Hey Mikey! Meet Marli

It’s taken 24 years, but Quaker Oats this week breaks the sequel to one of advertising’s best-remembered commercials, the “Mikey” spot for Life cereal.
In the original, which aired from 1974 through 1986, John Gilchrist portrayed Mikey, the toddler who hated everything. But he gobbled up Life cereal, prompting his astonished brother to exclaim, “He likes it. Hey Mikey!”– that became a catchphrase of the ’70s.
Gilchrist, now 29, was a bit too large to reprise the role, so Quaker conducted a “Be the next Mikey” promotion, to which 35,000 kids submitted their photos.
The winner is Marli Brianna Hughes, a 4-year-old from Tampa, Fla.
Unlike Mikey, Marli gets lines in her 30-second acting debut (shown here). She’s seen telling her classmates during show-and-tell how she won the contest, traveled to New York and got to eat lots of Life cereal. Her face also adorns the front of Life cereal boxes (with runners-up shown on the back).
Quaker agency Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago, created the new spot. –Scott Hume