Nuggets of Wisdom

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Coco The Monkey

Like most other children growing up, sugary cereal was always a major part of a complete breakfast—and by “major part”, I meant the only part. You might as well rename the meal “cereal” because that’s what most children ate in the morning.

Eating breakfast cereal is essentially the childhood equivalent of having only a cup of coffee for breakfast: it’s worse for your health than not eating breakfast at all, but the buzz that we get from consuming it, either with the sugar in the cereal or the caffeine in the coffee, pretty much keeps up awake and going until lunch.

But I digress.

As a child growing up in the 90s, what cereal I ate was dictated by what cereal mascot was able to convince me with their commercials into bugging my parents to buy their product. I was told by Toucan Sam to follow my nose to Fruit Loops, encouraged to hear Rice Krisipies "Snap, Crackle, and Pop" by the eponymous elves, and was made to chase after the Lucky Charms of Lucky the Leprechaun.

However, there was one cereal mascot whose cereal I never ate, but whose jingle managed to ingrain itself into my brain to this day: Coco the Monkey.

Coco the Monkey was the mascot for Coco Krispies, whose gimmick was that it was made from real chocolate and turned the milk into chocolate milk. (Again, breakfast cereal is the childhood equivalent to coffee: not healthy, but good-tasting with a buzz that gets you going in the morning).

While most other mascots were pre-occupied with failing to get their hands on other people’s cereal (The Trix Rabbit) or failing to keep their cereal away from others (Lucky the Leprechaun), Coco was lucky enough to keep his cereal away from the prying hands of the other jungle animals.

Yes, oddly enough, these other jungle animals, mostly carnivores, weren’t so much interested eating the singing monkey, but rather his cereal. (I guess the parent groups wouldn’t approve of commercials where the characters were actively trying to eat the mascot.)

But what makes these commercials most memorable are its calypso-style jingle sung with Coco's Australian accent. As I said before, while the commercial jingle never managed to convince me to try the cereal, it managed to be catchy enough to ingrain itself into my brain even to this day.

Coco and his animated commercials were the main marketing drive for the cereal in the early 90s. By the time the decade was waning, the mascot and his jingles were replaced by a non-talking live-action monkey.

My best guess for this change was the popularity of apes with movies such as Dunstin Checks-In and Babe: Pigs In The City. Because clearly, according to marketing departments, live-action apes were more "hip" with the young crowd than some singing cartoon monkey. I mean, what grown child loves cartoons? /s

Since then, Coco the Monkey and his catchy-as-hell jingle have remained off the air. Heck, I don’t even know if they sell the cereal anymore. It’s been ages since I’ve been down a cereal aisle. Either way, the jingle may no longer be playing, but it will most certainly continue to play in my mind and the minds of other 90s kids.