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July 03, 2008


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I was briefly a waitress at a small New England chain restaurant (Memory Lane, anyone?), and I was well-known for my ability to convince people to order a dessert of Grape Nut Pudding. Andy still likes it, frankly.

I clicked your nograpesnonuts link, and then--as is my wont--I reflexively clicked the "skip intro" button. What a charming fellow! I still don't want to buy Grape Nuts, but if I were single, I'd date that guy (or his writers).

I'm still trying to work out what the billboard is trying to say. We don't have 'Grape Nuts' this side of the pond (well, I don't think so)... are they second hand in some way?

@Karen: I want that recipe.
@Orange: Chacun a son goût. I find myself wanting to slap him upside the head.
@John: Hah! No, there's nothing secondhand about Grape Nuts. The billboard is trying to say: we don't go for euphemisms like "certified pre-owned"; we tell home truths around here. But you shouldn't have to work that hard at decoding a billboard.

I saw this campaign this weekend all over SF. Variations include, "brunch" crossed out and replaced with a scrawled, "bloody marys."

I'm not so worried about the cliched-ness of "It is what it is." I'm bothered by how little sense the campaign makes.

The idea, I guess, is that we should see past euphemisms. So Grape-Nuts is a euphemism? For what? Flavorless, tooth-braking breakfast cereal?

@danthelawyer: I think we're meant to see Grape-Nuts as the anti-euphemism--the real thing. But you're right, the campaign seems to be saying that Grape-Nuts represents the harsh, unpleasant truth.

Nancy, it's nice to see someone else in the industry is just as stunned and disappointed about this campaign as I am. The billboards just popped up in Cleveland and I was shocked to find such a terrible billboard by Post, and I'm probably in the demographic! Check out my blog entry: http://felberandfelber.blogspot.com/2008/07/billboard-advertising-lessons.html

@Michelle: What do you think the target demographic is? I'm not sure myself.

By the way, judging by a Google search, I'd say you and I hold the minority view. Most folks seem to like the campaign--they find it "refreshing" or something. Go figure.

wow. lots of debate over a pretty simple, lighthearted and yes, clever idea. this campaign is for a cereal that barely eeks out 5 inches of shelf space in most grocery megastores. kudos to Post/Kraft and its agency for making it relevant again by reminding us how overblown and sugarcoated everything around us has become...and positioning the basic, no-frills voice of Grape-Nuts as the spokesbrand behind it all.

as for the demographic, I'm guessing it's aiming for those people who don't take themselves too seriously and favor a nice conversation with a brand over being spoken to like a 3rd grader about some random (and boring) product attributes that a brand manager thinks everyone needs to know about.

just my 2¢...since everyone else seems to be a little hypercritical here.

@JD: Glad to hear you're enjoying the Grape-Nuts campaign!

But to clarify: one of the purposes of this blog is to critically examine the language of advertising. There is *always* a subtext.

And my main point here and elsewhere is the appropriation of popular catchphrases for commercial use--in this case, "It is what it is."

Hi Nancy,
Grape-Nuts always appealed to the older generations. When I saw the billboard, the phrase caught my attention (other than the lack of sense). In watching the video with the not-so-cool guy, their target is the younger generation (20-30 yrs old). I can't believe we are the minority in this!

Michelle (http://felberandfelber.blogspot.com/2008/07/billboard-advertising-lessons.html)

Interesting comments on the campaign. I would say this campaign worked great for me, I am not in the advertising or marketing industry. I do not have a degree in english or creative writing. I found this post while scouring the web, looking for more information on the actor and the grape nuts product after viewing their website. I am likely in what you are referring to as the target demographic however. No, I've never stocked my pantry with Grape Nuts. Yes, I will be taking a trip to the store this evening for one reason alone - to offer my buck to anyone who can create such an amazing message.

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