Tony the Tiger's silent Twitter exodus blamed on furries, but advertising laws more probable cause
Tony the Tiger has fled Twitter, and furries are to blame. At least that is how the story is told on Huffington Post’s Ashley Feinberg in her article about the mascot’s disappearence from social media. It talks about the cereal mascot’s unfortunate run in with some very thirsty furry fans, who made it a habit of bogging his social media responses with sexual innuendo and sometimes more blatant passes. Back when this started to occur, the cereal mascot began to ban furries at random, even if they were not engaging in the activity of coming onto the fiction character.
When this made the news rounds back in early 2016 it was known as “#TonyTigerGate”, in honor of the internet’s tendency of putting the gate suffix on anything even the slightest bit controversial that most normal people don’t actually care about. It would be overly dismissive to claim that it wasn’t a big topic of discussion in the fandom about public decorum and our relationships with corporations back when it occurred.
But in regards to this recent turn of events, Ashley uses her article to claim that Tony the Tiger’s account was replaced by the less furry account called simply Frosted Flakes in order to douse the horny furries in cold milk. But, further investigation reveals a far more intriguing story. One of a mascot caught in an international assassination plot against his very life. Not a story of a company’s combat against the internet’s lusts, but one of a government’s fight against glutton of the youths of their respective nations and the mascots used to stimulate that hunger.
The War on the Mascot
In February of this year, the New York Times published a piece discussing how Tony and other prominent cartoon animal mascots of snack foods were put in the crosshairs of the Chile government. The piece by Andrew Jacobs talked about how in the face of the rising obesity rates in the youth of the South American country the government has started to put forth measures to fight sugary and salty snacks. Trix the Rabbit and Tony the Tiger were just casualty on this war against gluten. The boxes that once bore their handsome mugs now simply a picture of a product along with the name.
As time passed, this rebellion against the striped mascot and his kind was not content to be contained to just Southwest Hemisphere. The political heat for Tony Tiger arrived this spring in the United Kingdom where similar proposals against sugar peddling spokes-animals found its way into the public discourse. This is at around the time when the Huffington Post writer noted that Tony made his final statements as “RealTonyTiger” on Twitter (May 2018). In this, it is looking more likely that there is going to be an increased press to make mascots like Tony the Tiger the next Joe Camel.
Through this it may be a bit of an overstatement by the Huffington Post that over thirsty furs were the primary cause of Kellogg’s decision to abandon the mascot driven account. It could have been part of the decision process, but it seems more likely that the company is simply reacting to a changing law landscape. To make sure they are not allowing their social media accounts to run afoul of any country’s laws against utilizing such mascots like Tony the Tiger to sell their sugary cereals, even if they can still appear on the boxes in the United States.
In fact, given that the very same tweets that were under Tony the Tiger's account were simply moved to the new Frosted Flakes accounts highlights this as the primary purpose. All the crass tweets still exist on this new account and were not deleted. In light of this it seems a fit of irony that the sugary cereals being pedaled by Tony were seen as more a danger to children than the inappropriate tweets found in responses to him on his Twitter feed. In the end, I suppose in the face of modern law, adult innuendo is temporary, but diabetes is forever.