Why are kids so sad in vintage cereal ads?

They're G-r-r-eat (at guilt-tripping yesterday's parents).

Saturday mornings were made for cartoons and a giant bowl of cereal, a morning ritual enjoyed by kids everywhere since the 1960s. For that reason, as well as the cheerful colors of both the cereal and the boxes they came in, clattering a spoon in a bowl of your own has for many kids remained a happy memory.

But that's not even remotely close to the picture some vintage cereal ads paint. In many ads for cereals like Corn Flakes, Trix or Frosted Flakes, kids seem on the brink of existential breakdown over empty bowls.

We're not sure why sadness was such a selling point for major brands like Kellogg's, but we'll never hear the Corn Flakes rooster crow the same after seeing all these sullen faces below.

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Trix are for ... consoling kids?


Hey, kid, why not turn that frown upside down? Trix will do the trick! As the ad promises: "Even five-year-old young ladies need a bowl-ful of fruit-color, fruit-flavor Trix to change their morning outlook from grim to gay."

Image: teamjimmyjoe.com

Start those long days with Frosted Flakes.


This tough cowboy apparently has a long day ahead of him. You can bet fueling up with the "good nutrition" of sugary cereal will surely help this 6-year-old face the day!

Image: tias.com

This kid's morning got robbed.


The intent is perfectly clear here. The kid's upset because someone ate up all his Corn Flakes before he could get to the breakfast table. Somber cereal vibes achieved, the only thing sadder than this kid's eyes is maybe his grammar.

Image: Ebay

Variety is the spice of a hard knock life?


Indecision is the root of the raised up eyebrows here. But instead of winning us over with all these choices, this Kellogg's ad hits home for any kid who had to answer to a sibling if they approached the variety cereal pack and failed to choose wisely.

Image: auctivacommerce.com

The Mona Lisa of vintage cereal ads.


Is she smiling? Frowning? Glaring? Menacing? Kids make the darn'dest faces. Just don't stare too long while you decide. All we need to know is, she's been a "very, very good" girl and her reward is those Corn Flakes. Now scoot before the spoon comes down and let's leave this ominous kid to her morning ritual.

Image: vintageadbrowser.com

Perhaps only a little terrified of Tony?


Is it just us or does this kid look a little spooked by Tony the Tiger? Maybe he's sitting across the table from the kid in the previous ad.

Image: Blogspot.com

If only these kids had some sort of smiling cereal role model ....


The obvious cure to all these sad cereal scenes is a little heart-to-heart talk with the Post cereal-touting Andy Griffith.

Image: goretro.com

Even when they draw kids eating cereal, they look sad.


Corn Flakes had a whole campaign of beautifully illustrated, devastatingly sad kids eating cereal. We have to admit, if this kid was real, we would probably have to buy him all the cereal.

Image: rare-posters.com

Never disappoint your little friends, cereal stockers.


This ad says, "The whole Kellogg business is built around the idea of making sure that these little friends are never disappointed." The flushed red cheeks of this sad-eyed boy insist you back the rooster.

Image: oldadvertising.tumblr.com

And remember all you moms who make the grocery lists, every helping helps.


Just in case you thought it couldn't get any sadder, Kellogg's paints you a Dickensian picture of a kid's world without cereal.

Image: Pinterest

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