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Company: Kellogg Co.
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Brand: Nut N' Honey Crunch
Ad Title: Jensen
Business Category: Packaged Foods
Media Outlets: Television
Country: United States
Region: North America
Agency: Leo Burnett Co.
Year: 1987
Target: Mainstream


GLBT Punch Line


Theme Breakdown

AdRespect Score: 
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Kellogg's employs the question "What's for breakfast?" into a series of situations where the name of the cereal sounds like the romantic answer, "Nothing, honey." The questions surprise a rich matron when the answer comes from her butler and a waitress who thinks a customer is flirting with her.

The last vignette -- where the gay joke inevitably falls in many commercials -- is at a chuckwagon scene, where a cowboy asks that question of the cook. The five cowboys then all angrily pull their guns on the cook for thinking he called them "honey."

It is one of the most clear examples of homophobia in advertising.

While one viewer of the ad suggests that the hungry cowboys are angry that they will get nothing for breakfast, the entire commercial is based on the joke of the cereal name sounding like a romantic come-on.

The Chicago-based Coalition Against Media-Marketing Prejudice (ironically called CAMMP) protested the ad. "The commercials send a serious and dangerous message: that gays and lesbians or anyone perceived as sexually or behaviorally different are easy and acceptable targets for trivialization," the group said outside Kellogg headquarters in 1988.

Kellogg's response was that it would be overreacting if it changed the commercial or pulled it off the air and it stayed.

Ironically, over a decade later in 1998, the Kellogg Foundation awarded a grant to a youth program under the National Lesbian & Gay Task Force.


Anthony Frederick , Washington, DC
The cook on the trail is clearly telling a pack of hungry men that for breakfast is the cereal Nut-N-Honey, to which they interpret his comment as meaning there is nothing for breakfast and are upset (excuse me while I laugh out loud, this is so funny). The reading of this man as gay or this scene having anything to do with gay-ness or homophobic is far-fetched. The fact that the commercial is obtuse and annoying is the only thing of which it is guilty. I see nothing here at all offensive or violent to gay folk.

Fred Nicholson , New York
I think Anthony Frederick was quite correct in a way, although his conclusion is dead wrong. To argue that the "humor" in this ad is that the cowboys think that the cook told them they were to have "nothing" for breakfast makes no sense. It is (as Mr. Frederick implied) not funny at all. Clearly the humor is in the misinterpretation (exactly parallel to the misinterpretation in both previous vignettes) of the word "honey" -- thinking the speaker is calling them "honey". And, of course, anything that might be interpreted as a romantic/sexual come-on (in the "West") is grounds for killing the offender. ("Them's shootin' words")

Daniel Schmidt , Kansas City, KS
Some folks are quite happy to see gay references like that which appeared in the Nut 'n' Honey commercial. I am offended because it just perpetuates the anti-gay sentiment that exists here in America. Being the object of humor is a quite acceptable portrayal of Gays, but having them represented in ordinary ways is not. It is a common thread in most of the appearances you find on television. I like the car commercial where the guys are driving and see a chair on the road... They don't say they are Gay, but it seems that way. The comedy that is shown is less obviously stereotypical.

Ruby Figuera , Baltimore
The idea that there is "nothing for breakfast" is wrong. The box of cereal is on the table in clear view of the cowboys, and two bowls are already filled, and the cook is in the process of filling the third. This negates the idea that there is no food available for the cowboys. Further, no argument can be made that the cook doesn't intend to feed them because he has clearly already filled up two bowls. This negates the idea that the cook may be hoarding the food for himself. I think the ad is anti-gay. I've tried the cereal, and frankly think that the cowboys may want to skip breakfast the next time "Nut N' Honey" is served. I dont think the cereal tastes anything like nuts or honey. It is pretty indistinguishable from the other "lightly cerealed breakfast sugars".

Wolf , Long Beach, CA
Inference...It's ok to shoot you if you're gay. No wonder 30% of all teen suicides are centered around sexuality. What a screwed-up place we live in...

Mauricio Espinosa , Mexico City
Typical quid pro quo, perfectly used in an ad because it's really funny -- if you're a straight (acting?) man in the 1980s that is -- when, as I remember, there was this awful practice called gay-bashing that was soon to be exported to Mexico from the US (cause it was sooo cool!), enough to make any gay man loose his appetite were we not in fact stronger. This ad was never seen in Mexico by the way, but it's as if it was because the number of ads and TV shows showing tough macho men getting pissed off just because some man seemed "gayish" was (and is still in some places) an everyday experience and did nothing to eradicate the predjudice. When the entire world becomes gay-friendly, then I'll be laughing my lungs out if I see ads like these, I promise!

Jude Vecoli , Seekonk, MA
The cowboys clearly are upset at the prospect of no breakfast, not upset with being called "honey" by the cook. (Whether or not it's funny is a different issue entirely.)

Tracie , Cleveland
I was much younger when I saw this ad, and from a child's simple perspective, it was very obvious that the cook was making breakfast and that the cowboys are upset with him for calling them honey. As I recall, this ad followed suit with other similar ads for Nut n' Honey Crunch, where the "is food available" question was not called upon and was rather meant to seem as though the person was calling someone "honey." This usually brought about an angry/surprised response. (I think someone said it to a female police officer once.) As a child however, I was not aware of the gay angle. I dont think it necessarily implies that the cowboys thought their sexual preferences were being called into question. Could they not simply feel like the word "honey" is too feminine a name for "macho" cowboys? It's the stereotypes in our own minds that associates this commercial to any gay references. Please don't get me wrong--anything that would link violence to gays is wrong and should be eliminated. However, in this commerical, I feel that higher meaning was given to the conversation.

James A. Clark Jr. , Greenville, MI
It was homophobic in the cowboy part, although the nut and honey thing was a cute line. I think it sends a message.

Bobby , Dallas, TX
Look, you don't call a straight man "honey" unless he's a very good friend. That's just common sense, not homophobia. The cook is surprised because he just said the name of the cereal and didn't realize that it sounds like "nothing honey" instead of "nuts and honey." As for gay bashing, everyone knows that the cowboy was straight.

Ron Hirsch , San Francisco, CA
I was upset by this ad in 1987 and boycotted Kellogg's products for over 10 years, after they responded to a letter I wrote them. Regardless of the homophobia, which is not incidental and should be regarded, the violence alone is disturbing. And cereal ads are generally geared toward children.

Dak , Lansing, MI
There is NOTHING that says this cowboy is gay.


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