Previous Article - X-Entertainment - Next Article --- By Matt - 8.13/'02
Sometimes, cereals are only as good as their spokespeople. When novelty propeller caps were finally sold on the open market and the alien dude from Quisp lost his unique charm, the cereal went down the tubes. Frankenberry and Count Chocula were able to strengthen sales of their respective breakfast foods far longer than their compatriot Boo Berry, who found it difficult to make the pitch without having the ability to speak.

So it's no surprise that cereal companies are always on the lookout for more mascots and sponsors - their business depends on it. And in the more innocent days of yesteryear when pro-wrestling was cherished for it's squeaky clean and virtuous heroes, who better than Hulk Hogan to teach kids which cereal to eat? Course, Hulk was a busy man. At least four days of the week were spent beating up King Kong Bundy; the rest designated for tanning. He probably wouldn't outright jump into the opportunity to star in cereal commercials. Unless, of course, another wrestler did it first. Then the Hulkster would have no choice but to prove he could do it best. With that, let's set this all up...

It all starts light-years away from Hulk Hogan, in a Honeycomb commercial. If you'll recall the last one of these we reviewed, the idea was that a bunch of kids who celebrated Honeycomb from their secret hideout were tormented by huge, beastly men who wanted their cereal. Plots like this are the reason people think Shakespeare cryogenically froze himself so he could continue writing well into the 20th century.

Well, wouldn't you know it - the kids are being tormented again! Even though they're no strangers to this sort of thing, they're extra worrisome this time around because they've raised the hideout up to the safety of tall tree branches - and still, someone's managing to knock on the side walls. Must be a big man. Must be a giant man. Must be...ANDRE THE GIANT!

Indeed, the 7'4, 520-pound French sperm whale has taken a day off from the trials of the squared circle to continue his everlasting hunt for Honeycomb. You know what's funny? I doubt those kids are acting. I don't care if he's the friendliest guy in the world, or even if he's just playing a part. When a guy the size of a truck starts pawing at you with hands the size of smaller trucks, it's gotta be frightening.

This advertisement came out the same year as The Princess Bride, in which Andre had a pretty big part that made people think of him as something more than a shaved bear. He was pretty good in it, too. Since Andre was a 'bad guy' at the time, the old WWF Magazine ran this article with blatantly made-up stories on how he was difficult and menacing on the set. Yeah right - look at that face. 100% cherub.

If you're curious - Andre was a terrible wrestler. Dead barracudas tied to lamps had more mobility. He garnered fame because he was just such an impressive sight to behold, and obviously, when you're that big, you're pretty damn strong to boot. I had the pleasure of watching him in action at the old Meadowlands back when I was a kid, and even though we had the cheapest seats humanly possible, I could still clearly see that all his teeth were now colored like cloud ear mushrooms dipped in tar. We loved him anyway.

As Andre read his list of demands to the Honeycomb kids, a problem arose: nobody could understand a fucking word he was saying. The Giant spoke with this garbled mixture of a foreign accent and alcohol. Anytime they'd interview him on one of the wrasslin' shows, you'd just sit there waiting for him to spit a pair of shoes and a hockey puck to the floor.

Fortunately, the stupid Honeycomb Robot is able to decipher any language, even the one used solely by Andre the Giant. After buzzing around the room in what can only be described as 'android disco,' he explains to the kids that Andre really wants some Honeycomb cereal. No shit, robot. What else would he be there for? Did he want to claim the tree as his own? The kids realize that a box of cereal isn't worth the potential risk of being maimed and eaten by Andre, so they hand the stuff over and pray he likes it.

Of course he likes it - after all, it's food! Giants love food!

As Andre chomps away, the kids start signing the official Honeycomb theme song - again: 'Honeycomb's big, yeah yeah yeah! It's not small, no no no!' The only difference this time? Andre handles the 'it's not small' part. Witnessing Andre mumble through that line while holding up a single Honeycomb is right up there with Farrah Fawcett's appearance on Letterman on the list of things that've been replaying in my head for years, slowly driving me to madness. I guess these dirty advertising tactics worked, because I really like Honeycomb now.

After that, Andre and the kids got along famously. I still detected a bit of tension between Andre and the robot, but they never really explored it so I won't comment further. The fact that Andre was even in this commercial shows you how big pro-wrestling's first boom period, which started dying off in 1988, really was. The major difference between those days and today's wrestling fad which has finally died down? Back then, it was a whole lot more innocent and done with the kids in mind. If wrestling and Honeycomb teamed up now, this would've featured one of the WWF/E bimbos flashing the kids to divert their attention while Kane set the clubhouse on fire. And that would make me want Honeycomb even more.

Andre died many years ago, and sadly our last real memories of him was when he was paraded around as a near-cripple who couldn't possible step in the ring to wrestle. But even though his legacy kinda went out with a thud, his memory lives on and the amount of respect the guy gets from fans is truly rare in a business that once featured an evil Santa Claus wrestler.

Anyway, you're probably wondering what any of this has to do with Hulk Hogan. See, despite Hulk's undeniable popularity, there was a long string of time where pretty much everyone thought he was a major asshole in real life. Most would admit that his long-lived stay on top was only half due to popularity - the rest because he was great at making the bosses keep him way ahead of everyone else. Believe it or not, this extends to cereal commercials. Once Hulk saw Andre getting the breakfast spotlight, he needed some of that action himself. He didn't want to follow suit with Honeycomb, so he took the most phonetically close alternative: Honey Nut Cheerios:

It's funny to see Hulk back in the days where words like 'senility' and 'Sophia Petrillo' don't immediately spring to mind. It's also funny to see that his pattern baldness stopped right there and still hasn't moved fifteen years later. It's like he's getting treatments done only to the back and sides of his skull, assuming he looks distinguished with the bare forehead, when in reality, it looks like he's wearing a Hulk Hogan Halloween mask. And if you don't think I'd say that to his face - he's sitting right here with me, giving me the 'OK' to make fun of him as I go along. He thinks it's in good fun, but in all sincerity, I just haven't been able to forgive him for No Holds Barred.

The Honey Nut Cheerios Bee is understandably afraid of Hulk, and offers up the cereal so he doesn't get beat up. So that's two cereal commercials where the wrestlers get to eat because people are scared they'll get the crap kicked out of them. There's gotta be a latent bad message getting across here somewhere, I'm just too tired to figure it out.

Will Hulk take the bait?

Hulk: ...and WHATCHA gonna do, cartoon bee, when Hulk Hogan runs wild on YOU?! WHATCHA GONNA DO?!

Bee: What does that even mean, 'run wild on you'?

Hulk: It doesn't mean anything, really. Us wrestlers learned a long time ago that the best promos were the ones that made no sense and confused the audience. They cheer because they don't want to look like they didn't get it.

Bee: Wow, that's brilliant!

Hulk: Yeah, go ahead, give it a shot. It's a lot easier than you'd think.

Bee: You want me to give a wrestling promo?

Hulk: Stop stalling dude, trust'll be great.

Bee: Okay, here goes... WHATCHA GONNA DO....WHATCHA gonna do, Hulk Hogan...when this nameless bee...DRAWS PIANO WIRES ON YOU?! WHATCHA GONNA DO?!

Hulk: See? Told you it was easy. Keep that up and you could be Intercontinental champ in six weeks.

Watching Hulk Hogan slop down milky cereal is a lot like watching UFOs come down to Earth to murder your best friend. You're disgusted and dismayed by what you're watching, but at the same time, you recognize it as a truly historic and special moment.

All this nonsense gives the bee a chance to peddle the wonders of Honey Nut Cheerios to those of us watching at home. Eight essential vitamins and minerals, all that kinda crap. Come on bee, you can skip that stuff. It's not like any of the kids watching are gonna be sold on the cereal because it's got their daily allowance of B-12.

After he's done shilling, he looks shyly up to Hogan and asks the question we've all been wondering: does he like it? Does Hulk Hogan like Honey Nut Cheerios?


Hulk poses to end the ad spot, and our story. The perennial wrestling champion has now also conquered the world of breakfast, making him more multitalented than a corner whore who moonlights in stenography. You've gotta give the devil his due, folks - Hogan can do it all. Battle royales, cereal commercials, movies so terrible they've put entire studios out of business, even children's fitness kits. He's on top of the mountain, and until another wrestler dares trying to eat cereal convincingly on national television, I'd say he's gonna be there for a long, long time.

- Matt
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Links: Check out Check out my review of another Honeycomb commercial, not starring Andre.