There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love clowns, and those who think clowns are creepy. There’s no “in between” or compromise to this, and you’ll even find adults who enjoy dressing up like sex clowns, but from my experience, most people tend to think that clowns are downright evil. Maybe they watched Killer Klowns from Outer Space or Pennywise from Stephen King’s It. Maybe it was the loud, whiskey-breath-balloon-blower cursing his life at little Johnnie’s birthday that his parents found last minute on Craig’s List. Who knows.
The point is, there’s something Freudian about our clown love and hate. If this commercial didn’t make a 5-year-old hungry for cereal, and I am pretty confident that Krinkles the Clown horrified the entire Baby Boomers generation through small, black-and-white boxes, and unleashed a snowball of clown-fear unlike the world has ever seen.
“Breakfast!” says the overzealous Krinkle, as he proceeds to tear through the least frightening scene in the entire commercial: a little cock. He sits down to dine on his crispy rice and explains how awesome it is, coated with honey and sugar and all that, while simultaneously making little children wet their best Saturday morning TV attire. These were simpler times when slapping the word “Sugar!” on the box didn’t have any health considerations, it just told your parents that you’d like it. Sugar-Coated Krinkles were the ultimate precursor for today’s “Frosted Krispies”.
As strange as Krinkle the Clown is as a terrifying breakfast mascot, it was probably a hasty change from their previous mascot, which was So-Hi the Chinese Kid, which upped the ante by making it not only strange, but also racist as hell.