitably delicious." Kids everywhere loved the song and the tiny animals in the commercials, but couldn't so much as sing along with it without meeting a speech therapist. Well played, Post.

And then there was the taste. You know those almost-generic animal crackers that are usually found in hospital or university (or our office) vending machines? They're low in sugar, fairly bland and yet, kinda awesome. Not much of a slogan there, but hey, that was Crispy Critters. Plus, they were healthier than Lucky Charms and the like since well, there were no charms. Now that I think about it, I think Post oversold the cereal. They should've gone with an honest campaign that would appeal to un-picky eaters everywhere, as well as the taste conservatives. Something like, "Crispy Critters: Simple. Crunchy. Beige."

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Merritt Martin
Contact: Merritt Martin