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Cheetos' Mascot Exposes His Dark Side While Pitching to Adults

By Alf Gordon(13,356)

Posted Tuesday, March 18, 2008
View All Blog Posts submitted by Alf Gordon

He's become an American icon in the marketing world, a laid-back, fun-loving feline encouraging kids to enjoy "the cheese that goes CRUNCH!".  But as he takes a stab at marketing for adults, is Chester Cheetah revealing his dark side?

It's a new group of Cheetos ads geared for an adult audience.  Here's one, as described on Slate.com.

The Spot: A woman washing her clothes at a Laundromat has a spat with a rude lady she encounters. Moments later, the first woman notices an animated cheetah sitting in the corner of the room—wearing sunglasses, playing chess. "Felicia," says the cheetah, "those are her whites in the dryer." He gives a knowing nod. Felicia grabs a handful of the bright orange Cheetos she's been munching and furtively smears them into the rude lady's gleaming white bedsheets. The cheetah disappears. "Join us," reads the closing text. "OrangeUnderground.com."  (Click here to watch the ad.)

What happened to the happy-go-lucky cat who either chased down Cheetos (and splatted himself all over the landscape doing so) or munched on them while dancing with tow-headed moppets following him?

It all started when Cheetos executives learned that 60 percent of all Cheetos consumed are eaten by adults.  That's right.  Not kids--adults.  It was a surprising statistic, and made the execs realize they needed to market to that demographic.  (Not surprising to me.  I LOVE the crunchy version of the product!)

Using Chester in his current childlike incarnation wasn't going to work.  So a new set of ads, geared towards the adult market, was conceived.  Chester is quieter, edgier, and a nonconformist, encouraging people to do things they wouldn't ordinarily consider, like pushing Cheetos up the nostrils of a snoring airplane commuter, or crunching and scattering Cheetos all over the desk of an office neat freak.

Some may feel this new, dark Chester could send mixed signals to the kids he's been playing with all these years.  Not to worry.  The ads for the adults air later at night on networks like TBS and Comedy Central, while the kid-friendly Chester shows up on Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.  The ads also promote different products, with kids seeing newer, less-unhealthy versions of the Cheetos line, and adults getting the original, artery-clogging and fat-laden versions.  (Obviously children's health is much more important than adults' health.  Especially since the adults are the ones who earn the money to buy all those products.)

The tie-in to the Web site is more advertising. Orangeunderground.com is a bizarre site that encourages viewers to create their own videos displaying their RAOC (Random Acts Of Cheetos) and to upload them to the Web site.  Somebody was smoking something when they put this site together, but it is definitely worth sitting through the freakiness.

The bottom line is, Chester Cheetah is still promoting Cheetos.  He's just doing it for two different groups in two different ways.  And hopefully never the twain shall meet.  (Dang, now I'm hungry!)

This Blog Post has been read 437 times.
Posted to ProBlogs.com on Tuesday, March 18, 2008
View other posts by Alf Gordon

Comments on this blog post:

Bob from Chicago: (41 days 9 hours ago.)
'It ain't easy bein' cheesy' while not flattering has been my catch phrase since I've heard Chester say it e-ya-da-e-ya-da-e-ya-da.

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