New Upshot Post Cereal spot sure to brighten the day

Scene from Honey Bunches spot

Upshot/Chicago has joined the ranks of agencies making television commercials to sell cereal. In late 2011, Post Cereals brought on board Upshot as agency of record for two of its brands: Honey Bunches of Oats and the iconic Grape Nuts.

The first Post Cereals work from Upshot debuted this week, and it is a 30-second spot for fruit-flavored varieties of the Honey Bunches brand. 

Pardon us if we’re seeing yellow after watching it. But the new spot — a second Honey Bunches spot will launch shortly — definitely aims to brighten up our day with a heavy dose of yellow as it delivers its sales pitch.

Personally, it’s not our favorite hue. But when one pauses to consider what the color and the commercial are promoting, the extensive use of yellow starts to make some sense.  After all we equate yellow with the sun and things such as a sunny disposition.

Which is good, we suppose, for helping put viewers in a positive frame of mind to consider Honey Bunches.  The tag line for the commercial, “Make Your Day Bunches Better,” is perfect in that regard.

Honey Bunches spot bright, sunny, smiling

We get that first major shot of golden yellow right at the top of the Honey Bunches spot in an image of a bright sun rising to herald the start of a new day — the perfect time for a bowl of cereal, we suppose.

On this particular day in this particular Honey Bunches spot  — for no particular reason we can discern — we see a crew of bikers in yellow polo shirts and yellow helmets peddling into what looks to be your typical upscale suburban neighborhood.

Next thing we know they are ringing the doorbell or doorknob at various houses to tell the residents about new fruit-flavored versions of Honey Bunches cereal.

Though we see several couples getting the good news about the Honey Bunches line extensions, they all have one thing in common: pleasant smiles. Pretty much the same kind of big smiles plastered on the faces of the yellow-garbed bike crew spreading the word about the new cereals.

There is, in fact, a lot of smiling in this commercial.  Too much for us, frankly, because it makes the effort to sell viewers on Honey Bunches seem a tad too forced.  Plus, by the end, the commercial feels as if its falling into a familiar-sounding formula for packaged goods advertising that requires the product benefits to be clearly stated and restated several times over the course of the spot.

Post appears to want new ad approaches

Coincidentally, Post Cereals used to be a Kraft Foods subsidiary, though after a couple of ownership changes, it is now an independently-operated company.

It appears the powers-that-be at Post still want to go with advertising that, while indisputably sunny and upbeat, still feels just a little too old-fashioned for these modern times.

Kraft, of course, has moved on from the very tired formulaic advertising that was its hallmark for decades. The packaged goods behemoth is now greenlighting much fresher, bolder ads for many of its brands.

Smiles are always nice, but they don’t constitute breakthrough advertising. Certainly not when coupled with ad copy that doesn’t veer far from basic product description, as is the case with this new Honey Bunches commercial.

Post at least is talking as if it wants to break out of formulaic advertising molds. “Upshot is a great marketing partner to help give our brands a good push,” said Jim Holbrook, Post EVP/marketing in a statement.

If Upshot indeed wants to do Post a big favor, it can push hard for the cereal company to try something just a bit more daring. 

Upshot Creative Team: Senior CC Bill Fogarty; senior copywriter Derek Halpern; producer, Kevin James.

Director, David Kellogg of Anonymous Content; posthouse, Beast, Sean Berringer, editor; music, Ron Steele of I Dig.

Contact Lewis Lazare at LewisL3@aol.com

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