For Its First New Cereal in 15 Years, General Mills Makes Animals Our Food-Dispensing Overlords

And the agency? Walrus

Animals act like people—and vice versa—in a singularly silly campaign introducing Tiny Toast, General Mills' first new breakfast cereal in nearly 15 years.

Created by an agency with an appropriately beastly name, New York's Walrus, the teen-targeted push casts critters as our benevolent overlords; humans are depicted as lower forms of life, addicted to Tiny Toast's real-fruit taste. (Hence the tagline "Humans can't resist.")

In this spot, for example, a horse does the whispering for a change:

Nice hoof-work there! Here's an explanation of the creative strategy, straight from the horse's mouth:

"Every animal has a food it can't resist—a food that will make it run faster, wade into danger and do silly tricks," Alan Cunningham, client senior marketing manager, tells AdFreak. "In these situations, it's usually a human feeding a horse a carrot, or a human setting out cheese for a mouse. We knew that flipping the script and having the animals in control would be a hilarious, eye-catching way for us to deliver the irresistible taste message."

In the next clip, tiny Homines sapientes pester a seagull who just wants to read the paper in peace:

"Everything was a gigantic costume except the horse, which was animatronic, and the costume makers did an amazing job," explains agency chief creative officer Deacon Webster. "The feathers were put in one by one … it was painstaking, they really got into the details. For example, we really wanted the seagull to be wearing a Bluetooth because if seagulls were human, they'd obviously be the Bluetooth-wearing kind, so they made us a custom one—it actually lit up blue."

In the ad below, a couple gets a bird's-eye view of a situation that's long plagued our feathered friends:

"We ran these and the other concepts by groups of teens in the early stages and the 'Humans Can't Resist' campaign was the fave," Webster adds. "They really liked the idea that the animals were in the driver's seat. There was a bit of redemption story that they liked, given the way humans have used animals over the past few centuries."

To wit: An anthropomorphized sheep dispenses sheer delight … or maybe shear delight? Works either way:

"As you can imagine, casting for the sheep guy was highly amusing," Webster recalls. "They'd be on all fours in their underwear pretending to be shaved by a giant sheep, and we'd be like, 'Act like you're enjoying it more!'"

Designed to spark social sharing across mobile media, the campaign's four 15-second spots are appearing on Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube and Spotify.

CREDITS

Client: General Mills
Brand: Tiny Toast
Marketing Director, Channels and New Products Cereal: Chad Johnson
Senior Marketing Manager: Alan Cunningham
Associate Marketing Manager: Courtney Schroeder
Marketing Planner: Leigh Lovett
Senior Producer, Creative Content: Clint Allen
Agency: Walrus
Chief Creative Officer: Deacon Webster
Copywriters: Alex Behles, Marco Diaddezio
Art Directors: Elliott Graham, Evan Vosburgh
Head of Integrated Production: Valerie Hope
Account Director: Clementine Barker
Account Executive: Stacey Skulnik
Senior Broadcast Producer: Christopher Thielo
Production Company | Core Spots: Pet Gorilla
Director: Luc Schurgers
Executive Producer: Dominic Bernacchi
Head of Production: Kyle Hill
Director of Photography: Tim Burton
Visual Effects on Set: Zak Stoltz
Line Producer: Jack Hogan
Production Company | Product Tags: Crooked River Productions
Director: Walrus (In-house)
Executive Producer, Line Producer: Brian Bennhoff
Visual Effects on Set: Alejandro USA
End Tags, Motion / Titles / Graphics: Alejandro Ussa
GIFs, Motion / Graphics: Jorge Morales
Editorial Company: The Now Corp.
Editor: Jesse Reisner
Executive Producer: Nancy Finn
Associate Producer: Carrie Fleming
Colorist: Stephen Picano
Visual Effects Artist: John Shea @ Shea VFX
Audio Mix: The Sound Lounge
Mixer: Glen Landrum
Executive Producer: Mike Gullo
Senior Producer: Kate Albers
Casting Director, Producer: Carrie Faverty
Producer: Liana Rosenberg